Benjamin Knight Secures Acquittal in Mistaken Identity Rape Case

In a remarkable case demonstrating the importance of thorough investigation and the use of modern technology, barrister Benjamin Knight has successfully secured the acquittal of a man (D) accused of rape due to mistaken identity.Benjamin Knight in mistaken identity rape case

The incident traces back to 2018 when D, based in the North West, travelled South for a work stint as a barber. The job, found on a locum page predominantly featuring Kurdish barbers, led D to spend several days in the area, socialising and getting to know his new colleagues. During this time, D visited a nightclub with friends, including two women acquainted with the group from the barbershop. Following the night out, D engaged in a brief, consensual encounter with one of the women. It took some time before D found himself involved a very strange mistaken identity rape case and in need of a barrister.

In 2021, three years after the event, D was contacted by police and invited for an interview on suspicion of rape. He maintained his innocence, stating the sexual encounter was consensual and offering to provide his phone to the police to verify his whereabouts. Despite this, the police failed to properly investigate his account or prove an alibi from the phone’s contents, leading to D being charged with rape and ABH.

At the Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing (PTPH), his barrister Benjamin Knight pushed for a thorough investigation. It was discovered that D’s timeline did not match the complainant’s allegations. The complainant claimed to have a holiday photo proving that she was away when D says that he was in her city. Benjamin Knight contested this as it plainly made no sense to say that he had sex with the complainant but just not on the day that she said. There were no forensics. He could have lied, if he were guilty. Through detailed examination, it was shown that the police had not looked any further than the photograph that purported to negate D’s timeline. When that further examination was forced by the defence, the police were compelled to disclose an identical photograph on the complainant’s phone. That photo’s metadata indicated… it was taken days earlier, discrediting the complainant’s timeline.

Despite this, the prosecution persisted, despite the complainant and her friend describing that D had a very distinctive hairstyle on the night of the rape. D, however, could prove he did not have such a hairstyle at the time – he offered and even showed police proof of that fact at the time of interview. This was all but ignored by the police and prosecution, throughout the case.

Fast forward to the week of the trial and D was understandably anxious. He spent the night before scrolling through every photo ever taken by or sent to his phone – having changed phones a few times in three years. He stumbles upon photographs that had not been spotted before (as they were buried in Snapchat and Bluetooth folders) and had not been made available to his barrister. There were photographs of him on a train. Then him at a backyard barbecue. They were taken in his hometown. Literally hours before the night of the alleged rape. After painstaking examination of metadata, analysis of contextual images, reviewing metadata editing availability on older iPhones, it was clear to Benjamin Knight that these photographs were a cast iron alibi.

D was clearly an innocent man.

The police, after receiving the phone and conducting their analysis, could not disprove these alibi photos. Consequently, D was acquitted, ending his nightmare of facing a long prison sentence, potential deportation, and a lifetime of stigma as a sex offender.

This case underscores the severe consequences of inadequate police investigations. D’s ordeal was prolonged due to the initial failure to properly investigate his account and the evidence. The discrepancies in the complainant’s identification and the timeline were critical in proving D’s innocence. The prosecution’s determination to proceed despite evident issues highlights systemic problems in the investigative process.

D, now exonerated, can return to his life, his work, and begin healing from the trauma of being falsely accused. His hope remains that the real offender, if there is one, will eventually be brought to justice.

Benjamin Knight’s dedication and expertise in utilising modern technology and meticulous examination of evidence were pivotal in securing this just outcome. He was instructed by and very greatly assisted by the hard work of David Rose (Rose and Dunn Solicitors, Runcorn).

To instruct Benjamin Knight in mistaken identity rape, homicides, fraud or any other serious criminal proceedings before the Crown Court, please contact his clerks by email or telephone.