QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF WILLIAM CAMPBELL||(CLAIMANT)|
|PETERBOROUGH MAGISTRATES COURT||(DEFENDANT)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MS F AKRAM (instructed by Peterborough Magistrates Court) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
Crown Copyright ©
"(a) On 9th November 2002 at approximately 7pm, the victim was in the Tyesdale Centre in Bretton, Peterborough. Her intention was to use a public telephone box located at the Tyesdale Centre in order to speak to her boyfriend.
"(b) The telephone box in question had three solid sides and an open back to gain entry to use the telephone. The solid sides were made of clear glass or perspex.
"(c) As the victim was walking towards the telephone box the appellant approached her. The appellant was in the company of a black youth.
"(d) The appellant asked the victim if she had a boyfriend and she said yes. The appellant followed the victim into the telephone box and stood next to her while she was telephoning her boyfriend. S stood outside the telephone box.
"(e) The victim had to make three attempts to get through to her boyfriend as the appellant put the receiver down twice and took her money once. The appellant only returned the victim's money which was in his pocket after being told to do so by S. On the third attempt the victim was able to speak to her boyfriend.
"(f) At that moment two girls came out of a shop in the Tyesdale Centre and the appellant left the telephone box and followed them. The appellant returned to the telephone box about five minutes later while the victim was still talking to her boyfriend on the telephone.
"(g) On returning to the telephone box the appellant indecently assaulted the victim. The appellant touched her between her legs on top of her clothing and said 'Where is my sex? I want my sex.'
"(h) The victim, who was still talking to her boyfriend at that time, told the boyfriend that the appellant had indecently assaulted her. As a result of the victim complaining to her boyfriend about being indecently assaulted, her stepfather arrived at the telephone box within three or four minutes [of that communication] accompanied by a friend, a man called Gary Norton.
"(i) The victim did not know the appellant by name but had seen him before in the Bretton area of Peterborough and knew that he went to school with her cousin. The victim knew S as they both went to the same school.
"(j) Identification was not an issue ...
"(k) The appellant left the scene as soon as the victim's stepfather and friend arrived.
"(l) The appellant admitted lying to the police in interview by denying that he knew the two girls who came out of the shop in the Tyesdale Centre and could not remember if he had spoken to them."
"The victim, while giving evidence, had given three different versions of the events leading up to and including the assault and in particular:
"(i) While giving her evidence in chief the victim stated that the indecent assault took place in the telephone box after the appellant had returned from following the two girls.
"(ii) During cross-examination, after being referred to a statement made to the police on 24th November 2002, the victim stated that the indecent assault took place before the appellant left the telephone box to follow the two girls.
"(iii) When cross-examined further, the victim stated that she had been indecently assaulted twice, one before the appellant walked off after the two girls and once after he had returned to the telephone box.
"(iv) She also claimed that Gary Norton had witnessed the second indecent assault at the time when he arrived at the telephone box. The victim further stated that she had recounted this fact to the police during interview."
"We were of the opinion that:
"(a) The victim was a nervous and vulnerable witness aged 17 years of age, who was just 16 years old at the time of the alleged offence.
"(b) While the victim's evidence might have appeared inconsistent in some respects, we found that she was a truthful witness doing her best to recount an upsetting allegation, which had occurred four months previously. In assessing the credibility of the victim we took into account the fact that she had immediately complained to her boyfriend that the appellant had indecently assaulted her. Whilst her boyfriend was not called to give evidence, the fact she complained to him was not challenged by the appellant.
"(c) Whilst the victim gave three different versions of the events, this did not discredit her evidence.
"(d) We did not find the appellant to be a truthful witness. He did not dispute being present at the scene. In assessing his credibility we took into account the fact that he had lied in interview to the police (as he admitted) when he denied knowing the two girls who came out of the shop in the Tyesdale Centre and could not remember if he had spoken to them. We rejected the reason he gave in evidence for lying to the police which he stated was to protect the identity of the two girls. For those reasons we rejected the appellant's account.
"We reminded ourselves of the burden and standard of proof and found that the respondent had proved all the essential element of the alleged offence, namely that the appellant had indecently assaulted the victim and that the victim had not consented to the assault. Accordingly we found the appellant guilty of the charge of indecent assault."
"Notwithstanding the inconsistency in the victim's evidence, were we entitled to find her to be a credible witness and to convict the respondent on her testimony?"