Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Woman who cried wolf about rape may have to face her victim in court

Natasha Foster admitted she had lied about rape
Natasha Foster admitted she had lied about rape

A man falsely accused of rape could be called to give evidence against his accuser in court before she is sentenced for her myriad of lies.

Natasha Foster told police she had suffered a serious sexual assault in November 2011.

But as the investigation into her claims got under way, the 23-year-old, from Ballymena, Co Antrim, admitted she had lied about the attack.

She was subsequently charged with perverting the course of justice for knowingly making a false statement to police. She pleaded guilty to the offence in September.

Foster was accompanied by her mother at Antrim Crown Court yesterday where she was due to be sentenced.

But sentencing was adjourned after a defence lawyer said his client admitted her guilt but there were discrepancies regarding the incident.

Judge Desmond Marrinan said the man wrongly accused by Foster may be called to give evidence against his accuser prior to her sentencing.

No facts have yet been outlined in court regarding the case.

At a previous hearing, Judge Marrinan said: "I am not going to say anything more until I hear the facts of the case but you have pleaded guilty and that is an important factor here.

"It means the person you made this allegation against does not have to appear in court."

He added: "What I want to know is what drove you to make this allegation."

Yesterday the judge said he was cautious of the risk to the man's anonymity should he be called to appear in court, saying it could cause "added damage" to the victim.

Foster – who appeared in court wearing a black two-piece suit – is due to be sentenced later this month for what the judge told her was "a regrettable step".

She was released on continuing bail.

In 2010, Newtownabbey woman Lindsay Gorman was jailed for nine months after admitting to making a false rape claim which had terrible consequences for an innocent young man.

The 20-year-old had caused widespread panic among students in Belfast's Holylands area after claiming she was attacked in Botanic Gardens.

An 18-year-old man was arrested and charged with the 2008 attack.

He was freed on £3,500 bail after being forced to stand handcuffed in the dock while a lawyer publicly accused him of being a sex offender.

He was only cleared when Gorman admitted to police she had told them a pack of lies.

In January this year shamed Dromore woman Belinda Potts Sneddon received a suspended jail term for falsely claiming to police she had been raped by a stranger in a local park.

It emerged that Potts Sneddon (22) was so embarrassed about having sex in bushes with an older man she made up the rape story.

She only admitted her lies after being challenged by her mother, who told police her daughter invented the claims.

The Dromore woman was given a five-month jail sentence suspended for two years and fined £1,000 for wasting police time.

Earlier this year a Crown Prosecution Service report found rape victims were being punished because of "damaging myths" about false rape allegations.

The report estimated that around two false rape allegations are made every month in the UK.

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