Page last updated at 16:27 GMT, Monday, 6 October 2008 17:27 UK

Rape investigation 'unacceptable'

Bishop Street courthouse

A senior judge has said the standard of a police investigation into a rape allegation was "unacceptable".

On Monday, a jury at Londonderry Crown Court found Gary Paul Hamilton, of Rossnagalliagh Park, not guilty of raping a woman in 2007.

The judge said there was no personal or professional criticism of the junior officer who led the inquiry, but she was too inexperienced for such a case.

He said the jury had reached the proper verdict, based on evidence presented.

Judge Desmond Marrinan said the officer was assigned the case simply because she was on duty at the time of the allegation in January last year.

"Serious criminal allegations should only be investigated by experienced officers and in this case it was unacceptable to the court to have a rape allegation investigated by a junior officer halfway though her training," he said.

In a statement, the police said a full investigation into the allegation had been carried out and a file submitted to the Public Prosecution Service.

"We will now examine the comments of the court and consider any appropriate action," it added.

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