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  1. ITV Report

Oxford student rape case dropped

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A judge has criticised police and prosecutors after a rape case against an Oxford University student has been dropped - days before his trial.

Oliver Mears, 19, spent two years on bail accused of raping and assaulting a woman in July 2015.

But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided to offer no evidence against him on the basis of fresh evidence, including a diary that supported his case, which was passed to the CPS just last week.

On Friday, prosecutor Sarah Lindop told Guildford Crown Court the case was "finely balanced" from the start and the new material "tips the balance" in favour of Mears.

Oliver's family say that are relieved and happy the charges have been finally dropped.

"As a family, we are glad and relieved this is over and it has been an extremely difficult and stressful two years. Our only hope is that no one else has to go through this. We are glad that justice has been done and Oliver has been cleared of all charges."

– A close family representative

Judge Jonathan Black demanded the head of the CPS Rape and Sexual Offences ( RASO) unit write to him within 28 days "with a full explanation of what went wrong" before he decides whether any action is required "at CPS or police level".

"It seems to me in a case which is as finely balanced as you say it was, there have been unnecessary delays in investigating... leading to what seems to be a completely unnecessary last-minute decision in this case. "Both Oliver Mears and the complainant have had this matter hanging over their heads for two years in circumstances, had the investigation been carried out properly in the first instance, would not have led to this position."

– Judge Jonathan Black

It comes after Scotland Yard announced a review of every one of its sex crime investigations, where a suspect has been charged, following the collapse of two rape prosecutions in a week.

Surrey Police have launched an internal review of the force's investigation.