Plymouth MP names man accused of sex offences in Parliament to 'ensure justice is done'
A MAN cleared of child sex abuse has been named by an MP at Westminster who says he was "getting away scot-free".
In a rare step Plymouth man Geoffrey Genge was identified in the House of Commons by Tory Gary Streeter using parliamentary privilege, granting legal protection, in what he said was a bid to "ensure that justice is done".
Mr Genge was found not guilty of the allegations by a court in January.
The South West Devon MP called on the Attorney-General to review the case, involving charges of rape and sexual abuse dating back 50 years, after it was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service, causing distress to the alleged victims.
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In a statement, Mr Genge's legal representative said: "Mr Genge says that these allegations are false. On 9 January 2012 the prosecution offered no evidence in this case and Mr Genge was acquitted of all charges.
"Whilst we are relieved that the CPS took this decision finally, we remain concerned about the matter being pursued that far."
Mr Streeter claimed prosecutors had previously believed there was a realistic prospect of conviction, but they had learned the defendant's solicitor was preparing an "abuse of process" defence, arguing too much time had passed since the alleged offences and so they "would not have a proper chance to put up the evidence they wanted to".
But in the wake of the revelations of abuse by the late Jimmy Savile and subsequent investigations into other historic offences, Mr Streeter said: "If action can be taken in relation to offences by Jimmy Savile who is dead, if others are in the firing line about incidents relating to 30 or 40 years back, why can a prosecution not take place against Mr Genge?
"The CPS must get their act together. Every effort must be taken to ensure that justice is done."
Parliament heard that Margaret Felwick, who waived her legal right to anonymity, had contacted police in February last year to report a serious sex offence allegedly carried out against her 50 years ago.
Mr Streeter said she had not felt able to speak about the incident before, but on discovering two others had allegedly been abused by Mr Genge she "could be silent no longer", and all three went to the police.
Mr Streeter said the police reassured them it was not too late to prosecute as "there was strong evidence to support the case", and Mrs Felwick of Plympton was notified by the CPS in August, 2011, that the prosecution would go ahead.
Mr Streeter added in Parliament: "The CPS believed that there was enough evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction. It believed it to be more likely than not that Mr Genge would be convicted."
Mr Genge was charged with five offences of rape and sexual abuse, between 1957 and 1961, to which he pleaded not guilty.
A trial date of March 26, 2012 was set but on January 10 "out of the blue" they were told the case against him had been dropped.
Mr Streeter said: "So the police believed the victims, and the CPS found them to be credible, but the case was stopped over consideration for Mr Genge. No reference was made to the victims at all."
At the time Mr Genge's solicitor had described the evidence as 'weak', the charges 'odious' and the case "a shocking waste of taxpayers' money". Mr Genge was aged 67 and from Mutley when the case appeared at court.
Mr Streeter added: "Naturally my constituents felt like victims all over again." The MP said the CPS did not challenge the "outspoken and scandalous claims" or make clear the case was not stopped due to lack of evidence.
Mr Streeter branded the CPS's handling of the case as a "disaster".
He told the Commons Mrs Felwick was "a gentle, reasonable and decent human being".
"I have utter faith in Mrs Felwick," he added. " I have absolutely no doubt that Mr Genge abused my constituents when they were children, and he is getting away scot-free. This is not British justice."
Responding to the debate brought by Mr Streeter, Solicitor General Oliver Heald said it was not possible to reopen the case, but would ensure the matters raised were drawn to the attention of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
He said: "In this case the CPS specialist rape prosecutor who was dealing with the case, once he had the benefit of advice from counsel, he considered that a defence application to the court to stop the proceedings would be likely to succeed.
"So the decision was taken reluctantly by the CPS mindful of the distress that it could cause the complainants. But it does not follow from the decision that the complainants were or are not believed. Put simply the decision was taken because in this particular case the passage of time may have undermined the fairness of the proceedings on the individual facts of the case."
Mr Streeter will meet the Chief Crown Prosecutor this week to discuss the case.