Durham Law academic claims Liam Allan rape allegations were not ‘false’

She says that the case was dropped due to police errors


A Durham Law academic has come under fire for claiming allegations against Liam Allan were not necessarily false.

Hannah Bows, a criminal law assistant professor at Durham University and local magistrate, sparked a furious debate on Twitter after tweeting the BBC Breakfast Breakfast to say Allan's case had been dropped due to police errors, and that there was "no evidence" suggestion the allegation was false.

The Criminology student's trial fell apart in February last year after texts from his ex-girlfriend were discovered, one of which said: "It wasn't against my will or anything."

The Durham academic attracted comments from Liam Allan himself, who said: "The case was dropped due to the text messages disproving the accusation entirely.

"The fact it was dropped so late was because of the police errors."

Bows quickly responded, saying the evidence was unsatisfactory. She added: "Evidence casting doubt is not the same as conclusive proof that an allegation was false.

"I hope that helps with your understanding."

Others on Twitter, including lawyers and solicitors, have been quick to disagree with Bows's comments.

Jerry Hayes, the prosecution barrister for the original trial, said he offered no evidence because "the withheld evidence showed that the allegations were false."

Criminal solicitor, Nicholas Diable said: "It is an established fact that the case was dropped because messages were found in which the complaint made clear the sex was consensual."

Barrister David Hughes claimed Bows's comments were defamatory and could cause grounds to sue for libel.

Bows eventually suggested that a rape allegation should not be described as false unless the claimant has actually been charged or convicted of making false allegations.

She said: "My point still stands – she has not been found guilty of making a false allegation. There is no conclusive evidence she made a false allegation.

"I am been told (sic) I am implying the defendant in this case is guilty. Actually, I am stating the victim should not be described as/implied to be a liar/making false allegations when this has not been proven."

Liam Allan has appeared in national news again this week, after police revealed plans to ask all rape accusers to hand their phones over for police examination.

The proposal has been introduced after a number of rape cases, including Allan's, fell apart because of last-minute evidence, but has been condemned by campaigners who say it will act as a "deterrent" for victims.