Friday, October 30, 2009

Judge throws out doctor rape case

It does sound like Mr. Rowlands does have a temper, but it is a long way from angry to rape. With insufficient evidence, the judge made the right call.

Judge throws out rape case.

A doctor who was accused of raping a woman at her home in South Lanarkshire has walked free after the judge dismissed the case against him.

Christopher Rowlands, 53, had been accused of attacking the 39-year-old at a house in Bothwell two years ago.

Prosecutors withdrew the charge and sought a conviction for assault at the High Court in Glasgow.

But judge Norman Ritchie QC threw said there was not sufficient corroboration to direct the jury.

The trial heard how the alleged victim, who cannot be named, claimed she was attacked on 15 September 2007.

She claimed Mr Rowlands "floored" her with a punch before dragging her upstairs by the hair and then raping her.

The woman said: "I wanted to call the police. I was frightened for my life. I had never come in and out of consciousness before and never had a beating like that.

"If I had got the police, I would have said 'help, come someone, get me out of here'."

Mr Rowlands denied the attack and claimed it was the woman who had come at him with a knife.
He said he had fled upstairs, she followed him before the woman fell down the stairs and injured herself.

'Short temper'

Mr Rowlands told the jury that he left the house that afternoon before going on a driving holiday across Europe then moving to Ireland.

The jury heard he sent a text to the woman asking had she contacted "P" - thought to be a reference to the police.

He denied claims that he had been "evasive" or that he was a man with a "short temper".

Prosecutors withdrew the rape accusation against Mr Rowlands at the end of the Crown evidence and instead sought a conviction for assault.

But judge Norman Ritchie QC threw out the case when he said there was "not sufficient corroboration" after hearing legal argument.

He told the jury: "I have to look and see if there was enough evidence in law for you to convict and it seems to me plainly there was insufficient evidence.

"That is my responsibility and it is my decision."

Speaking outside court, Mr Rowlands said: "I am just relieved by the decision. I have spent five months on remand in Barlinnie, so you can imagine what that was like."

The doctor was awarded an MBE for his work at the Chinook helicopter crash near Shetland in 1986 and became Lanarkshire GP of the Year in 2000.

He was previously fined £1,100 after assaulting his wife in 2004.

He was also given community service at Glasgow Sheriff Court after stabbing a love rival in the face with a set of keys in 2005.

Thanks to AFOR for the tip.