Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Teenage rape victim to re-live ordeal

A judge at Swansea crown court criticised the way Dyfed Powys police dealt with sex victims. Credit: PA

A teenage rape victim will have to re-live her ordeal a second time because of problems with a video interview by police.

Swansea crown court heard the interview of a teenager who said she was raped when she was a child had been handled so badly the DVD was useless.

All sex victims are allowed to make a statement to police, which is filmed and placed onto a DVD. Later, if the alleged attacker is traced and put on trial, that DVD is played to the jury and becomes the victim's evidence, without them having to repeat the story in person.

But, Judge Thomas said the quality of the video was so poor he would not allow it to be played to a jury. Instead, she will have to re-interviewed.

Carina Hughes, prosecuting, said at one stage the camera was not even focused on the victim.

It is completely unfair because it's not her fault, but the DVD is not acceptable.

– Prosecuting, Carina Hughes

The poor audio was also an issue, said Miss Hughes.

Sex assault victims are supposed to be interviewed by a trained officer with a second officer monitoring the process from a different room.

Judge Thomas said he was not sure that anyone had monitored this particular interview but if he or she had then they should be sacked.

There's absolutely no control over the recording. They (the police) must get a grip.

– Judge Keith Thomas

He also criticised the police for questioning the victim for one and half hours about a single allegation.

Judge Thomas said the next interview must be completed within 30 minutes or he would want an explanation as to why he or she is 'incapable of carrying out a simple instruction'.

I cannot understand how any trained officer could think it is appropriate to question a girl for ninety minutes.

The new tape must take only thirty minutes maximum.

– Judge Keith Thomas

It was the second time a judge at Swansea crown court had criticised the way Dyfed Powys police dealt with sex victims.

In 2014 a judge at Swansea crown court criticised Pembroke Dock police who left a window open during an interview with a rape victim. The sound of passing traffic drowned out her testimony and she had to give live evidence in court.