News Criminal Defence 2nd Jun 2023

Merry van Woodenberg acts for tutor found not guilty of sexually assaulting a student

Merry van Woodenberg, instructed by Claire Hewitt of ABV Solicitors, acted for a maths tutor accused of sexually assaulting a student. Following a trial and a re-trial at Kingston Crown Court and Southwark Crown Court respectively, Merry’s client was found not guilty of three offences of sexual assault of a child under the age of 13.

A 9 year old child who had been part of the defendant’s maths class accused the defendant of a series of sexual assaults. Merry conducted the cross-examination of the young complainant using the Section 28 pre-recorded cross-examination procedure. At the first trial at Kingston Crown Court, Merry’s client was acquitted of one of the offences on the indictment, with the jury being unable to reach verdicts on the other counts. The prosecution then sought to proceed to a re-trial in relation to those remaining counts. Merry argued that the continued prosecution was an abuse of the court’s process, and that the defence should have the right to cross-examine the complainant de novo in the re-trial. The Court ruled that the defence did not have that right, and that the same Section 28 recording would be played, merely removing any reference to conduct of which the defendant had already been acquitted.

Following a retrial at Southwark Crown Court, Merry’s client was then unanimously found not guilty of all of the offences on the indictment.


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