A High Court in London, commonly referred to as “The Old Bailey”, has dismissed a rape case initially filed against nine men, at least 5 of them of Ghanaian and Nigerian descent, over discovery of the alleged victim’s Twitter account.
According to the Independent newspapers, the nine accused – Desmond Agyei, 23, Edward Kofi Edunya, 23, Perry Murray, 24, David Sarpong, 23, Adedeji Atitebi, 21, Austin Odisi, 24, Justin Maynard, 23, Olanrewaju Sonde, 24 and Thamsanqa Sibanda, 30 – had originally been charged with 28 offences.
They were arrested in dawn raids and initially remanded in custody, although some were later granted bail.
The case collapsed when police discovered the contents of the alleged victim’s old Twitter account.
After discovery of the Twitter account, consultations were held with senior Scotland Yard officers and it was decided there was “no realistic prospect of conviction” on any of the 28 charges.
The alleged victim, now 15, made a statement to the police in November last year detailing horrifying sex attacks, mostly rapes, stretching back to May 2012.
Trial would have started last week for the nine accused but for the discovery of the Twitter account.
Samantha Cohen, prosecuting, told the court: “A review of the Twitter material has been conducted at the highest level at the Crown Prosecution Service and the police in conjunction with trial counsel”.
“The unanimous conclusion is that there is no realistic prospect of conviction in respect of any defendant on any of the counts. For that reason the Crown is offering no evidence across the board in this case.”
The judge entered not guilty verdicts on all the charges and discharged the defendants from the dock.
“It is obvious that the case has been considered with great care and it’s unfortunate that this has happened so late and that the defendants have been in custody,” he said.
“But these are very serious matters that have to be gone into and matters have to be reviewed consistently.”
Neither the identity of the alleged victim nor the content of the Twitter account was made available to the Press.