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Rape Trial Collapses After Old Tweets Found
A rape trial has collapsed after messages sent by the alleged victim on Twitter cast doubt on her version of events.
Nine men accused of a string of sexual offences involving the teenage girl walked free from court after the discovery of an old Twitter account.
The defendants had been charged with 28 offences, including several rapes, but the prosecution said at the Old Bailey that there would be no evidence presented against them.
The defendants were Desmond Agyei, 23, Edward Kofi Edunya, 23, Perry Murray, 24, David Sarpong, 23, Adedeji Atitebi, 21, Austin Odisi, 24, Justin Maynard, 23, Olanrewaju Sonde, 24 and Thamsanqa Sibanda, 30.
Prosecutor Samantha Cohen told the court that an old Twitter account used by the complainant, who was 14 at the time of the alleged offences, had emerged "through a side-wind".
"A review of the Twitter material has been conducted at the highest level at the Crown Prosecution Service and the police in conjunction with trial counsel," she said.
"The unanimous conclusion is that there is no realistic prospect of conviction in respect of any defendant on any of the counts. For that reason the Crown is offering no evidence across the board in this case."
The alleged victim, now 15, made a statement to the police in November last year detailing sex attacks, mostly rapes, stretching back to May 2012.
Judge John Bevan, QC, said: "It's unfortunate this happened so late, it's unfortunate some defendants have been in custody.
"But these are very serious matters that have to be gone into and matters have to be reviewed consistently."
There were sighs of relief from the dock and loud applause from the public gallery as the men were told they were discharged.
One of the men found not guilty, Mr Sonde said as he left the courtroom: "It's just a relief that this is finally over."