London mother crowd-funds private rape prosecution

by Emma Batha | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 7 November 2017 14:13 GMT

The Lady of Justice is seen on top of the "Old Bailey" Central Criminal Court, in Central London, in this 2009 archive photo. REUTERS/Stephen Hird

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"I can pay someone to do the Crown Prosecution Service's job for them"

By Emma Batha

LONDON, Nov 7 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A woman, who says she was raped by a stranger in a London hotel room, has launched a crowd-funding page to bring her alleged attacker to justice after prosecutors declined to pursue her case.

Emily Hunt told the BBC she hoped to lead the way for those "let down" by the courts.

"I woke up naked and terrified on a hotel bed next to a man I'd never seen before," she wrote on her online campaign page.

"I suspected that I (had) been drugged, and as I found out later, I had been raped."

Hunt said the man had also filmed her naked and unconscious during the alleged attack in May 2015.

Media reports said the man told police the sex was consensual.

But Hunt, a 38-year-old mother of one, said CCTV footage from earlier in the evening showed she had been in no state to give consent.

Hunt told the BBC she felt confused when she came round in the hotel at 10pm. She said she had earlier met her father for lunch, but recalled nothing after about 5pm.

"I had this lightbulb moment that I'd been drugged," she said. "I'd never lost five hours of my life completely and totally, and wound up somewhere where I didn't know how I got there."

She called a friend from the hotel who contacted the police.

But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which carried out two reviews of the case following the police investigation, said there was no realistic prospect of conviction on the evidence.

"While we are of course sympathetic to the complainant in this case, this is not a prosecution we were able to bring to court," a CPS spokesman said.

Hunt told British newspapers that CCTV footage showed her kissing the man, but that she was clearly "heavily intoxicated" and falling over.

She has raised more than £12,700 ($16,700) of her £100,000 target since launching the campaign a fortnight ago.

"I've found a really good lawyer. And this story is not over," she said on her gofundme.com page. "I can pay someone to do the Crown Prosecution Service's job for them."

Fay Maxted, chief executive of The Survivors Trust, a charity supporting rape victims, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the case could spur debate on the difficulty of getting rape cases into court.

"You have to prove you're a worthy victim, make yourself believable – it's very tough," she said.

"It is positive that this woman is able to do this, but it hinges on having the funds - most rape victims will not be able to go down this avenue."

($1 = 0.7608 pounds)

(Additional reporting by Kieran Guilbert. Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.)

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