Successful private prosecution of serial rapist – R v Davies
In 1995, two women brought the first successful private prosecution for rape in England and Wales with the support of the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) and Women Against Rape (WAR). Both women had independently reported being attacked in what turned out to be remarkably similar circumstances. Yet the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.
The ECP and WAR found lawyers ready to work for free and Davies was indicted on charges of rape, indecent assault, false imprisonment, wounding and assault causing actual bodily harm arising out of the two incidents which had taken place in December 1991 and in September 1992. He was convicted of nearly all the charges including rape against one woman and sentenced to 14 years in prison (reduced to 11 on appeal). The evidence before the court was exactly the same as that which the CPS decided was insufficient to prosecute.
After the trial, the women applied to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board for compensation as they were entitled to but had their award reduced by a half on the grounds of “character and conduct”. Their courage and determination, which got a serial attacker off the streets, appeared to count for nothing.
Rapist jailed after prostitutes bring private prosecution (The Independent, 20 September 1995)
Private case brings rapist to justice (The Guardian, 18 May 1995)
“The Davies case will be seen as another dent in the reputation of the CPS. (The Times, 20 September 1995)
“This [case] had a profound impact on the way that the authorities saw victims of rape. . .” (UK Criminal Law Blog, 16th November 2012)