Friday, August 22, 2008

Horrifying case of a man wrongly convicted of a rape charge that should not have been tried

Read the story below: it is downright frightening that this case ever got to trial.

The man was actually convicted even though "the alleged assaults took place in a tiny space occupied by three people, and that while the complainant testified she screamed, the friend heard nothing." This 'made it very unlikely, almost impossible,' that the rape happened the way the complainant said it did."

Yet the case was brought to trial, and the man was convicted!

Sometimes the outcome of the trial depends on whether the jury happens to like or dislike the defendant or the accuser. Hence the necessity for the prosecutor to weed out legitimate cases from those that aren't.

Fortunately the appellate court quashed the conviction, and the man is now suing because -- of course -- his reputation has been destroyed.

Virtually any male can be falsely accused of a rape charge; virtually any male can be wrongly convicted of a rape charge. A false conviction can be overturned, but the damage to the man's reputation is often beyond repair.

Crown defends rape case

Argues prosecution of accused, who is now suing for $1M, was anything but reckless
Karen Kleiss, The Edmonton JournalPublished: 2:02 am

Police and Crown prosecutors named in a million-dollar lawsuit say the investigation and prosecution of an accused rapist was impartial, professional and conducted without malice.

In a statement of defence filed last month, Crown prosecutors John Hnidan and David Marriott say they had enough evidence to believe Curtis Evans was guilty of sexual assault when he was tried and convicted in 2004.

The Alberta Court of Appeal later quashed the conviction and Evans sued, claiming his reputation was ruined.

"Mr. Hnidan and Mr. Marriot conducted themselves in a competent, professional, fair, objective, impartial and ethical manner, in good faith, in the honest discharge of their duties," the statement of defence says.

Det. Carol Glasgow also says her investigation was "reasonable, skilful, careful and proper in every respect.

"At all times, Det. Glasgow's actions were motivated by her desire to diligently, faithfully and to the best of her ability fulfil her duties and obligations as a police officer," the statement says.

In April, Evans launched a $1-million lawsuit claiming his reputation was wrecked by false allegations, a negligent police investigation and a malicious, reckless prosecution.

"(The) defendants maliciously, recklessly, and intentionally abused the process of the court by proceeding with the prosecution ... with reckless indifference to the guilt or innocence of the accused," the statement of claim says.

As a result, he said he has suffered mental anguish and humiliation.

Statements of claim and defence have not been proven in court.

The case stretches back to spring 2002, when a 19-year-old woman claimed Evans raped her twice in an apartment they shared with a friend.

In November 2004, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Delmar Perras convicted Evans of raping the woman and sentenced him to nearly three years in prison.

Evans admitted to having sex with the woman, so the issue at trial was consent.

In his ruling, Perras acknowledged weak points in the evidence.

Two years later, the court of appeal quashed the guilty verdict and ordered a new trial.

In their statement of defence, the Crown prosecutors say the Court of Appeal ordered a new trial because there were gaps in the judge's reasoning, not because the verdict was not supported by the evidence.

The appeal court said the alleged assaults took place in a tiny space occupied by three people, and that while the complainant testified she screamed, the friend heard nothing.

The court ruled the friend's evidence "made it very unlikely, almost impossible," that the rape happened the way the complainant said it did.

"But the (judge's) reasons said nothing further about (the friend's) evidence, or the exculpatory effects of large parts of her evidence.

It was the gap in reasoning the caused the court of appeal to order a new trial.

A different Crown prosecutor stayed the charge against Evans.

The charge can be brought forward within one year of the stay if new evidence is found.