Metropolitan Police to review sex crime investigations after collapse of two rape cases in one week

A major review of the Metropolitan Police's sex crime investigations has been launched after two rape cases collapsed in the space of a week.

ITV News understands that both of the collapsed cases involve at least one of the same officers - writes itv.com.

Scotland Yard said that every live case where the Met is in discussion with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), will be examined to "ensure that all digital evidence has been properly examined, documented and shared with the CPS to meet obligations under disclosure".

The announcement comes after a rape prosecution collapsed when vital evidence was revealed at the last minute .

Liam Allan, aged 22, had been charged with 12 counts of rape and sexual assault against one woman and faced the possibility of more than 10 years in prison and a lifetime on the sex offenders' register.

But the day before his trial at Croydon Crown Court last week, police revealed 40,000 previously undisclosed text messages between the complainant and her friends which cast doubt on the case against Mr Allan and suggested the alleged victim had pestered him for "casual sex".

Then, on Tuesday, another rape prosecution collapsed when the CPS offered no evidence against Isaac Itiary, who was facing trial at Inner London Crown Court charged with the rape of a child under 16, along with other offences.

Mr Itiary was charged in July 2017, but police only disclosed "relevant material" to the CPS on December 17, just two days ahead of a hearing due to take place on Tuesday.

The Met only disclosed the extra material in response to the defence case statement submitted on December 15.

A spokesperson for the CPS said: "On December 17, 2017, the police provided new material to the CPS, which had previously been requested, and this was reviewed.

"Prosecutors decided that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction and we offered no evidence against the defendant at a hearing today [December 19, 2017]."

Following the collapse of the second case, the Met announced a review of the Itiary investigation as well all other live probes by the "Child Abuse and Sexual Offences (CASO) command, where the MPS is in discussion with the CPS."

Commander Richard Smith, who oversees Met rape investigations, said: "I completely understand that this case may raise concerns about our compliance with disclosure legislation given the backdrop of the case of R v Allan last week.

"The Met is completely committed to understanding what went wrong in the case of Mr Allan and is carrying out a joint review with the CPS, the findings of which will be published.

"Rape investigations are by their nature very complex, and often hinge on the contradictory accounts of the alleged suspect and the complainant about what has taken place.

"We are reviewing all our investigations, where we are in discussion with the CPS, to assure ourselves that we are meeting our disclosure obligations in an acceptable timescale based on the volume of data that some cases involve."

A spokesperson for the force said they were unable to say how many cases would be affected.

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