Police and the CPS allegedly knew in 2007 that another man’s DNA was on the clothes of the woman Andrew Malkinson was wrongly imprisoned for raping, yet left him behind bars for another 13 years.
Mr Malkinson, who spent 17 years in prison for a rape he did not commit, had his conviction quashed last month after DNA linking another man to the crime was produced.
Case files obtained by the 57-year-old as he battled to be freed show that officers and prosecutors knew forensic testing in 2007 had identified a searchable male DNA profile on the rape victim’s top that did not match his, according to The Guardian.
They chose to take no further action and there is no record that they told the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the body responsible for investigating possible miscarriages of justice, according to the report.
The CPS claims Mr Malkinson’s lawyers were told of the new DNA evidence.
The CCRC refused to order further forensic testing or refer the case for appeal in 2012.
Allegedly, the case files suggest the CCRC was worried about costs.
Mr Malkinson was found guilty of raping a woman in Greater Manchester in 2003 and the next year was jailed for life with a minimum term of seven years, but he served a further 10 for maintaining his innocence.
Notes of a meeting between the Forensic Science Service, the CPS and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in December 2009 suggests the CPS understood the possible importance of the 2007 DNA find, according to the report.
CPS guidance states it “must write to the CCRC at the earliest opportunity about any case in which there is doubt about the safety of the conviction”.
An internal log of Mr Malkinson’s first application to the CCRC in 2009 – to appeal against his conviction – reportedly reveals CCRC highlighted the cost of further testing and said it would be unlikely to lead to his conviction being quashed.
Mr Malkinson said: “If the CCRC had investigated properly, it would have spared me years in prison for a crime I did not commit.
“I feel an apology is the least I am owed, but it seems like the very body set up to address the system’s fallibility is labouring under the delusion that it is itself infallible. How many more people has it failed?”
A CPS spokesperson told The Guardian: “It is clear Mr Malkinson was wrongly convicted of this crime and we share the deep regret that this happened.
“Evidence of a new DNA profile found on the victim’s clothing in 2007 was not ignored. It was disclosed to the defence team representing Mr Malkinson for their consideration.
“In addition, searches of the DNA databases were conducted to identify any other possible suspects. At that time there were no matches and therefore no further investigation could be carried out.”
The CCRC told the newspaper: “As we have said before, it is plainly wrong that a man spent 17 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.”
GMP have yet to comment.