17 unanimous not guilty verdicts
News report by Helen Gavaghan, 27th November, 2018.

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A County Clare-born, 57-year-old Bradford man was today found not guilty of 17 very serious sexual misconduct charges. There were six complainants, and the jury heard how this was the second time the same defendant had faced similar charges. None of the complainants appeared in both cases.

His Honour Judge David Hatton QC made clear in his legal directions the age below which the Crown does not need to explore the issue of consent, because the act alleged is an offence whether or not there is consent. His honour clarified that the Prosecution was saying that the defendant, today found not guilty, was being accused in respect of another complainant of normalising the act which was an offence. His honour was referring to multiple incident counts.

The defendant took the stand in his own defence. Of one complainant the defendant spoke of his devastation on hearing that that complainant was making the allegations tried. Of another complainant he said that he had never met that person. In relationship to another count a police interview video went missing, then was found, though the associated file was not found.

On the last day of the trial a witness, named by another of the complainants as having been present during an alleged offence, gave evidence that that alleged incident had not taken place.

After the case I asked the defendant, of good character, if he wished to comment. He shook his head to indicate no, while his long term partner wiped tears from her eyes.

The allegations extend back to 1975.

Advanced publication of an item for issue 4 (Oct. - Dec.), 2018 of Science, People & Politics ISSN: 1751-598x (online). At no time has this item included any identifying details of any of the parties involved in this case. The identity of the complainants in this case is protected by the law of the UK. This is a professional report of a real trial including real people. Published online at 18.44 gmt, 27th November, 2018. On publication of the full issue as pdf - before the end of 2018 - the above item will be removed from this website, and it will not be included in the html version of the full online issue. This note modified by the editor, a full member of the Chartered Institute of Journalist, on 30th November, 2018.

5.12.2018: Should my professional body challenge the precision of the final phrase in the penultimate paragraph I would argue that omitting that phrase would have made the report inaccurate, but to give the exact detail of time and place of that action would contravene the legal right to a private life in public, and would be the equivalent of betraying a source.


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