16-year-old who rapes a girl with his father, suffers no Human Rights breach
Belfast-A youth arrested with his father over allegations they both raped a schoolgirl suffered no human rights breach in being released on conditions, the High Court ruled today.
The 16-year-old was seeking a declaration that it was unlawful to impose stipulations on pre-charge police bail without automatic and prompt production before a judge.
But Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan held there was no requirement for an automatic review of conditions imposed on someone who is not detained.
The teenager, referred to as HA, and his father were arrested in January over an allegation that each of them raped a 14-year-old girl at the family home in Northern Ireland.
It was also claimed that the father recorded the sex attack allegedly carried out by his son.
According to the complainant HA’s mother and grandmother were downstairs drinking when the incident happened around Halloween last year.
She further alleged that both the father and son had subjected her to other sexual assaults. The father used the existence of the camera recording of the rape to blackmail her into returning to his address so he could continue to inappropriately touch her, she claimed.
During police interviews HA admitted having sex with the girl on a number of occasions, but stated that it had always been consensual.
Both he and his father deny any allegations of rape or recording sex acts. Following questioning police concluded there was insufficient evidence at that stage to charge either of them.
Further investigation of mobile phones, computers and other recording devices seized from their home are to be carried out before a final decision is taken on whether to bring charges.
Both father and son were released on police bail until March on conditions including no contact with the complainant or any witness, and no unsupervised contact with anyone under 16 unless approved by Social Services.
In a court statement HA’s mother said she was advised the conditions meant he would not be able to attend school for six weeks.
When it was pointed out that he attended an all-boys’ school the investigating officer allegedly replied: “How do we know he is gender specific?”
Lawyers for HA argued that this demonstrated a mindset contrary to the presumption of innocence.
According to Sir Declan, who heard the judicial review challenge with Lord Justices Coghlin and Gillen, the issue in the case is whether someone released without charge on conditions which restrict movement must be brought automatically and promptly before a court.
He ruled that the requirement does not apply where there is no continuing deprivation of liberty.
The human rights obligation on the state is to ensure an automatic and prompt review of the lawfulness of the continued detention of a person held in custody and the existence of reasonable suspicion, the judge said.
Dismissing HA’s application, Sir Declan held: “That obligation does not arise in the case of someone who is not detained.
“We further consider that there is no requirement for an automatic review of bail conditions imposed on a person who has been released, although these should be dealt with promptly.”