Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Wednesday, 15 July 2009 15:49 UK

Man appeals to sue rape accuser

A man cleared of rape after serving two years in jail has renewed a bid for £300,000 in damages from his accuser.

Tony Hunt, 66, from Dorset, was jailed for four years in 2003 but had his conviction quashed on appeal in 2005.

Mr Hunt, who says sex was consensual, had his civil action blocked by the High Court last year when a judge ruled the woman was not his prosecutor.

But the case, thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, is being heard by three civil appeal judges.

Majority verdict

His lawyer told the judges on Wednesday that his client wanted to "vindicate his reputation" by obtaining a judgment against the woman, referred to only as AB.

Mark Warby QC said: "It is 14 years ago to the day that my client had sex with the defendant with her consent at her home at the age of 52.

"It was nearly seven years afterwards that he was arrested and learned of her allegation of rape.

"He was prosecuted and, on a majority verdict, convicted, but his conviction was held unsafe by the Court of Appeal Criminal Division and was quashed."

Mr Warby said no retrial was ordered because Mr Hunt, a former senior traffic warden, of Blandford St Mary, Dorset, had already served two years of his four-year prison sentence.

Two-day hearing

But his civil action was blocked in October by a High Court judge who held that his accuser, a former special constable, was not technically his "prosecutor" because the case against him was brought by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Mr Hunt had argued that, by giving a witness statement to Hampshire constabulary in May 2002, and by agreeing to give evidence against him, AB became the prosecutor.

The case is regarded as potentially significant, not only for acquitted defendants like Mr Hunt, but also for women in the same position as AB, who might be discouraged from coming forward to make complaints.

The hearing, set for two days, continues.



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SEE ALSO
Jailed man in bid to sue accuser
27 Oct 08 |  Dorset
Jailed man cleared of rape charge
07 Dec 05 |  Dorset

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