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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bodybuilder 'who beat girlfriend black and blue' walks free from court when she fails to give evidence (because blundering CPS told her wrong time to appear)


'Black and blue': Harriet Atkinson was allegedly assaulted by her bodybuilder boyfriend Lewis Rookyard but due to a mix up in timings by the CPS the case was thrown out

A young woman whose boyfriend allegedly beat her 'black and blue' says she has been denied justice after he walked free from court because of a Crown Prosecution Service blunder.
Harriet Atkinson, 22, was wrongly told to attend court in the afternoon for the trial of fitness trainer Lewis Rookyard who denied a charge of assault by beating.
But unknown to her, the trial where she was due to give evidence against her former lover had been fixed to start in the morning at South East Suffolk magistrates court in Ipswich.

Bruises: Miss Atkinson took photos of her body after she claims she was attacked by her boyfriend

Officials realised she had been given the wrong time when she did not appear at 10am and a police car was sent to pick her up.
The prosecutor applied for the case to be postponed for 30 minutes, pointing out that Miss Atkinson was on her way and was in no way to blame.
But magistrates rejected the application and dismissed the case due to her non-attendance.

Couple: Harriet Atkinson with bodybuilder boyfriend Lewis Rookyard in happier times

Miss Atkinson, who works in the fashion industry, said: 'It was the fault of the CPS that I was given the wrong time for the trial to start - but it was just a case of human error which I can understand.
'What I am really angry about is that the magistrates threw the case out even when they were told that I was not at fault for being given the wrong time and I was on my way.

No comment: Bodybuilder Lewis Rookyard was approached for a comment after the case collapsed but he refused

'My ex-boyfriend should have stood trial so that the magistrates could have decided whether he was guilty or not after hearing all the evidence.
'The authorities are constantly saying that they take domestic violence seriously and I knew that I had to do the right thing by going to the police.
'I had all the trauma of waiting eight months to get justice while I was constantly going over it all in my head, and it was all for nothing.'
Magistrates decided there might not be enough time to complete the trial on the day if they waited for her and it would be unfair on Rookyard, 22, to wait for a new date.

Claims: Rookyard allegedly attacked his girlfriend on new year's eve in Ipswich

The CPS has apologised for the error and is considering seeking a Judicial Review to try and get the High Court to rule that the magistrates acted incorrectly.
The unusual move could set a new legal precedent for future cases if it goes ahead, although the magistrates' decision in Miss Atkinson's case cannot be overturned.
Miss Atkinson claimed she was attacked and pinned to the floor by Rookyard after they argued early on New Year's Day at his family home in Ipswich.

source: dailymail

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