Parents denied appeal to challenge fact-finding in sexual assault case

Family|May 15th 2014

A couple have lost their appeal against a ruling that they were guilty of sexual assault.

The father was found to have sexually assaulted the mother’s 14-year old sister, ‘P’, while she was drunk.

P alleged that her sister held her during the assault.

In Re S (Children, W & T), Lord Justice McCombe did not accept the criticism made by the parents of the initial judge’s decision.

“As I have said already, it seems to me that the judgment was carefully prepared and considered. It appears to me that the judge quite adequately set out the primary features of the evidence of all the main witnesses.”

He added:

“The findings of fact were, in my view, properly open to the judge on the evidence and her judgment was properly reasoned in reaching her conclusions.”

Both parents appealed the original ruling from Brighton County Court, claiming that P was not a reliable witness.

They argued:

“P was not telling the truth about the alleged earlier incident because quite simply it could not have happened when she said it did. Secondly, whereas P purports to recall the detail independently in the police interview, in court she could not remember the alleged assault per se.”

Judge Waddicor, the judge on the initial fact-finding, called P a “straightforward witness” who gave a truthful account of the events in question.

She based this on a number of factors, including the fact that P stuck by the allegations even in the face of family hostility.

Photo of Brighton Pier by D1v1d via Flickr

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