‘Miss Cambridge’ accused of Mr Harris of rubbing her bottom when she was a teenage waitress at a charity event in Cambridge in the 1970s. Detective Sergeant Pankhurst told the court that the complainant had not been entirely sure of the date, but ‘1975 was clearly she felt the most certain.’
Following the emergence of film showing Mr Harris in Cambridge in 1978 the allegation was changed in all material respects part way through the trial: the date, the programme, the age of the complainant and the place where the alleged assault was alleged to have taken place. The witness was not re-examined.
At no point during the trial did the prosecution actually demonstrate that the witness was at either the original or the later event.
There was no evidence for the Cambridge charge. There was a video showing that he was at Star Games in 1978, but there is no evidence that she was, and she had specified that the alleged assault had happened at It’s a Knockout – in a different location – in 1975;
There is no evidence about who she worked for. There is no evidence about how she got the job. There were no other witnesses to either the alleged assault or to the fact of her waitressing at the event;
The witness was not called back into court to account for her whereabouts in 1978. She was not asked how it was that she came to make such a big mistake about how old she was;
It’s one thing to be out on your dates by weeks or months, or even a year, but it’s quite another to not know whether you were 13/ 14 or 16. Most people would say that because of the things that are taking place in your life at those ages (such as exams and changes in education arrangements, employability etc) it doesn’t seem honestly plausible to make such a large mistake about when something which was so apparently momentous took place.