Lovells’ pro bono team has won a landmark case for a rape victim whose accused attacker had his conviction quashed.
The accused attacker had tried to win £300,000 in compensation from Lovells’ client, AB.
The claimant, Mr Hunt, was convicted of rape by Winchester Crown Court in November 2003 in relation to an incident that took place in 1995.
In 2005 the Criminal Court of Appeal quashed Hunt’s conviction after hearing new evidence and arguments that the trial judge had misdirected the jury.
As Hunt had already served 23 months and 18 days of his sentence, the court decided against a retrial. He then launched a claim of malicious prosecution against AB.
For the claim to have been upheld, Hunt’s barrister, Stephen Ferguson of 2 Hare Court, would have to have proved that he was prosecuted by the AB. Hunt did not bring a case against the Crown Prosecution Service or the police.
Lovells lawyer Anna Wilson said: “Having to defend this claim, which was brought more than 12 years after the initial incident, was a difficult and emotional experience for our client.”
The High Court rejected the claim, it said the proposition had contrasted with the various other defendants in case law who had sought to punish the claimants in some way.
Wilson added: “We were incredulous that in the particular circumstances of this case, such a claim could be brought, and our client feels vindicated by what we consider an excellent and very proper decision of the High Court.”
Coyle White Devine partner Stephen Taylor instructed Ferguson for the claimant.
Wilson instructed Anthony Metzer and Sarah Harris of 23 Essex St Chambers.