Wednesday 10 December 2014

More Lies by David de Freitas

The Director of Public Prosecutions had only just made her statement confirming that the evidence was strong in the case case against Eleanor, and thus vindicating me, when Mr de Freitas struck back.

He had contacted the Daily Telegraph to publish a press release and also wrote and article in The Guardian authored by himself stating that what the DPP had said was wrong and that the evidence in the case against his daughter was based on "rape myths".

This was meant to be a day if vindication for me, the day when the news was focused on the DPP's statement. But no. Mr de Freitas stole that moment from me.

He was saying his daughter was victim and that I was guilty, all over again.

It was an ambush designed to confuse the public.

Once again I was under attack.

But this time I was going to take legal action. This time I was going to sue him for libel.

I had been amazingly patient over the last 5 weeks, but this was the final straw. There are only a certain amount of times that one can put up with being accused of being a rapist and this was the 7th time he had done so.

I called up my lawyer. We were going to take de Freitas to court.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Director of Public Prosecutions: "Evidence including text messages and CCTV footage directly contradicted the account Ms de Freitas gave to the police"

Ever since the press had come out over a month ago I had been waiting for the DPP to make a statement about the case. But no one knew what she was going to speak out, last of all me.

She had been heavily criticised by Mr de Freitas in the press, so it was expected she would confirm that the evidence in the case against Eleanor was strong.

What she had to say would be really important. The DPP is effectively in charge of all the criminal cases in England and Wales. That's everything from murder to speeding fines. Her word would be taken seriously. If she said there was evidence to show that I was innocent then that would be amazing. 

Finally on the 9th December 2014 the DPP made a public statement. See press statement here



Eleanor de Freitas’ tragic death was just days before she was due to stand trial for perverting the course of justice. The pending inquest will deal with the circumstances surrounding her death and I do not want to interfere with that process. However the case has understandably raised questions about private prosecutions in these types of cases and why the CPS took over and continued this particular case.

Having considered the detail and the issues raised by the family, I am satisfied that the decision making in this case was correct and that it was made in accordance with our policies and guidance. I have separately met with Ms de Freitas' father, David de Freitas, to explain in more detail our decision and the evidence informing it, much of which is personal and sensitive and therefore inappropriate for the CPS to make public. This statement is aimed at explaining the reasoning behind our decision making and not at exploring the evidence in the case, as the allegations concerned have not been properly tested in court. Notwithstanding the correct decision making, this case has highlighted a number of wider issues which I have also discussed with Ms de Freitas' family and I have welcomed their input.

Cases of perverting the course of justice or wasting police time in relation to an alleged false rape claim are rare, but where there is sufficient evidence to show that a false claim may have been made, the potential harm to those affected must be very carefully considered and an appropriate decision made. This case was unprecedented and one of the most complex I have seen in that not only did it require careful consideration of Ms de Freitas' mental health, it was also the subject of a private prosecution without a full police investigation.

Parliament has preserved the right of individuals to bring private prosecutions. This right is limited for some offences by the need for my consent but no such limit applies to cases of perverting the course of justice. When we receive a request to intervene, as we did in this case, we must consider that request and apply the same test, set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors, as we would to any other prosecution. If, as here, the case does meet our test we have two options. One is to leave the case in the hands of the private prosecutor, the other is to take the case over and conduct it. Our Legal Guidance states that private prosecutions should be taken over and prosecuted where the offence is serious and also where the case is one "that merits the prosecution being conducted by a public prosecuting authority rather than by a private individual". Given the test was met in this case, had the CPS not taken over proceedings, a private prosecution would have continued. In my view, given the nature of the allegations, that would not have been appropriate.

At this stage it is important to stress that rape is an incredibly serious crime which remains under-reported, partly because victims fear that they will not be believed. Nothing in this unique and tragic case should put anyone else off from making a complaint of rape or sexual assault. The CPS has done a huge amount of work in recent years to ensure that all the very difficult aspects of cases involving allegations of sexual offences where vulnerable parties are involved are considered correctly. Highly skilled rape specialist lawyers deal with all rape and serious sexual offence cases and they are alive to the signs of possible intimidation, humiliation and shame, and self-blaming which can be displayed in behaviours previously thought as potentially undermining to some allegations of rape. As a culmination of almost four years' work raising awareness of the sensitivities and issues surrounding cases involving allegedly false rape claims, we are also in the process of updating our guidance on prosecuting cases of Perverting the Course of Justice where it is alleged a false claim has been made.

However, the evidence in this case was strong and having considered it in light of all of our knowledge and guidance on prosecuting sexual offences and allegedly false rape claims, it is clear there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction for perverting the course of justice. This was evidence including text messages and CCTV footage that directly contradicted the account Ms de Freitas gave to the police. This was not assumption based on her behaviour or actions which fall into myths and stereotypes about how alleged rape victims should behave. It was on this basis that we concluded that there was a realistic prospect of proving that the rape allegation made by Ms de Freitas was false, and there was also a strong public interest in prosecuting due to the seriousness of the alleged offence which was maintained by the defendant for some time and which led to the arrest of an individual.

I must remind everyone that no case has been proved against Ms de Freitas and so no conclusions can be made or stated as fact. Indeed the test that we must satisfy to bring a case to court - that it has a realistic prospect of conviction - is very different to the higher test of being sure of a persons guilt beyond reasonable doubt which a jury must decide upon.

I am satisfied that prosecutors had taken the necessary steps in assuring themselves that Ms de Freitas' mental health had been properly considered. This was in the form of a very detailed report by a consultant forensic psychiatrist instructed by Ms de Freitas' legal team, who also took into account the views of Ms de Freitas' consultant psychiatrist. That medical assessment was clear. The doctor instructed by Ms de Freitas' legal representative recommended that she was aware of the implications of making a false allegation, as she was alleged to have done, and was fit to stand trial. We do not take on these kinds of prosecutions lightly, but the medical evidence provided to us could not justify dropping such a serious case. No further representations were made to us as to Ms de Freitas' health, which would of course have been carefully considered.

There has been speculation that the police did not agree with the prosecution for various reasons. However, the police never undertook an investigation into the alleged perverting the course of justice nor did they consider all the material provided to us by the private prosecution. They were therefore not in a position to form a view on whether there was sufficient evidence to prosecute.

Bringing such a prosecution without the support of the police from the outset is extremely unusual. However police engagement should have been secured by the CPS at a far earlier stage than did in fact happen when a police disclosure officer was provided in March 2014. Although the majority of the material was provided to the defence, Ms de Freitas' police interview was only provided at a late stage.

If the CPS is invited to consider a private prosecution and the conclusion is reached that either the evidential or the public interest test is not met then we will, of course, take over the case and discontinue it. If, on the other hand, both these tests are met the question remains whether the prosecution should be conducted by the CPS or by the private prosecutor. As a result of this case, I intend to make it clear to prosecutors that, where the allegation in question arises out of an alleged false claim of rape, it would be an exceptional course for it to be left in the hands of the private prosecutor.

I have expressed my very personal and heartfelt sympathies to Ms de Freitas' family and I hope that I have been able to explain the actions of the CPS to them, although I know that will be little comfort for the terrible and tragic loss of their daughter.

Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions


Below: Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions


Friday 5 December 2014

Letter to Lisa Longstaff (of the charity Women Against Rape) - re maintaining anonymity for those accused of rape

Lisa Longstaff
Crossroads Women's Centre
25 Wolsey Mews
London NW5 2DX

5th December 2014 

Dear Ms Longstaff,

I was the Private Prosecutor in the case against Eleanor De Freitas

I have read you and your colleagues comments on my case with interest. Firstly please let me say that I am completely against rape. I have two female friends who were raped and never reported it to the police. One of which I dated and one of which was even a witness for the CPS and supported this case.

Please find USB stick enclosed. I want you to see with your own eyes the CCTV of me and EDF the morning after the alleged rape. The CCTV captured us in Ann Summers on 24th December 2012 at 11:24am. You can see EDF chose multiple sex toys including a couple of vibrators and a vibrating egg. On top of that she spent around £100 on lube, although you cannot see it clearly in the video. The total bill in Ann Summers came to £340.00

On top of this evidence are statements of others whom she told a different version of events to. As well as phone evidence showing a number of text messages consistent with a false allegation. That’s three types of evidence. CCTV, phone reports and witnesses.

Despite this wealth of evidence the CPS took three months (Sept-Dec 2013) to consider the case. It went through all the different departments. It was even ratified by Alison Levitt QC who are the time was Adviser to the DPP. I would also point out that Alison Levitt studied for a 17 month period false allegations of rape for the entire country and wrote the report herself. She an expert on the subject.

With regards to EDF’s mental health and “vulnerability”. Her own defense lawyers gave the court two reports on a voluntary basis that said she was fit for trial. Not only that but the reports described her a more able than most, manipulative, highly intelligent and even machiavellian. Those are the words of the psychiatrist who was chosen by her own lawyers. They didn’t have to serve those reports to the court but they did, and it was done on a voluntary basis. That’s what the CPS based their decision on when considering her mental health. Two reports that said she was not only fine, but also manipulative. Both reports were written by psychiatrists of her own choosing.

I note that you say that women should not be prosecuted for making false allegations of rape. I also note that Ms Avalos says that those who are falsely accused can bring civil defamation proceedings instead of prosecuting.

Ms Avalos is mistaken. Complaints made to the police (in the UK) are immune from defamation proceedings. There is a test case called Westcott v Westcott which was heard in the Court Of Appeal a few years ago. Even if you can prove that a complaint is false and has been done with malice you can still not bring defamation proceedings.

I am all for catching rapists and getting more convictions. But the problem at the moment is naming alleged rapists in public causes serious problems. If there had been anonymity laws in place for the accused as well as the alleged victim I would have not needed to bring my private prosecution.

As soon as you start naming people you are “upping the ante”. Those falsely accused are going to want to clear their names. The only mechanism for clearing ones name is a Private Prosecution. You may have seen my article on the Mail on Sunday? Underneath the online version are a lot of comments 90% of which support the prosecution. That’s what the public think about it. They believe that it was fair.

I note (from previous press) that you don’t want to have anonymity for those accused, but then you do need a mechanism for them to clear their names. Wouldn’t you agree? At the moment this is the Private Prosecution. I would welcome any creative ideas on how the innocent can clear their names, as an alternative to this. As I said before false police reports are immune from libel so you can’t go in the civil courts asking for an apology. That’s a big problem.

I seriously believe that anonymity for those accused (until conviction) would help your cause. If the innocent are not named then they are less likely to push for legal action and commence private prosecutions. By naming the innocent as “alleged rapists” you are guaranteed that what happened to me will happen again. There will be more tears and more tragedy.

For your information I would also like to point out that EDF has a history of making false rape complaints. That was part of the prosecution evidence. A few years ago she made a false rape complaint against another man. Police answered your prayers that time and did nothing in that case. As a result she did it again. A textbook example of how false allegations cannot be ignored. This is not yet in the press but will be when the IPCC investigation is complete.

I am all for catching and convicting rapists, but all in balance please, let’s protect the innocent as well.

Kind regards,