- Four agriculture students were cleared of rape after case against collapsed
- Gloucestershire Detective Constable Ben Lewis is still working for force
- DC Lewis accused of having 'broken' trial process by holding back details
- Alleged rape victim had been involved in different three-in-a-bed incident
- Defence lawyers say police also held back her messages hinting at consent
13 APRIL 2016 | UPDATED: 13 APRIL 2016 | BY MARTIN ROBINSON FOR MAILONLINE
The police officer accused of 'vandalising' a rape case involving four students is still working on serious crimes and has not been disciplined, it was revealed today.
Gloucestershire Detective Constable Ben Lewis was accused of having 'broken' the trial process after holding back information that led to the friends being cleared of sex crimes this week.
His force is also accused of ‘cherry picking’ evidence over two years to support their case whilst ‘airbrushing’ out anything that suggested the students may be innocent.
But today it has emerged that DC Lewis is still on active duty and said the matter will not be referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
A police source told The Sun: ‘He does not specifically work in serious sexual offences, but works in the investigations role. His role has not changed, he is still working in the same team.’
Officers have been accused of ‘withholding’ evidence before the trial. This included messages taken from the victim’s phone hinting that she may have consented.
Leo Mahon, 22, Patrick Foster, 22, James Martin, 20, and Thady Duff, 22, students at the Royal Agricultural University, were due to appear in court accused of rape, sexual assault and assault by penetration.
But the Gloucester Crown Court case against them fell apart after it emerged that material was found on the alleged victim’s mobile phone about her sex life, including a ‘three-in-a-bed’ incident involving a soldier at a Wiltshire barracks.
Five months after the Royal Agricultural University’s May Ball, where she said she was raped by the four young men, the woman was involved in a sex session with an Army officer which led to the soldier being accused of rape by another woman.
It is understood the alleged victim in the May Ball case had had sex with the soldier after a visit to an Army barracks. He was court martialled but cleared of rape and sexual assault charges after she gave ‘different accounts’ of the alleged rape.
The officer on the May Ball case was revealed to have kept quiet about the ‘different accounts’ the woman had provided.
Gloucestershire Police has said that it will decide in the coming weeks whether to investigate their own officers but confirmed that it will not be referred to the IPCC, according to The Sun.
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the Tory MP who represents Cirencester, where the university is based said that the force must investigate.
He said: ‘It is vital that Gloucestershire Police take all allegations of misconduct extremely seriously’.
Defence barristers acting for the four men argued the case showed the woman’s interest in group sex and demanded to know why neither they, nor the Crown Prosecution Service, had been told about it.
Further analysis of the complainant’s phone revealed she had sent text messages on the night of the ball which raised further doubts about her accusations.
After the case against him collapsed amateur jockey James Martin criticised the ‘devastating’ police investigation.
He said: ‘If they had done their job properly it would have been over a long time ago and I would have years of my life back.
‘It was hard, very hard. It’s always been there. It’s changed the way I think about things. I look at people in a different way now – a bit paranoid. It’s harder to trust anybody.
‘It has been hard, really hard for the families. It is a big relief for everyone. I’m relieved but annoyed it got this far’.
His barrister Edward Henry accused officers of ‘airbrushing’ and ‘cherry-picking’ evidence and said there will need to be a review, adding: ‘We need to know the answers to some questions. Why this should have gone on for so long as it has? Why it took 13 months to decide to charge these defendants in the first place?
Mr Henry had told the court that there had been an ‘absolute failure’ by police officers ‘to take notes except for self-serving acts on occasion’.
He said: ‘There are two notes where sexual behaviour has been mentioned to the officer and these notes have never made their way into the defence material. He has vandalised the trial process. It is broken and cannot be fixed’.
The young men were all arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault after the drunken sex session on the night of the ‘Mad Hatters’ May ball at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, in 2014.
A ‘pornographic’ video of the act was shared on social messaging app Snapchat – leading to the woman involved to tell police she had been raped.
The young men were facing prison sentences of more than ten years if they had been convicted.