A jury has found a Brighton and Hove police community support officer not guilty of rape and sexual assault after a week-long trial at Lewes Crown Court.
Jamal Robinson, 29, known as Bertie to his family and friends, was previously tried in June but the jury on that occasion was unable to reach a verdict.
Robinson was charged after a Christmas night out in Brighton with his friend and fellow police community support officer (PCSO) Larry Oduol in December 2019. Both have since left Sussex Police.
The jury acquitted Robinson at lunchtime today (Friday 16 September) after less than three hours.
He went on trial on Monday (12 September) at Lewes when Edward Hand, prosecuting, told the jury that Robinson raped and sexually assaulted the girl as she pretended to sleep. He denied both charges.
Robinson, of Ventnor Villas, Hove, had taken the girl, who was 19, back to his parents’ home in Brighton Road, Worthing.
The two PCSOs had been drinking before going to a police Christmas party at the Queen’s Hotel on Brighton seafront on Friday 13 December 2019.
They met the complainant, whose name cannot be reported for legal reasons, with one of her friends in Revolution, a bar in West Street, Brighton.
They went clubbing in Shooshh, on Brighton seafront, and on to Buddies diner, now known as Monarch, also in King’s Road.
Mr Hand said that, once back at the flat, Robinson and the complainant had consensual sex.
The jury heard that the complainant told police that she had only reluctantly consented to having sex, adding: “In law, reluctant consent is still consent.
“She told police that, after she visited the bathroom, she had told the defendant she did not want sex and pretended to be asleep.”
But, Mr Hand told the jury at Lewes Crown Court, the defendant continued to have sex with her against her will.
Siobhan Grey, defending said that both the defendant and the complainant had been in relationships with other people at the time.
They had been getting on well until something changed after they had had sex, she said.
The complainant had spotted women’s “sanitary products” in the bathroom, the jury was told, and then, in a video interview, she said: “He was like basically telling me that he might have a girlfriend.”
Miss Grey told the jury that the complainant had made allegations against two men previously, in her early teens, but the police took no further action at that time.
But she said: “This is a weak case. (The complainant) has lied repeatedly. She feels used, let down and embarrassed.”
She acknowledged that the pair had had sex and they had made plans to go out the next day but he had let her down.
Judge Christine Laing, the honorary recorder of Brighton and Hove, reminded the jury that they had to be sure that Robinson had broken the law. It was not a court of morals.
The jury of five men and six women went out this morning and less than three hours later returned their not guilty verdict.