FOLLOWING a retrial held at Swansea Crown Court, Brian Buckle, a 51-year-old resident of Fishguard, was acquitted of a series of historical child sex offences on Friday (May 19) .
The 12 charges against him included allegations of indecent assault, indecency with a child, and attempted rape, all of which were said to have occurred between March 31, 1993, and April 1, 1996.
It is important to note that each of these allegations pertained to the same complainant
The previous conviction of Buckle, who was 45 at the time, took place in 2017 when he was sentenced to a combined 33 years in prison.
The sentence stipulated that he would serve this period over 15 years.
However, a retrial was ordered by the Court of Appeal last year, leading to the recent proceedings at Swansea Crown Court.
After trial lasting two weeks, during which the court heard extensive arguments from both the prosecution and the defence, the 11-member jury (One had left before the end of the trial because of a pre-booked holiday which had not been mentioned during jury selection) unanimously returned a not guilty verdict on each of the counts.
Deliberations lasted just over four hours.
The prosecution contended that Buckle had sexually abused the complainant, who was between eight and ten years old at the time of the alleged offenses.
They presented forensic evidence linking Buckle to the complainant through traces of his semen found on her childhood diary.
In his defence, Buckle vehemently denied all charges, asserting that he was being framed.
He maintained his innocence throughout the trial, telling the jury, “I never sexually abused, or physically or mentally abused, the complainant.”
Buckle’s barrister argued that his client had never seen the diary, which was referred to as “the invisible diary,” until the 2017 trial.
The defence further claimed that Buckle’s DNA must have been planted on it, potentially originating from a used condom.
Dr. Candice Bridge, a forensic chemist, testified that traces of lubricant used in condoms were present in the semen found.
During the trial, the complainant was questioned as to why she had never reported the allegations to the police.
She explained that she had had negative experiences with the police throughout her life.
In response, the defence barrister argued, “It’s because the defendant did not do these things.”
The retrial shed new light on a case that had been ongoing since 2015 when the charges were initially brought to the attention of the police by the complainant’s father during an unrelated interview.
As the retrial concluded with a not guilty verdict, Brian Buckle walked free from the courtroom, finally proving his innocence in the face of the historical child sex offence charges that had haunted him for years.
It now remains to be seen if the police will investigate the allegation made by Buckle that he was “framed” and that others had seemingly deliberately sought to pervert the course of justice in order to send an innocent main to jail.