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Man cleared of child sex abuse named in House of Commons by his MP – who says he is guilty and ‘getting away scot-free’
Conservative MP Gary Streeter named Geoffrey Genge in ParliamentCharges of sexual abuse against Genge were dropped earlier this yearMP said CPS handling of case had been a 'disaster'South West Devon MP accused Genge of 'getting away scot-free'
16:56 GMT, 5 December 2012
A man cleared of child sex abuse has been named in the House of Commons by his MP – who claimed he had 'absolutely no doubt' that the man is guilty.
Conservative MP Gary Streeter told the House of Commons that Geoffrey Genge, whose sexual abuse case was dropped earlier this year, is 'getting away scot-free'.
Genge, 67, was due to appear in court in March this year charged with five offences of rape and sexual abuse but his case was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
The South West Devon MP took the unusual decision to name Genge in Parliament on Monday, and said the case was 'one of the worst' he had 'come across in 20 years of doing this job'.
Named: Gary Streeter, right, named Geoffrey Genge in the House of Commons. Charges against Genge for sexual abuse and rape were dropped earlier this year. Streeter told Parliament that Genge was 'getting away scot-free' and said the CPS' 'handling of the case was a disaster'
He told the Commons that prosecutors had failed his victims, taking the decision to drop the case against Genge 'out of the blue'.
He said that the CPS' handling of the case 'had been a disaster' and called for the Attorney General to review the case.
Mr Streeter was protected by parliamentary privilege while speaking in the Commons, a legal immunity meaning that he was protected from prosecutions for libel and slander.
Mr Streeter told Parliament: 'I have
absolutely no doubt that Mr Genge abused my constituents when they were
children, and he is getting away scot-free.'
Parliament heard how the charges against Genge, of Plymouth, Devon, related to allegations of abuse between 1957 and 1961.
Referring to the decision to drop the case, Mr Streeter added: 'This is not British justice. If
action can be taken in relation to offences by Jimmy Savile who is dead,
if others are in the firing line about incidents relating to 30 or 40
years back, why can a prosecution not take place against Mr Genge'
'The CPS must get their act together. Every effort must be taken to ensure that justice is done.'
Genge was accused of historical offences against three females.
The charges included the rape and
attempted rape of one girl, the attempted rape of a second youngster and
the attempted rape and indecent assault of a third girl.
A trial date was set for March 26,
2012, but on January 10 the case against him was dropped.
Judge Francis Gilbert QC thew out the case at Plymouth Crown Court and recorded a ‘not guilty’ verdict on all five counts.
Streeter told Parliament that the CPS only dropped the case after
learning that Genge's solicitor was 'preparing an abuse of process
defence', whereby he would say 'that too much time had passed since the
abuses had occurred'.
Mr Streeter told Parliament how one
alleged victim Margaret Felwick – who waived her legal right to
anonymity – had contacted police in February 2011.
Privilege: MPs cannot be prosecuted for libel or slander for anything they say in the Parliament under a legal immunity known as parliamentary privilege
She reported a serious sex offence allegedly carried out against her by Genge 50 years ago when he was aged between 12 and 16,
Mr Streeter said she spoke out after discovering two others had allegedly been abused and all three went to the police.
He said the police reassured the alleged victims it was not too late to prosecute as 'there was strong evidence to support the case'.
Mrs Felwick of Plympton, Devon, was notified by the CPS in August 2011 that the prosecution would go ahead.
Mr Streeter told Parliament that
prosecutors had believed there was a realistic prospect of conviction
and believed it was 'more likely than not that Mr Genge would be convicted'.
This series of events was followed by the CPS decision to drop the case, prompting Mr Streeter to tell the Commons: 'So the police believed the
victims, and the CPS found them to be credible, but the case was stopped
over consideration for Mr Genge.'
Mr Streeter told the Commons Mrs
Felwick was 'a gentle, reasonable and decent human being'.
He added: 'I cannot think of a single motive she would have to raise this matter after all these years if it were not so that the truth could be told. Why would she want to put herself through the trauma of a trial if not for justice to be done'
'No reference was made to the victims at all. Naturally my constituents felt like victims all over again.'
He accused the CPS of acting improperly, telling the Commons: 'Why did the CPS give my constituents hope that the case would go ahead,
charge the defendant, thus bringing the matter into the public domain,
and then change its mind at the last minute
'Abuse of process is not a
novel concept; lawyers deal with these types of issues fairly regularly.
If there was a problem with the evidence, and if the defendant’s
application was likely to be successful, why did the CPS not think of
Solicitor General Oliver Heald said it was not possible to reopen the case, but would raise the matter with the Director of Public Prosecutions.
He said: 'In this case the CPS specialist rape prosecutor who was dealing with the case, once he had the benefit of advice from counsel, he considered that a defence application to the court to stop the proceedings would be likely to succeed.
'So the decision was taken reluctantly by the CPS mindful of the distress that it could cause the complainant. But it does not follow from the decision that the complainants were or are not believed.
'Put simply the decision was taken because in this particular case the passage of time may have undermined the fairness of the proceedings on the individual facts of the case.'
Following the not guilty verdict earlier this year Genge’s solicitor described the evidence as ‘weak’, the charges ‘odious’ and the case 'a shocking waste of taxpayers’ money'.
In a statement following Mr Streeter’s comments, Mr Genge’s legal representative said: 'Mr Genge says that these allegations are false. On 9 January 2012 the prosecution offered no evidence in this case and Mr Genge was acquitted of all charges.
'Whilst we are relieved that the CPS took this decision finally, we remain concerned about the matter being pursued that far.'