A 35 year old Mitcheldean man accused of rape has stood trial twice this year and still does not know his fate – because both juries have been unable to agree on verdicts.
Aaron Thomas’ first trial in January this year ended with the jury at Gloucester Crown Court being discharged because they were split.
Last week a retrial has taken place with a new jury at Cirencester Courthouse - and they, too, have been unable to reach even a majority verdict.
The judge, Recorder Adam Vaitilingam KC, discharged them and ordered the prosecution to make a decision by tomorrow (Thursday) on whether they will seek a third trial or offer no evidence against Mr Thomas.
He said, however, that it would be ‘exceptionally rare’ for the Crown Prosecution Service to pursue the case to a third trial after having had two ‘hung’ juries.
The case was brought against Mr Thomas after a 28 year old woman alleged that while she was having intercourse with him – with her full consent – on 10 February 2021 when he suddenly withdrew and committed an act without her permission.
Mr Thomas of Eastern Avenue, Mitcheldean, denied raping the woman and maintained that the act was accidental and not deliberate.
After the woman protested and pushed him off her he went downstairs in her home and then texted her saying ‘I’m sorry,’ the jury was told
The woman replied “You knew exactly what you were doing then.’
The woman added “I didn’t consent to it at all. I told you no. ”
“Mr Thomas does not contend that she consented and nor does he argue that he reasonably believed she was consenting.
“His defence is that it did happen but it was accidental,” said prosecutor Anjali Gohil.
After the second jury’s failure today to agree on a verdict, even by a majority of 10-2 or 11-1, the judge told them “It’s a funny thing but sometimes juries feel they have failed if they don’t get a verdict.
“Please don’t think that - it is not in any way a failure. It is a product of the way our system works.
“You have to act according to your oath to try the case and I am very grateful for the time you have spent considering this case.
“It was not at all straightforward.
“If it were not for people like you giving up their time for these cases we judges would have to make these decisions and I would hate to have to do that.
“I genuinely think judges get it wrong more often than juries do!”
After discharging the jury said to the prosecutor “I assume the Crown are not going to go to trial again?”
Ms Gohil replied “I am not sure. It would be very rare to go again.”
The judge agreed “It would be exceptionally rare.”
Ms Gohil said she had no instructions at that stage to offer no further evidence and drop the case.
“The officer in the case and myself are of the same mind about it, but others will have to make the decision,” she added.
Recorder Vaitilingam said “The defendant should know the answer sooner rather than later.”
He told Ms Gohil that the CPS must make a decision by 4pm on Thursday, November 16, so that Mr Davies knew the situation within the week.