Student accused of rape banned from university classes for a year

A university student accused of rape has been banned from attending classes for a year while he awaits trial, it has emerged.

Liam Allen, 21, was accused in October 2016 and made subject to a ban barring him from the University of Sussex campus while an investigation was under way.

The computer science student was charged by police last month. Last week, a court heard he had been unable to set foot on campus throughout his second year as a result of police bail conditions.

His solicitor, Cathy Walker, told a hearing at Brighton magistrates court on Thursday that the ban had had a serious impact on his studies. “This has taken a year to be in court and there have been no breaches. He finds himself facing a serious allegation,” she said.

“Allen, as a result of being under investigation, has been suspended from attending the campus through his whole second year. He couldn’t attend lectures, had to have Skype mentoring sessions and is now about to start the third year to start his dissertation. This year is critical and he should be able to attend the campus.”

The chair of magistrates, Gary Gates, said the charge was extremely serious and could not be dealt with in the lower court. He directed that it should go to Lewes crown court for a plea and trial preparation hearing in October.

The University of Sussex, based in Falmer, East Sussex, has more than 15,000 students. A university spokesman said: “When we are made aware of any police investigation involving one of our students, we always cooperate fully with any bail conditions and consider whether we would need to take any precautionary action of our own.

“In some cases, the police may impose bail conditions which prohibit a student’s attendance at university or them entering the grounds of the university. In all such cases, the health, safety and wellbeing of our students remains our highest priority.”

Earlier this year, the university was found to have failed in its duty of care to a student who was assaulted by a lecturer, taking only the perpetrator’s account of their relationship into account when assessing the risk he posed, according to an independent inquiry commissioned by the university.

It followed criticism of the university’s decision not to suspend Lee Salter, a senior media lecturer, even after he was convicted of assaulting Allison Smith, a postgraduate student, in June 2016. The report made a number of recommendations that the university has implemented.


culled from ‘theguardian’

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