In January 2011, AR was acquitted of rape by the Crown Court. He was a married man with children, of previous good character, and a qualified teacher, but was working at the time as a taxi driver. It was alleged that he had raped a woman who was a passenger in a taxi driven by him. His defence was that there had never been sexual contact with the victim. Following his acquittal, he applied for a DBS in the course of an application for a job as a lecturer.
The certificate issued by the DBS included the following information about the rape charge and acquittal, as supplied by the Chief Constable of Manchester Police:
”On 4/11/09 police were informed of an allegation of rape. A 17-year-old female alleged that whilst she had been intoxicated and travelling in a taxi, the driver had conveyed her to a secluded location where he forcibly had sex with her without her consent.
AR was identified as the driver and was arrested. Upon interview he stated that the female had been a passenger in his taxi, but denied having sex with her, claiming that she had made sexual advances towards him which he had rejected. Following consideration by the Crown Prosecution Service, he was charged with rape of female aged 16 years or over, and appeared before Bolton Crown Court on 21/01/11 where he was found not guilty and the case was discharged.”
AR objected to this disclosure on the basis that there had been no actual conviction and it failed to give a full account of the evidence given and how the jury came to its conclusion. AR unsuccessfully appealed under the police complaints procedure. Acquittal was not proof of innocence, it merely confirmed that guilt had not been proved beyond reasonable doubt.
AR subsequently applied for another DBS, this time with a view to working as a private hire driver. It contained the same information as the first certificate. AR’s appeal under the relevant internal procedures was rejected.
AR applied for judicial review.
AR argued that the Chief Constable had treated him as if he were guilty of the crime, in breach of his right to the presumption of innocence.
The judge and the Court of Appeal dismissed AR’s appeal against the disclosure, holding that it was reasonable, proportionate and no more than necessary to secure the objective of protecting young and vulnerable persons. The judge held that it was not a breach of Article 6(2) for the police to imply that, notwithstanding an acquittal, a person might have committed the act complained of. There was nothing in the certificate to suggest that AR did in fact commit the crime or that he should have been found guilty.