February 2018

Plymouth park sex rapist fails in bid to clear his name

A Plymouth man who was jailed for a rape he claims he did not commit today failed in a Court of Appeal bid to clear his name and win his freedom.

Daniel Michael Hawkins , 32, was accused of raping the young woman in her bedroom after going back to her house after a night out.

But Hawkins, of Clowance Lane, has always insisted that the sex was consensual, once in a park and again in her room.

He was convicted of rape at Plymouth Crown Court in December 2016 and jailed for six years.

Last October, he was granted permission for an appeal, but today, after the case reached court again, three top judges upheld his conviction.

“The conviction is not unsafe and the appeal, therefore, is dismissed,” Lord Justice Irwin told London’s Court of Appeal.

The court heard Hawkins was accused of raping the woman after a night of drinking.

He went back to her house and, despite a brush-off, had sex with her against her will.

She told police she told him to leave her alone, because it was “not right”.

However, she said he insisted: “But it’s so right”.

Lawyers for Hawkins said the issue for the jury was the woman’s credibility, whether she was telling the truth or not.

But the defence had been unfairly hampered by the trial judge’s refusal to allow her to be cross-examined about a previous incident.

The alleged incident involved a report she made of a physical assault to police about another man, which Hawkins’ lawyers claimed was false.

It showed she had a tendency to make false complaints and it should have been included in the trial, they argued.

Rejecting the appeal, Lord Justice Irwin said including the evidence of the allegedly false complaint would have turned the case into a “Shakespearean plot”.

It would have led to a “trial within a trial”, with numerous other witnesses being called to give evidence about the previous incident.

“The jury would have been embroiled in a complicated sub-issue which would have, at best, been of limited value as to the main point, the credibility of the complainant,” he said.

The appeal was dismissed and Hawkins’ conviction upheld.