Durham University student cleared of sex assault charges after apologising to complainant

He had just started studying sport, exercise and physical activities Durham University in October 2017, when the first alleged incident took place. “There would quite rightly be an outcry if other criminal offences could be cleared up following an apology. ““We really hope this doesn’t set a precedent that makes victims/survivors feel they should accept apologies or forgive perpetrators.”A CPS spokesperson said: “The CPS correctly brought this case to court. In consultation with the victim, it was eventually agreed that the public interest was met by an apology and that duly happened.“Proper recording and timely revelation of material is a matter which we will discuss with Durham Police, as part of our ongoing work to ensure disclosure is handled fairly and correctly in the criminal justice process”.  Sarah Green, Co-Director, End Violence Against Women Coalition said: “This case is very unusual and raises a lot of questions. Victims of sexual assault often really want to hear a sincere apology from the offender and to know that they understand the harm they have done.”But, our courts system is not set up to ensure a last minute declaration of regret and apology is delivered in a way that guarantees the victim is truly, freely able to choose whether this is right for her. The victim has no legal representation of her own, and may for example feel rushed or pressured at worst. On the judge’s direction, the jury returned formal not guilty verdict to all three charges.But sexual violence charities expressed concern over the way the case had been handled and said it could set a worrying precedent.A spokeswoman for  The Survivors Trust said:  “Obviously, the wishes of the victim have to be respected, and she is content with the apology following consultations with the prosecution and the defence barristers.  “However, there is a danger that this case could send a message out that puts pressure on other victims and survivors to accept apologies.  “Sexual assault and sexual harassment can have a lifelong impact on the health and wellbeing of victims and the way they are dealt with in court needs to reflect the severity of the damage that can be done.     Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The following month he was accused of assaulting the same woman during a drunken night out with his rugby teammates during which he had been wearing a tutu.He was charged with three counts of sexual assault, suspended by the university and moved back to Cheshire to work for his father’s company.Mr Twigg had denied all the charges and had been expected to face trial at Durham Crown Court.But before the trial got underway, he was given the opportunity to meet with his alleged victim in the presence of both legal teams.Following the brief meeting, prosecuting counsel, Chris Baker returned to the court and explained: “Upon deliberation and consultation with the complainant a view was taken that a heartfelt apology to her would meet the public interest in this case.“This has now taken place and she was content with the apology that she received.“Myself, defence counsel and the officer overseeing this case were present and we were all agreed that it was a heartfelt apology for some dreadful behaviour that took place that night.“The Crown’s view is that we will now offer ‘no evidence’ in the case.”Judge Jonathan Carroll told the defendant: “I understand that you have now apologised to the girl in this case and that both counsel have taken the view it was a genuine and heartfelt apology. “I can only echo that was the very least you could have done. You were in drink and have allowed horseplay to elevate itself.“At the very least it was downright rude and a quite intimidating behaviour which had a very significant impact on your victim.“I acknowledge it has also had a devastating effect on you, ending your university education and damaging your rugby career, so you have learned in a very hard way a very difficult lesson.“Go away and reflect how you behaved in drink so you never see yourself before the court again.” “The judge instructed the jury to return a no guilty verdict in this case, despite what amounts to an admission of guilt, so there is no further sanction or recording of this offence. So there is also a question of how the assessment of likelihood of future offending is made and protection of women.”On broader level, we have got to question what is creating this ugly, thuggish, horrible behaviour among some young men. Why do privileged young men get to university and think they can treat women this way? We need to step up challenges to these attitudes and behaviour in families and in schools before they kick in.” Christopher Twigg played rugby league for Thailand A Durham University student has been cleared of carrying out three sex attacks on a female undergraduate after he apologised to her as the trial was about to get underway.Christopher Twigg, 20, a rugby league international, had been accused of sexually assaulting the woman on two separate occasions while on a drunken night out with his teammates.The jury in the case had been sworn in and the trial was about to begin when he was given the chance to make amends without admitting his guilt.In an unusual legal twist, Mr Twigg met with his victim and offered a “heartfelt apology” for his actions, which she accepted.Following the move, prosecutors accepted that it had been enough to “meet the public interest” and the jury was instructed to find him not guilty.It has also emerged that the defence barrister, Sarah Forshaw, QC, had raised concerns about the disclosure of evidence to her by the Crown.The judge in the case told Mr Twigg his actions in drink had been “rude and “intimidating”, but said he accepted the apology had been genuine and heartfelt.Mr Twigg was a talented rugby league player, who thanks to his grandmother’s Asian heritage qualified to play for Thailand in its inaugural international against El Salvador in February 2017. Christopher Twigg played rugby league for Thailand Christopher Twigg offered his alleged victim a heartfelt apology Christopher Twigg offered his alleged victim a heartfelt apology


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