Sexual intercourse without consent, Section 61I Crimes Act 1900 – five counts – CTA maintained innocence throughout – effective cross-examination of complainant – Prasad direction – not guilty on all charges – successful costs application, Costs in Criminal Cases Act 1967
DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) v CTA Facts:
CTA and the complainant were married, and had two infant children together. At the time of the alleged incidents the pair were separated but not divorced. After a long period of unsuccessfully attempting to reconcile with CTA, the complainant made five allegations to police that CTA had sexually assaulted her. The client maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings.
CTA pleaded not guilty to all five counts. Defence counsel presented a very strong rebuttal to the prosecution case. During cross-examination, counsel presented the compelling counter-narrative that the complainant had used sex to try and get back together with CTA. As a result of this cross-examination, the judge issued two directions to the jury. The first was a direction that CTA was not guilty on one of the charges, as it had been demonstrated that it was impossible for one of the complaints to have occurred at the alleged time.
The second direction was a Prasad direction in relation to the other four charges. A Prasad direction is given by the judge to the jury at the closing of the Crown case, telling the jury that they may acquit the accused without hearing the defence case. It is very rare to receive a Prasad direction, and even more rare for the jury to follow through and acquit. In this case, the jury found CTA to be not guilty on all four remaining charges.
Subsequent to CTA’s acquittal, the defence helped him to apply for a costs certificate under the Costs in Criminal Cases Act 1967. This application was successful, meaning that CTA will have a significant amount of his legal costs paid for him.
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