A man has lodged an appeal against his conviction for anally raping his 15 year old ex-girlfriend. His appeal was submitted on the basis that the jury would have been confused by statements made by the prosecution. 

Counsel for the appellant argued that the jury were wrongly directed in relation to evidence led by the prosecution. The complainer in the case had sent social media messages to the new girlfriend of the appellant over social media. It was accepted that the messages could corroborate that penetration had occurred but it was the argument for the appellant that they could not corroborate any other aspects of the complainers account. 

Evidence was led by the complainer to the effect that she had entered into a relationship with the appellant in May 2017. It was confirmed that they did enter a consensual sexual relationship but that the complainer made it clear that she did not consent to anal sex at any point. Despite this, the court heard that the appellant forcibly had anal sex with the complainer in January 2018 against her will. At this time, both parties were 15 years old. 

The appellant and the complainer ended their relationship in 2019. At this point, the appellant commenced a relationship with another individual. The complainer contacted this new girlfriend to warn her about the appellant. The appellant had told his new girlfriend that it was consensual. 

The jury were directed that the content of the messages suggested that the appellant had told his new girlfriend that the incident had occurred, albeit from his perspective it was consensual, It was submitted that this may have confused the jury about the status of the messages as corroboration and thus resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

Lady Dorrian, delivering the opinion of the court, stated that “The Advocate Depute could certainly have been clearer in explaining his purpose in addressing this evidence. However the reference to an admission of ‘these things’ was read in context, clearly a reference to the appellant’s admission of anal penetration. The jury would not have understood the Advocate Depute to have been suggesting that the texts could be construed as an admission to rape.”

“We are satisfied that the Advocate Depute did not suggest that the messages could be treated as an admission by the appellant of lack of consent, or that the jury might have been misled into thinking that they were such an admission. KP’s evidence was that the appellant had at no stage admitted non-consensual penetration; that evidence was unchallenged. It is impossible to see that the jury might have taken a different inference from the messages, standing that evidence.”

The appeal was accordingly refused.