Times caption: Sean Diamond was cleared of raping the woman in her flat while she slept
A piece by Marc Horne in today’s Times:
A soldier who was cleared of rape has been ordered to pay his alleged victim more than £100,000 after a landmark civil case.
It is the first time in almost a century that a woman has been awarded damages in a civil action in Scotland after an unsuccessful rape prosecution.
Sean Diamond, 24, who served with the Queen’s Dragoon Guards, was accused of raping a woman in a Dundee flat while she slept but a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh found the case not proven.
The woman, who cannot be named, subsequently launched a civil action which was granted by a sheriff at Dundee sheriff court, who issued a decree for damages of £100,000 plus interest.
The woman said: “I feel I’ve finally got justice.” She chose not to hide her face behind a screen while giving evidence during the trial last October. “I felt I had nothing to hide from,” she said. “I had done everything I could and I wanted to show I was strong and face Diamond in the dock.
“I told the truth and I was belittled by his counsel but this result has been a massive relief. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted.”
The prosecution claimed that Diamond had continued the rape after the women had woken up by holding her down, pushing her head on to a sofa and making her unconscious.
Diamond denied carrying out the attack on July 15, 2015, when he was a serving soldier based at Leuchars, Fife.
The woman said she was devastated when told of the not proven verdict by telephone following the four-day trial. “I felt so let down by the system. I know the police had done everything they could, they were so supportive,” she said. “I didn’t believe that he should have been able to get up and walk free and live a normal life. I found that heartbreaking.”
She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and attempted to take her own life in March 2016. “My life was ruined. I was a broken person. I felt like a prisoner inside my own head,” she said.
“Without the support of my family and friends, I don’t think I would have come out the other side. I will never be the person I was. I’m a lot better now but it has changed me completely as a person.”
She filed the civil action in June and the sheriff ordered Diamond to pay the damages last month, without hearing evidence, [J4MB emphasis] after the soldier declined to defend the claim. [J4MB: Why should he have had to defend the claim? He’d already been on trial.]
“This was never about money,” the woman said. “It was always about justice.”
Last year a woman won a civil case for damages against the footballers David Goodwillie and David Robertson. Denise Clair waived her right to anonymity and took the action after the Crown had decided against prosecuting the pair for rape, meaning there was no criminal trial.
A former St Andrews University student is also suing a man cleared of raping her after a High Court trial two years ago. Stephen Coxen, 23, from Bury, Lancashire, had been charged with raping the student, who cannot be named, at her flat in 2013 but a jury found the case against him not proven in November 2015. The alleged victim is seeking almost £100,000 in damages and for financial losses in her action. Mr Coxen is defending the case. [J4MB emphasis]
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