News Criminal Defence 14th Jun 2023

Neelam Gomersall represents tennis coach acquitted of serious sexual assault of a young student

Neelam’s client was charged with assault by penetration of a child under 13 and sexual assault of a child under 13. The assaults were said to have been committed during a tennis lesson against a four-year-old student. 

The prosecution relied on hearsay disclosures made by the complainant to her family and the hearsay disclosure of a five-year-old witness that tended to support the complainant’s disclosure. Neither child substantiated the allegation when interviewed by the police on two occasions each.

The case involved lengthy legal argument as to the admissibility of the disclosures in circumstances where both witnesses resiled from them in interview. 

The hearsay disclosures were ultimately deemed admissible in the interests of justice under s114(1)(d) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

The court declined to exclude the hearsay evidence under s78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 in light of a series of disclosure failings and declined to stop the case at the close of the prosecution case under s125 CJA 2003 (where a case is based wholly or partly on unconvincing hearsay) or under the well-known test in R v Galbraith. 

At the conclusion of 7-day trial at Woolwich Crown Court, Neelam’s client was unanimously acquitted of both counts on the indictment. 

Neelam was instructed by Gavin Kendall of MK Law.

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