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Pair cleared after rape trial is halted.

Byline: Elwyn Roberts

A RAPE trial came to a dramatic halt yesterday when a judge threw out the case against two men.

Judge Huw Daniel said that he had heard enough and directed the jury at Mold Crown Court to return not guilty verdicts.

The complainant, described as a vulnerable young woman with learning difficulties, was said to have been indecently assaulted by one man and raped by another at a house on Deeside.

The complainant, a young woman of 23 but who appeared and acted much younger and suffered from epilepsy, told how she was given alcohol and taken into a bedroom where she was indecently assaulted and raped. But, cross-examined on behalf of the defendants, she agreed with much of what was being put to her, particularly on the issue of consent.

Judge Daniel asked the jury to retire at one stage and told prosecutor Michael Chambers that the complainant was contradicting herself time after time.

Mr Chambers asked that the young woman be allowed to complete her evidence and said that she was possibly a suggestible witness. She had been giving evidence for a considerable time, had learning difficulties, and may have found the experience of giving evidence overwhelming, he said. She may not have fully followed what she was being asked, or may have decided that she wanted the experience of giving evidence to come to an end as quickly as possible.

It was the prosecution case the defendants had picked up and used a vulnerable young woman for sex and he asked that she be allowed to continue her evidence.

The judge said that he was concerned that the jury would be unable to sort out the wheat from the chaff. In the absence of the jury, the judge asked the complainant if she wished to continue to give evidence, and she said that she did.

But, after a further period of cross-examination where she agreed with defence barrister Des Parry that she had assisted his client to commit a sex act, the judge halted the case.

"I am stopping this case. I have the inherent power and I am doing it now regardless of what anyone might care to say about it, " he said.

Rhodri Spindler,19, of The Links, Gwernaffield, near Mold, was cleared of raping the woman, then aged 22, and indecently assaulting her. George Hinks, 19, of Railway Terrace, in Connah's Quay, was cleared of indecently assaulting her.

Both had denied the charges.

They were discharged form the dock.


DENIED CHARGES: George Hinks, left, and Rhodri Spindler
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 9, 2002
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