A British man is preparing to file a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police Service and Crown Prosecution Service for withholding evidence for up to two years that ultimately exonerated him of rape charges. Police had obtained thousands of text messages from the accuser that cast doubt on her story but chose not to disclose them in court.
On Dec. 7, a case against Liam Allan of London crumbled when a newly assigned prosecutor discovered relevant text messages and shared them with the defense team. Allan had been arrested for an alleged incident in 2015 and subsequently charged with 12 counts of rape and assault in February 2017. He had been attending the University of Greenwich while out on bail for two years.
"I was arrested in front of my mum at her home and taken into the station," Allan wrote in an editorial for Sky News. "When you know you're innocent, you just think it will be so easy to find the evidence to prove it."
The 22-year-old student added: "University is supposed to be the best years of your life, but I've spent two years in fear."
The police had obtained 40,000 text messages from the phone belonging to Allan's accuser, whose name has not been disclosed. The messages reportedly undermined the accuser's allegations and indicated that she had solicited Allan for sex after the date of the alleged assault, the Daily Mail reports.
In September 2015, the accuser texted to a friend in reference to her sexual encounter with Allan, saying, "It wasn't against my will or anything."
The text messages had not been disclosed and only came to light when prosecutor Jerry Hayes joined the case and shared the evidence with Allan's defense team.
On Dec. 17, Allan's lawyer, Simone Meerabux, said they would sue the police and CPS.
"Mr. Allan lost two years of his life because of gross negligence," Meerabux told The Sun. "We are considering legal action against the Met Police and CPS."
Allan confirmed he planned legal action against U.K. law enforcement.
"I am however, happy to work with the CPS and police to help ensure things change for the better," Allan said. "In this case no individual is to blame; there are multiple factors."
A spokesperson for the police said the department was conducting an internal investigation into the matter.
"In November 2017, the police provided more material in the case of Liam Allan. Upon a review of that material, it was decided that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction," the spokesperson said, reports the BBC. "We will now be conducting a management review together with the Metropolitan Police to examine the way in which this case was handled."