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Judge queries rape trial delay

3416292The Swansea Crown Court trial of a Haverfordwest man ended in a hung jury on Friday afternoon (September 20).
The foreman of the jury informed the court at around 4pm that a verdict could not be agreed, and a majority of ten or eleven jurors could also not be agreed either. The foreman said there was no prospect that further deliberations would help.  Deliberations had lasted for over six and a half hours.
Geraint Walters, prosecuting, was given seven days in which to consult with the CPS over a possible retrial.
Harley Rees, aged 19, was accused of raping a friend in August or September of 2010. The girl had taken a year to come forward with a complaint, and the police and CPS had taken a further year to make a decision to bring charges.
His Honour Judge Thomas asked discharded the jury, thanking them for their service and said that their public duty was “invaluable.”
HH Judge Thomas said “It is difficult in these case of cases when views can be polorised one way or another for jurys to reach a verdict. Please do not think that you have let anyone down by not agreeing. I would like to thank each and every one of you for your sevice today”
After the jury had left the room, and addressing prosecutor Geraint Walters in open court, HH Judge Thomas said: “This trial has been carried out by professionalism and expedition by the barriesters in this court, but what I would like to find out is why did a charging decision take so long?”
The judge added: “It seems to me that problems have been caused by a lack of manpower in the Crown Prosecution Service and that you have not received the logistical back up you needed to do you job. You have been disadvantaged and struggling. In a case of this seriousness you should be given all the support you deserve, no matter what the cost.”
Harley Rees, who had been sobbing and hugging family members whilst the jury was deliberating, was smiling and confident as he walked out of court. With his new girlfriend at his side he spoke to the Herald outside the courtroom.
“I am happy with the outcome of today’s hearing” he said.
Rees added: “Now I want to go home and relax for the next seven days and wait to find out if there is going to be a retrial”
The alleged victim can not be named for legal reasons, and Rees remains on bail pending the possible retrial.