Lovells aids rape claimant to fend off damages suit

Lovells’ pro bono team has successfully represented a rape claimant whose alleged attacker tried to win £300,000 in compensation from her.

The firm, which dedicated 19,000 hours to pro bono work during the past year, won the High Court victory after the alleged attacker, whose conviction was quashed, spent years trying to win the compensation.

The claimant, Anthony Hunt, was convicted of rape by Winchester Crown Court in November 2003 in ­relation to an incident that took place in 1995.

Bit in 2005 the Criminal Court of Appeal quashed Hunt’s conviction after hearing new evidence and arguments that the trial judge 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 his alleged ;victim, ;known as AB.

For the claim to have been upheld, Hunt’s barrister, Stephen Ferguson of 2 Hare Court, would have had to prove that he was ­prosecuted by AB.

Lovells disputes lawyer Anna Wilson, who acted for AB, 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, saying it was out of touch with case law.

Wilson said: “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 Essex Street Chambers.