The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that their investigation into rape allegations made against a former Tory Minister had concluded with no charges being brought.
The MP in question, Mark Francois, has been informed of this decision as has the victim.
The Met said that the evidentiary threshold for prosecution had not been met.
On August 1st, news broke that a former Tory Minister and sitting MP in his fifties had been arrested on suspicion of rape. He was subsequently taken to an East London Police Station for questioning before being released on Police bail.
Following Mr Francois’ arrest, the Met Police stated that on July 31st they had received allegations of sexual offences and assault relating to four separate incidents at addresses in London, between July 2019 and January 2020.
Following his release, Tory Chief Whip Mark Spencer stated that the MP would not be suspended, but had volunteered not to attend the Houses of Parliament until the conclusion of the investigation.
In December the Metropolitan Police stated that:
“Following a thorough investigation, and based on all evidence made available to officers, the decision was taken that the case did not meet the evidential test and no further action will be taken.”
Asked if the decision not to prosecute was taken by them or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) a Met Spokesperson replied: “We are not adding to our statement at this time.”
Despite the decision not to prosecute, the alleged victim told the Sunday Times that they intended to appeal against the decision under the Victims’ Right to Review Scheme.
Over the past five years in England and Wales, cases reported to police and initially recorded as rape have risen sharply to 59,747. However, the proportion making it to court in that period has more than halved.
In the year to the end of March 2020, the number of prosecutions in England (which includes those that end in an acquittal) fell to 2,102, compared with 3,043 in the previous 12 months.
In November 2019, it was revealed the CPS had previously had a secret conviction rate target, introduced in 2016 – that 60% of rape cases should end in a conviction. It was suggested this may have caused prosecutors to drop weaker or more challenging cases.
In Scotland, there was a 43% increase in convictions for rape and attempted rape between 2017-18 and 2018-19.
If you’ve been a victim of a crime, including a sexual offence, you can contact Victim Support (24/7). They’ll give you information and support in confidence over the phone and direct you to their nearest office. Call them for free on 08 08 16 89 111.
Source: Black Isle Journalism, a Scottish independent news organisation.
Click here for a secure way to sign up, you will be supporting independent news. Click the button below.
Disagree with this article? why not write in and you can have your say? email us