Tania Griffiths QC succeeds with no case to answer submission in surgeon rape trial

January 24, 2020

A surgeon accused of “deliberately deceiving” a woman into having sex without a condom was cleared of rape this week, after defence silk Tania Griffiths QC from Exchange Chambers successfully argued that there was no case to answer.

Matthew Sewell wept as a judge told jurors to find him not guilty after “a number of serious concerning issues” in the case came to light.

Tania Griffiths QC said the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had admitted embellishing her account to police and having lied in her statement.

In granting the submission of “no case to answer”, Judge Stephen Ashurst said that the handing to police of photographs of bruising was “of particular concern” and “cannot have been for any other reason than to embellish her account and get the police onside.” There was no complaint to the police in interview that Mr Sewell had caused it and the woman was forced to concede that there was another ongoing sexual relationship at the same time where the nature of that relationship might well have explained the bruise.

It also emerged that the woman had admitted that she  lied in her account of the first time she slept with Mr Sewell as to which the judge said that, “her account of the events of that night was also wholly undermined by her own  evidence” which was something he was entitled to take into account in considering whether a reasonable jury could rely upon her evidence.

The woman, who has since qualified as a doctor, had claimed that Mr Sewell, from south-west London, pretended to put on a condom before they had sex. But she said she later discovered “no attempt had been made” by him to use the contraceptive.

Judge Stephen Ashurst said: “I have come to the conclusion, having analysed in some detail, I was satisfied that there was no evidence to prove either charge.

“Secondly, even if there were evidence, the sheer implausibility and weaknesses were such that no reasonable tribunal could safely convict.

“The decision has been made after some careful consideration in such a troubling case.”