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Woman jailed for retracting a rape allegation has been freed by the Court of Appeal

A woman who was jailed for falsely retracting rape charges against her husband was today freed by the Court of Appeal.

The 28-year-old who is from Powys and cannot be named for legal reasons had been sentenced to eight months at Mold Crown Court after admitting a charge of perverting the course of justice.

She will instead serve a community sentence with a two-year supervision order.

Her custodial sentence was overturned by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, sitting in London with Mr Justice Calvert-Smith and Mr Justice Griffith Williams.

They ruled that the “appropriate” sentence in what was described by her barrister as an “exceptional” case, was a community sentence with a two-year supervision order.

Announcing the decision, Lord Judge said: “This means that the appellant will now be entitled to be immediately released.”

The case had caused outrage among a number of rape charities who said the custodial sentence imposed on the woman could put many people off reporting incidents of rape to the police.

Lord Judge said the woman’s sentence when she appeared at Mold Crown Court “had to be assessed on the basis that she had perverted the course of justice by falsely retracting a truthful allegation that her husband had indeed raped her”.

He added: “On her account – and we emphasise that we have not heard his – she was subjected to violent abuse and became very fearful of him.”

Last year the woman’s husband was charged with rape, after she made an allegation to police against him, to which he pleaded not guilty. She later retracted her statement saying the allegations were false.

The prosecution offered no evidence against him when he appeared in court and not guilty verdicts were entered.

She was then charged with perverting the course of justice initially on the basis of making a false complaint but she later asserted that it was the retraction, rather than the allegation of rape, which was false.

Lord Judge said that when the woman was questioned she described feeling under pressure and an “immense sense of guilt” and told of being in “an emotional and confused state”.

He said that perverting the course of justice included the retraction of truthful allegations or evidence.

Overturning the custodial sentence today Lord Judge said that  sentencing judges need to exercise a “broad measure of compassion” in such cases:

“This is an extreme case and we hope that it will be very exceptional for cases of this kind to be prosecuted to conviction in the Crown Court.”

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