Fresh Gynaecological Evidence Conviction Quashed
The Court of Appeal has today handed down judgment quashing convictions in S, B and C where fresh medical evidence undermined the safety of their convictions. This case demonstrates the importance of challenging medical evidence and the willingness of the Court of Appeal to receive such evidence which undermines the safety of convictions obtained on such evidence.
S & Ors v R.  EWCA Crim 1433 (28 June 2012)
Judgment was today handed down by the Court of Appeal in Consolidated Appeals of R v S, B, C and R. All had their convictions quashed apart from R who due to other fresh evidence against him lost his appeal.
The court was considering the scenario where fresh gynaecological evidence is called after conviction which demonstrates either the evidence of abuse given at trial was untrue or was significantly undermined. This might be due either to simply wrong expert work or developments in the interpretation of the signs of sexual abuse.
S was linked to the other 3 cases which were referred by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
The Court concluded in S, who was convicted in 2002 at Truro Crown Court of Rape, Attempted Rape and Indecencys, that all of his convictions were unsafe . The prosecution expert at trial alleged damage to the complainants genitalia consistent with sexual abuse. Fresh evidence heard at the appeal cast serious doubt on those findings.
The Crown accepted the fresh evidence but sought to argue it only related to certain counts and other counts remained safe. The Court however agreed with submissions made on behalf of the appellant that the evidence of the expert at trial went to the heart of the case and that evidence must have weighed heavily in the juryâs consideration.
As Mark Barlow, instructed counsel for the appellant, pointed out "the medical evidence at trial shone like a beacon".
The Court of Appeal adopts that analogy in its judgment  in quashing the all convictions.
This case demonstrates the importance of thorough investigation in sexual offence cases and that evidence of sexual abuse should not be accepted on face value. It also demonstrates that the Court of Appeal will always be open to receiving such fresh evidence which clearly undermines the safety of the convictions.