A BRIT backpacker has been acquitted of rape today at a retrial in Australia after new DNA evidence came to light linking the attack to a second man.
Scott Harry Richardson spent nearly two years in prison after being convicted of an attack on a sleeping American woman at a party in 2015.
The 27-year-old had his conviction quashed last year after an appeal court heard of the new DNA evidence.
Judges heard tests using a more advanced method than that used during his trial had found the profiles of two men, rather than just one.
Today, a jury at Sydney’s Downing Centre court returned verdicts of not guilty on two counts of sexual intercourse without consent following the retrial.
Mr Richardson, from Bristol, was originally accused of attacking a 23-year-old woman as she slept at a property in the Redfern suburb of Sydney on December 12.
The woman claimed she woke to find her assailant on top of her, and when she told him to stop, he replied with “This is what you want, isn’t it? This is what you want?”.
During a 2016 trial, the Brit told a court he did not rape the woman insisting it must be a case of mistaken identity.
He claimed he jumped onto her thinking she was a friend but on realising his mistake, he got off and said “sorry” before leaving the room, reports the Mail Online.
A crucial piece of prosecution evidence was a sample collected from the woman’s vagina, which was found to include Mr Richardson’s DNA.
His lawyers argued the DNA was due to “secondary transfer”, which suggests DNA can be transferred as a result of simple skin to skin contact like a handshake.
But the New South Wales district court rejected the claim at his trial and he was found guilty and ordered to serve at least two years and three months in prison.
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After spending 21 months in jail, his conviction was overturned by appeal judges at New South Wales Supreme Court last July and the retrial was ordered.
The second DNA sample was found using a more advanced testing method, Yfiler Plus, which checks for 27 markers in a DNA sample.
The technique used by forensic investigators in NSW before the original trial checked for just 17 markers.