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Jailed Man Man Freed After Rape Conviction Overturned

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Christchurch, Oct 28 NZPA - A man who spent seven months in jail for rape has walked free, after the Court of Appeal overturned the conviction.

Kevin Patrick Leahy was jailed for five years after being convicted by a Christchurch District Court jury in February.

The Court of Appeal overturned the conviction in August but suppressed its decision pending another trial, the Christchurch Court News website reported.

But the Crown has now decided not to proceed, saying it did not want to put the alleged victim through another trial.

Leahy was given a Section 347 discharge and walked free on Friday.

Defence counsel Mark Callaghan said 48-year-old Leahy had now returned to his family and to driving work in the building industry.

His family had supported him all through the trial process and the jail term.

Trial judge David Saunders expressed his own "considerable unease" over the verdict at the end of the trial.

"The jury rejected what you said, but while I found this surprising I must respect their verdict," he told Leahy at the sentencing on February 14.

"Despite any considerable unease I have as a trial judge, I am bound to go with the jury and sentence today."

The woman had told the court she had blacked out after drinking beer and whisky, and although she had been still functioning she had no memory of the episode.

She had consumed the drinks voluntarily -- Leahy had not plied her with alcohol.

Judge Saunders said: "She was still functioning even though she can't remember. He thought he had the green light, but it could have been an orange light -- or even a red one."

A five-year jail term was imposed at the sentencing. Leahy was released from prison after the Court of Appeal's judgment in August.

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