Welsh woman jailed for eight months for retracting rape allegations

November 8th, 2010 - 2:45 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Nov 08 (ANI): A Welsh woman has been jailed for eight months after she retracted allegations that she had been raped six times by her husband.

The woman, 28, who made a 999 call to police in November last year, later told them in January she wanted to drop the charges, even though she claimed the allegations of rape were completely true.

Then in February the woman, from Welshpool in Powys, Wales, said she had in fact lied about the rape claims and they were untrue, but in July she changed her mind again, saying the rapes had actually happened.

Following her retraction, she was convicted of perverting the course of justice and told to serve an eight-month sentence.

The move has led to rape charities and women’s groups calling for the woman to be freed immediately.

“Imprisoning a woman for a ‘false retraction’ of a rape allegation sends out a chilling message that the criminal justice system is still in the dark ages in relation to sexual violence and does not understand the pressure women come under from perpetrators during the legal process,” the Daily Mail quoted Holly Dustin, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, as saying.

She added that the move could make victims less likely to report rape to police if they felt they could themselves be dragged before the courts and face jail sentences if they did not proceed with the allegations.

“I find it astonishing that in this day and age this woman was hauled before the courts. She is the victim of repeated rapes but she is the one behind bars. It simply does not make sense,” Edina Williams, who helps victims of rape, said.

“Many women are victims of domestic rape and, as well as being a terrifying time for them, it is often confusing.

“Instead of punishing women by throwing them in jail, victims should be given specialist support, counselling and assistance from agencies including the police,” she added.

Her solicitor said she had been persuaded by her husband and his family to drop the charges because he could face a long jail sentence if convicted of rape while she would get only a few months.

Judge John Rogers, QC, said the woman had changed her position again after being told she would be prosecuted for a false allegation of rape, which could have carried a longer sentence of up to two years. (ANI)

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