A 19-year-old man walked free from a Manchester, England, courthouse on Monday after the court was told no evidence would be presented against him.
This resulted in a not guilty finding against the young man, Zachary Benn, who had been held in prison for six months after being charged with “rape, sexual assault, blackmail, robbery, and possession of a bladed article,” the Manchester Evening News reported.
Benn was accused by a fellow teenager — who has not been named in media reports even though he has – who claimed he raped her in a field.
“The court heard how the complainant had admitted to telling untruths and further enquiries by the police and fire service had uncovered more untruths,” the Evening News reported.
Because of the “untruths,” it was determined that there would be no chance of convicting Benn.
Benn had been attending college and working toward a degree in geography when he was falsely accused. He had no previous convictions, yet was held in prison for six months before the prosecution admitted it would not provide evidence against him.
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Recorder Abigail Hudson said: “It is extremely regrettable that on the date of trial all these difficulties have come to the fore after a lot of public money has been spent.
“It is extremely regrettable that he (Mr Benn) should have been incarcerated for no good reason.”
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Solicitor Caitriona McLaughlin of Stokoe Partnership Solicitors said she wished anonymity was granted for the defendant as well as the complainant.
She said: “He has had his life turned upside down and back to front but google his name and this will come up and it will be up there forever.
“He is a young man and it is just awful.”
Benn told the Evening News of the toll the accusation had on him.
“I was taken from my house and put in prison,” he said. “I was cut off from everyone from school and university and did not have a support group. I lost my degree, something I have wanted since I was 10-years-old and I spent Christmas in prison. I was not with my family and I couldn’t talk to them. I was close to taking my own life.”
“It does not feel real to me and I don’t have closure. My life will not be the same again,” he added. “When I leave here I will not get my life back.”
Even though his accuser lied to police, it is unlikely she will be charged with any crimes, due to the way false allegations of rape are handled and because activists and authorities could likely claim that even though she lied numerous times, she may still have been raped.
Even with the way the case ended, there are many who will never believe Benn is innocent, simply because he was accused.