Rape cases ‘could fail’ if victims refuse to give police access to phones

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Experts split on whether new guidance for crime victims will help or hinder prosecutions

Complainants in rape and serious sexual assault cases who refuse police access to the contents of their mobile phones could allow suspects to avoid charges, the director of public prosecutions (DPP), Max Hill QC, and a senior police officer have warned.

New national consent forms authorising detectives to search texts, images and call data are proving controversial, Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave has admitted, as the difficulties of disclosure in the digital age risk pitting the pursuit of justice against preserving privacy.

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