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February 19, 2003


From: Exeter Express, UK - 19 Feb 2003

A deaf teenager has been acquitted of raping a girl at their Exeter school after a judge said the evidence against him was insufficient.

Gavin Griffiths denied raping the student after climbing through the window of her bedroom in the residential section of the Royal West of England Residential School for the Deaf.

The case was thrown out at Exeter Crown Court yesterday on grounds of insufficient evidence on the issue of consent.

The prosecution offered no further evidence against Griffiths, 19, of Ystalyfera, Swansea, and Judge Graham Cottle directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict.

The girl, who has since left the school, said she told Griffiths to stop when he tried to have sex with her after climbing through her bedroom window at 2.30am.

But he continued, and after sex he left and went back to his own room.

Griffiths, in police interview, admitted going into the girl's room through her window, but said he had arranged to do that with her.

When asked if the girl consented, he said she had not said yes or no and that there was no agreement.

He said that beforehand the two had been watching television and "snogging".

She hugged him rather than pushed him away, he told police, and the following day she sent him a text message asking him if he enjoyed it.

Prosecutor William Hart said no jury could "successfully say whether it was rape".

Judge Cottle said the prosecution's view was "wholly correct".

The mother of the girl, who had been in court yesterday to hear the opening of the trial, was consulted before the decision was taken.

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