Attempt to secure annonymity for rape accused in civil case is refused

An attempt to grant a man acquitted of rape anonymity in a civil case brought by his alleged victim has been rejected.

Stephen Coxen, from Bury in Lancashire, is being sued for £100,000 in damages by a woman he was alleged to have raped in St Andrews in 2013.

Coxen, 23, denied the charges and in 2015 the case was found not proven, which in Scots law is an acquittal.

Now, his alleged victim has launched a civil action which is being heard at the Personal Injury Court in Edinburgh.

On Tuesday, Coxen’s lawyers argued he should be granted anonymity, but this was refused by Sheriff Kenneth McGowan due to the publicity from his previous High Court trial.

Sheriff McGowan said: “It seems unlikely that the granting of such an order would have any practical effect.

“This hearing should proceed without anonymity.”

Coxen’s lawyers also tried to have the case moved to the Court of Session, saying there was a “public interest” in doing so.

This motion was refused by Sheriff McGowan over fears it would delay proceedings.

He said: “The focus in this case is going to be on very many tricky questions, very delicate questions in the evidence.

“It does not appear to me that the kind of difficulty in this case would justify or merit a remit to the Court of Session.

“The case is an important one, particularly for the parties, but importance doesn’t cut both ways.

“It’s part of justice that it be dealt with sooner rather than later.

“The sooner this matter is dealt with the better.”

The trial is due to begin in June, however Coxen’s lawyer is first trying to get the court access to an audio copy of evidence given by the alleged victim, who cannot be named, in the previous High Court case.

An application on this matter is now being made to the Advocate General and the case before Sheriff McGowan will continue on Thursday.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) David Cheskin / PA Wire.