Double Jeopardy Legislation Used to Secure Historic Rape Conviction

April 29, 2019

A man has appeared in Stafford Crown Court on rape charges relating to an offence carried out in 1989.

The victim, who was 17-years-old at the time, caught a train from Shrewsbury intending to travel to Wellington. She missed her stop and got off at Telford.

She had no money with her but a taxi driver, Irvine Watt, offered to help her. However instead of driving her to Wellington he drove her to a field and raped her. He then drove the victim back to Telford railway station, gave her £1.70 for a ticket back to Shrewsbury. The victim later informed her family what had happened and then the police.

Following a police investigation Watt was arrested and later charged, however the prosecution was later dropped and the defendant acquitted due to lack of forensic evidence.

In 2014, a review was carried out of the forensic evidence which provided a DNA match to the defendant and the matter was successfully brought before the Court of Appeal under the rarely used ‘double jeopardy’ legislation. He was arrested and a successful application was made to quash the 1989 acquittal. Watt was subsequently charged with and found guilty of rape and attempted rape and has now been sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment.

“For nearly 30 years Irvine Watt had thought that he had escaped justice, however, through new forensic techniques, we were able to match the defendant’s DNA to the 1989 rape,” commented Robin Allen, with the Crown Prosecution Service. “The prosecution team were able to use this key piece of evidence to reopen the case, make an application to quash the previous acquittal and order a retrial resulting in today’s successful conviction.”

Contact Stuart Sutton at Tuckers Solicitors

If you believe that you have been wrongly convicted (or sentenced) or that one of your friends or family have been so convicted, in relation to a sexual offences case, please contact Stuart on 0808 164 6795 or 0808 169 5980.

Stuart has been in practice since 1987 and has throughout most of that time been involved in defending clients accused of sexual offences, be they against individuals or internet crimes. He has acted for clients who have been charged with sexual assaults, rape, offences against children, making pornographic images and related crimes.  He has a nationwide practice and divides his time between our Manchester and London offices, where he meets with his clients to take instructions and prepares documents.