Legal Cases


The aim of this page is to set out all important case law relevant to the work of the Centre for Women’s Justice.  This page is under development.  We have posted some examples below and welcome suggestions.

Below are details of key legal cases in England and Wales which have had an impact on the legal response to violence against women.


  • The challenges by ‘RA’RA was a victim of rape who was convicted of perverting the course of justice for falsely retracting a true allegation of rape.  RA was charged and convicted of perverting the course of justice and was sentenced to 8 months’ imprisonment but released after serving two weeks.  Ordering her early release, the Court accepted RA’s husband had raped her after years of domestic violence. It was acknowledged that RA subsequently tried to retract the rape allegation after coming under pressure from her husband, only to change her mind again when the case against her husband was dropped and she was charged with perverting the course of justice. RA won compensation for her ordeal from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (‘CICA’) but her award was reduced by 70% because of the cost of the abandoned rape case and two minor driving convictions; RA is appealing the findings of the CICA. Following her release from prison, RA tried and failed to have her conviction quashed.  RA made a separate and unsuccessful application to the European Court of Human Rights that her conviction and sentence violated her rights under Article 8 of the ECHR.




  • In Dil others -v- Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and AKJ and others v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and another [2013] EWCA Civ 1342;  [2013] WLR (D) 424, concerning eight women who brought claims against the Metropolitan Police Commissioner arising from being deceived in relationships with undercover police officers, which resulted in an unprecedented apology and substantial compensation payments being made.


  • Harriet Wistrich acted for two women detained at Yarl’s Wood in claims against the Home Office and Serco who alleged they were sexually abused by detention centre employees.  As a result of the legal challengesan internal inquiry was conducted into sexual abuse allegations involving a female detainees at Yarl’s Wood.


  • The inquest into the death of Eleanor de Freitas: Eleanor committed suicide on eve of a trial at which she was to be prosecuted for perverting the course of justice. The prosecution arose following a complaint of rape she made to the police that resulted in the arrest of the man she accused; a police investigation resulted in a decision to take No Further Action. The man later commenced a private prosecution that was subsequently taken over by the Crown Prosecution Service, despite initial non-cooperation by the police.    The father of Eleanor was unfortunately unsuccessful in having the first inquest into the death of 23-year-old Eleanor quashed to allow for a new investigation into the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision to prosecute her. Eleanor’s case raised important issues of public interest particularly with regards to the role of the Crown Prosecution and the decision making process that led them to their decision to prosecute Eleanor for the crime of perverting the course of justice.


  • The inquest into the death of Faisa Ahmed:  In 2014 Faisa, vulnerable young woman, with a history of depression and mental illness killed herself shortly after reporting a rape to the Police.  In January 2016, the jury concluded that the authorities, including the Metropolitan police, missed opportunities to help Faisa, contributing to her death.  The Coroner also issued a “Danger of Future Death” report, stating that others in similar vulnerable situations could also be at risk.


  • The inquest into the death of Tracey Shelvey: who killed herself after learning of the acquittal of Patrick Hall after giving evidence at a trial and retrial involving six complainants.  Tracey was a vulnerable adult, known to the local mental health service and Rochdale Borough Council but was failed by both in the wake of the trial. The coroner found a number of significant and gross failures had been made by the services that were meant to support Tracy and other vulnerable adults.



  • The inquest into the death of Cassandra Hasanovic: Cassandra was killed by her partner en route to a women’s refuge.  The verdict at the inquest in 2014 concluded that Cassandra had been unlawfully killed. The jury found that Sussex police and the Crown Prosecution Service both failed to take steps which would have prevented her death. The jury also criticised Kent police for failing to arrest Cassandra’s husband for breaching bail conditions that prevented him from having contact with his wife.


  • The inquest into the death of Maria Stubbings.  Maria was murdered by her ex-partner, a convicted murderer, in 2008.  At an inquest in 2014 the jury gave a verdict of unlawful killing and said the police were guilty of a catalogue of errors.


  • The inquest into the death of Colette Lynch.  Colette was killed her ex-partner, Percy Wright, in 2005.  Despite a number of violent incidents involving Mr. Wright and continuing threats to Colette, the Police took no action.  In 2009 a verdict of unlawful killing was recorded; criticisms were made of the role of Social Services and the Police.



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