Update Ryan Hope: Cleared councillor tells of 'nightmare'

Dorset Echo: Ryan Hope not guilty verdict Ryan Hope not guilty verdict

'THE nightmare is over'- those were the words of Weymouth councillor Ryan Hope, who spoke to the Echo after he was cleared of all charges against him.

The jury of six men and six women took just 38 minutes to reach the unanimous verdict and found Ryan Hope not guilty on all eight counts.

It comes after a four day trial at Bournemouth Crown Court.

Mr Hope, 22, had been standing trial charged with eight sexual offences which included multiple accusations of rape and sexual assault of a child under 13.

He said: "I am just glad that this nightmare is over.

"It has been a long time and I have been assaulted and bullied because of this. I'm just glad that the truth has come out so I can carry on with my life."

Friends and family packed into the courtroom for each day of the trial and sighs of relief and tears of joy were heard when the verdicts were read.

He is now looking towards a future in local politics and in the Weymouth community.

During the trial, the court heard numerous times about his efforts to help others and to represent his Westham community.

Many people took to the stand to defend him, all describing the allegations as completely 'out of character'

Mr Hope added: "I fully intend to re-join the Liberal Democrats and look forward to joining and working with my colleagues again."

When asked about the support he has received and the number of character witnesses who came forward to speak for him, he said: "It has been fantastic and speaks for itself and shows what fantastic friends I have got and I am pleased to have each and everyone of them"

Ian Roebuck, Weymouth and Portland borough councillor and leader of the local LibDem group, took to the stand in defence of his 'colleague' and 'friend'.

Mr Hope was elected to represent Westham North for the LibDem party in 2012 as the youngest serving borough councillor in the borough.

Mr Roebuck said: “Ryan is someone who I am very pleased to have as a colleague and friend. He has worked very hard for his community.

“He has a remarkable amount to give to Weymouth."

Speaking after the verdict, Mr Hope's fellow LibDem councillor Christine James said: “I am pleased for Ryan. I don't think the case should ever have come to court.”

Chris Edwards, chairman of the Westham Community Group, spoke in court about Mr Hope's work in Westham.

He said that Westham is one of the most deprived areas in Dorset with many teenagers with nothing to do.

He spoke of Mr Hope's community and youth work in the area and how he started a youth forum and a garden project.

Mr Edwards said Mr Hope took over as chairman of the community group when he was just 18.

Day 4 in court

On the fourth day of the trial, more character witnesses took to the stand before closing speeches were made.

The charges included two counts of rape of a child under 13, one of which relates to multiple incidents, two counts of rape, one of which also relates to multiple incidents, two counts of sexual assault of a child under 13 and two counts of sexual assault, one of which relates to multiple incidents.

The allegations spanned during a time frame between October 17, 2004 and early in 2011.

The charges related to a single victim who is now 18 years old but cannot be named for legal reasons.

Judge Samuel Wiggs resided over the proceedings and 'summed up' the events for the jury.

In his closing speech defence barrister Mark Ruffell told the jury: “There are only two people who have been in this courtroom who know if what has been alleged is true.

“The allegations are odd in their lack of detail and in the way the alleged victim gave them to the police.”

“The only event the alleged victim remembers in some detail was a non-event,” Mr Ruffell added, as 'no sexual contact' was made.

He reminded the jury that the victim returned to the police with more information after seeing the initial report in the Dorset Echo.

Mr Ruffell told the court: “We suggest that he was making that account up.

"When he saw the effect of what he had done in the press, he went back to embellish his account."

He added: “The Crown has not put forward one other person who has said 'that happened to me.'

“The alleged victim is quite capable of lying. As to why he has done it is a riddle.

“In a country that is very cynical about politicians - there is hope with Ryan Hope."

The court heard from a series of character witnesses on the fourth day of the trial.

Character witness Shannon Cox, former girlfriend of Ryan Hope, said: "He is a kind and caring person. He always puts other people before himself.”

The defence also called her mother Tai-Mar Cox, who said she still 'loved Ryan to bits'.

Another witness Chris Edwards, the Chairman of the Westham Community Group.

He said: “Ryan is bright, hardworking, good with people and works for his community."

A number of other character witnesses came forward to defend Mr Hope as part of the defence case.

The jury heard from a number of witnesses about his award-winning youth and community work, his successful career at a Weymouth engineering firm and of how he became the youngest serving councillor in Weymouth and Portland.

In her closing speech for the prosecution, Mary Aspinall-Miles said: “You have heard a stellar array of character witnesses, certificates and achievements and prizes.”She added this 'precisely' illustrates why the alleged victim hesitated in bringing forward a claim.

She told the jury that although he couldn't be very specific about the allegations, he stands by his claims.

She said the alleged victim has kept this to himself for a number of years and that was not the action of an 'attention seeker.'

Ms Aspinall-Miles urged the jury to consider that there were times when Mr Hope and the alleged victim were alone.

Comments (9)

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4:33pm Sun 4 May 14

Hunter4 says...

The people who need to be brought to justice NOW are those who made these horrendous allegations and put this lad through all the unnecesary stress. It must have been a nightmare for the poor lad.
The people who need to be brought to justice NOW are those who made these horrendous allegations and put this lad through all the unnecesary stress. It must have been a nightmare for the poor lad. Hunter4
  • Score: 22

4:38pm Sun 4 May 14

Suzim says...

It's awful being accused for something that you haven't done. So how do you re address this? Your character has been sullied so do you go for defamation of your character. What happens now? Can you take action yourself?
It's awful being accused for something that you haven't done. So how do you re address this? Your character has been sullied so do you go for defamation of your character. What happens now? Can you take action yourself? Suzim
  • Score: 10

4:45pm Sun 4 May 14

Suzim says...

I would imagine Ryan will take further action against the accuser.
I would imagine Ryan will take further action against the accuser. Suzim
  • Score: 10

1:57pm Mon 5 May 14

Micke12 says...

9 charges, and jury takes just 38 minutes in acquitting this young and vibrant man of all charges. Once again, the Wessex CPS have proved that they are not fit for purpose. For any jury to make findings on so many charges in so short a time, proves that the CPS case was pretty much baseless, and might I suggest, somewhat politically motivated.

As for the case of anonymity, it is right that accusers names are kept from the public whilst the case is in progress and it is right that that persons name remains anonymous if the case is proven either by admittance by the accused or a finding of guilt by a jury of the accused peers. But, if the case is found not guilty on a unanimous verdict of all the jury, that persons name should be made public. In the same vain, the same applies to the person accused of this type of crime - one that can result in the accused being assaulted or even killed simply by being accused, not convicted.

That has to be wrong, both legally and morally, that someone is effectively guilty in the eyes of the public even before trial or conviction. This sort of crime has a habit of having mud sticking even after the not guilty verdict. Therefore I suggest that we as a society have a duty to ensure the security and the integrity of the accused until such time as that person either admits the crime, or found guilty, at which time, he or she should be named and shamed.

To take action for slander, libel or defamation costs lots of money, money that most of us do not have, so these accusers can accuse all they like and most of us cannot do a **** thing about it. It is not possible to get legal aid to pursue a case for libel, slander or defamation, and this is wrong as anybody accused and defamed or libeled can only take action if they have lots of money to pursue the action.

Any thoughts, anyone
9 charges, and jury takes just 38 minutes in acquitting this young and vibrant man of all charges. Once again, the Wessex CPS have proved that they are not fit for purpose. For any jury to make findings on so many charges in so short a time, proves that the CPS case was pretty much baseless, and might I suggest, somewhat politically motivated. As for the case of anonymity, it is right that accusers names are kept from the public whilst the case is in progress and it is right that that persons name remains anonymous if the case is proven either by admittance by the accused or a finding of guilt by a jury of the accused peers. But, if the case is found not guilty on a unanimous verdict of all the jury, that persons name should be made public. In the same vain, the same applies to the person accused of this type of crime - one that can result in the accused being assaulted or even killed simply by being accused, not convicted. That has to be wrong, both legally and morally, that someone is effectively guilty in the eyes of the public even before trial or conviction. This sort of crime has a habit of having mud sticking even after the not guilty verdict. Therefore I suggest that we as a society have a duty to ensure the security and the integrity of the accused until such time as that person either admits the crime, or found guilty, at which time, he or she should be named and shamed. To take action for slander, libel or defamation costs lots of money, money that most of us do not have, so these accusers can accuse all they like and most of us cannot do a **** thing about it. It is not possible to get legal aid to pursue a case for libel, slander or defamation, and this is wrong as anybody accused and defamed or libeled can only take action if they have lots of money to pursue the action. Any thoughts, anyone Micke12
  • Score: 10

5:21pm Mon 5 May 14

Sigurd Hoeberth says...

Politically motivated is bang on the mark Micke12, but not because he was a Lib-dem.


The sorry state of affairs in this particular issue, comes as a direct side-effect of efforts from the likes of Labour (Harriet harman) and her merry band . It is they who lobbied on behalf of feminist groups for those accused of crimes such as these, to have their names made public before any finding of guilt, this applied of course regardless of the gender of the accuser. What makes this more sinister and shows the kind of gynocentric meddling at play behind it, is that the same lobby groups reject any false accuser being named or even punished !
Politically motivated is bang on the mark Micke12, but not because he was a Lib-dem. The sorry state of affairs in this particular issue, comes as a direct side-effect of efforts from the likes of Labour (Harriet harman) and her merry band . It is they who lobbied on behalf of feminist groups for those accused of crimes such as these, to have their names made public before any finding of guilt, this applied of course regardless of the gender of the accuser. What makes this more sinister and shows the kind of gynocentric meddling at play behind it, is that the same lobby groups reject any false accuser being named or even punished ! Sigurd Hoeberth
  • Score: 8

10:11pm Mon 5 May 14

Micke12 says...

Sigurd Hoeberth wrote:
Politically motivated is bang on the mark Micke12, but not because he was a Lib-dem.


The sorry state of affairs in this particular issue, comes as a direct side-effect of efforts from the likes of Labour (Harriet harman) and her merry band . It is they who lobbied on behalf of feminist groups for those accused of crimes such as these, to have their names made public before any finding of guilt, this applied of course regardless of the gender of the accuser. What makes this more sinister and shows the kind of gynocentric meddling at play behind it, is that the same lobby groups reject any false accuser being named or even punished !
I must admit that I had not thought of it in that way, but it does make sense.

If the accused can be named before trial and conviction, then the accuser should suffer the same fate if the accused is acquitted.

I think that the question needs to be asked, 'why was this not reported to the police until after Ryan had been elected to council?, Was this a political move by certain councillors to attempt to get rid of the new young blood from the council chamber, get rid of someone they new would not let the status quo remain and take certain councillors to task about things wrong in our local government structure, i.e., bad practice or maybe even corrupt practices.

Ryan was let down by the Lib-Dems on the council, who should have given him a chance to stand back from his public duties instead of waiting for so long to tell party HQ about what was happening. The way that this happened and the effect it had on Ryan was brought about by gross misconduct by the local party officialdom, by failing in it's duty to advise Ryan to step down, and by so not doing, lead Ryan into more trouble than he needed. However, my view is that if you are innocent, know you are innocent and are **** sure that you will be found innocent, why the hell should you have to take a step back.

The people of Westham North voted him in, not as a party person, but as a person they feel they could trust, and my advice Ryan, is say stuff you to the Lib-Dems, They failed to stand behind you and pushed you off the Lib-Dem perch. You should stand as an Independent councillor and serve the people that voted for you. I am sure after all this hassle you have been though, the people of Westham North would vote you in on a landslide victory.

As for the ****, Harriet Harman, well enough said. She is one of the most feministic **** I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She is, totally anti-male when it comes to protections for men in rape cases, whether they are the perpetrator or the victim. Her view is that men cannot be raped or suffer sexual abuse, even though it happens. In her eyes, men are there to be trampled on, abused and humiliated, whilst she feels that women are the superior species of mankind.

In a world where women demand equality, they can have it, but not on their terms. If some woman or man accuses a man or woman of rape, and the accused is found not guilty by a jury of their peers, then the accuser should be named and shamed, and perhaps considered for being charged with wasting police time, and in the meantime, we men, should call on the government to change the law so that we have anonymity until we are convicted of an actual crime, instead of being vilified by the public for something we may well be innocent of.
[quote][p][bold]Sigurd Hoeberth[/bold] wrote: Politically motivated is bang on the mark Micke12, but not because he was a Lib-dem. The sorry state of affairs in this particular issue, comes as a direct side-effect of efforts from the likes of Labour (Harriet harman) and her merry band . It is they who lobbied on behalf of feminist groups for those accused of crimes such as these, to have their names made public before any finding of guilt, this applied of course regardless of the gender of the accuser. What makes this more sinister and shows the kind of gynocentric meddling at play behind it, is that the same lobby groups reject any false accuser being named or even punished ![/p][/quote]I must admit that I had not thought of it in that way, but it does make sense. If the accused can be named before trial and conviction, then the accuser should suffer the same fate if the accused is acquitted. I think that the question needs to be asked, 'why was this not reported to the police until after Ryan had been elected to council?, Was this a political move by certain councillors to attempt to get rid of the new young blood from the council chamber, get rid of someone they new would not let the status quo remain and take certain councillors to task about things wrong in our local government structure, i.e., bad practice or maybe even corrupt practices. Ryan was let down by the Lib-Dems on the council, who should have given him a chance to stand back from his public duties instead of waiting for so long to tell party HQ about what was happening. The way that this happened and the effect it had on Ryan was brought about by gross misconduct by the local party officialdom, by failing in it's duty to advise Ryan to step down, and by so not doing, lead Ryan into more trouble than he needed. However, my view is that if you are innocent, know you are innocent and are **** sure that you will be found innocent, why the hell should you have to take a step back. The people of Westham North voted him in, not as a party person, but as a person they feel they could trust, and my advice Ryan, is say stuff you to the Lib-Dems, They failed to stand behind you and pushed you off the Lib-Dem perch. You should stand as an Independent councillor and serve the people that voted for you. I am sure after all this hassle you have been though, the people of Westham North would vote you in on a landslide victory. As for the ****, Harriet Harman, well enough said. She is one of the most feministic **** I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She is, totally anti-male when it comes to protections for men in rape cases, whether they are the perpetrator or the victim. Her view is that men cannot be raped or suffer sexual abuse, even though it happens. In her eyes, men are there to be trampled on, abused and humiliated, whilst she feels that women are the superior species of mankind. In a world where women demand equality, they can have it, but not on their terms. If some woman or man accuses a man or woman of rape, and the accused is found not guilty by a jury of their peers, then the accuser should be named and shamed, and perhaps considered for being charged with wasting police time, and in the meantime, we men, should call on the government to change the law so that we have anonymity until we are convicted of an actual crime, instead of being vilified by the public for something we may well be innocent of. Micke12
  • Score: 6

9:08am Tue 6 May 14

Sigurd Hoeberth says...

It was Lord Corbett, who introduced the 1976 law providing mutual pre-conviction anonymity.

The change to this law pushed in by Harman for feminist-marxist backed women's groups since then, was hoped to have been reversed in 2010 and anonymity put back for defendants. Of course Harman and Co. made sure that didn't happen with another round of hysteria and false rape propaganda, eagerly spread by our heavily contaminated and politically driven British Press.

In that same year Harman was warned about constantly telling lies and using false rape propaganda statistics in an official report by Baroness stern. Not unlike the also warned NSPCC and hundreds of other 3rd sector politically steered cash-cows that do the same.

People really have no idea of how evil and how large the, "rape culture" industry and, "abuse industry" really is, how septic it has been to our society, our laws and especially how much subversive politics and big money/jobs are involved. Of course the other part of the tragedy, aside for the numerous murders, suicides and ruined lives of Men, is that "real" victims are being undermined by this witch-hunting also.

It seems clear there needs to be a public inquiry into this matter. No Jury could come to a complete not guilty on Nine charges in less than 40 mins unless the evidence and claim was a complete farce. Mr Hope should be entitled to substantial damages from the state and the accuser should be named to prevent it happening again and to protect others.

I can heartily recommend Mr Hope now spends some time getting to know the Men's rights groups and support groups for the falsely accused. He may realise then just how bad it is and why Men like me spend so much time doing what I do...it is for people like him and the many others yet to come.
It was Lord Corbett, who introduced the 1976 law providing mutual pre-conviction anonymity. The change to this law pushed in by Harman for feminist-marxist backed women's groups since then, was hoped to have been reversed in 2010 and anonymity put back for defendants. Of course Harman and Co. made sure that didn't happen with another round of hysteria and false rape propaganda, eagerly spread by our heavily contaminated and politically driven British Press. In that same year Harman was warned about constantly telling lies and using false rape propaganda statistics in an official report by Baroness stern. Not unlike the also warned NSPCC and hundreds of other 3rd sector politically steered cash-cows that do the same. People really have no idea of how evil and how large the, "rape culture" industry and, "abuse industry" really is, how septic it has been to our society, our laws and especially how much subversive politics and big money/jobs are involved. Of course the other part of the tragedy, aside for the numerous murders, suicides and ruined lives of Men, is that "real" victims are being undermined by this witch-hunting also. It seems clear there needs to be a public inquiry into this matter. No Jury could come to a complete not guilty on Nine charges in less than 40 mins unless the evidence and claim was a complete farce. Mr Hope should be entitled to substantial damages from the state and the accuser should be named to prevent it happening again and to protect others. I can heartily recommend Mr Hope now spends some time getting to know the Men's rights groups and support groups for the falsely accused. He may realise then just how bad it is and why Men like me spend so much time doing what I do...it is for people like him and the many others yet to come. Sigurd Hoeberth
  • Score: 5

9:19am Tue 6 May 14

Sigurd Hoeberth says...

It should also be noted and not forgotten that another man from Portland was also cleared of similar charges in the same week. Comments were also very quickly blocked on that story and have not been restored.
It should also be noted and not forgotten that another man from Portland was also cleared of similar charges in the same week. Comments were also very quickly blocked on that story and have not been restored. Sigurd Hoeberth
  • Score: 4

1:14pm Tue 6 May 14

Bob Goulding says...

Isn't Ryan's accuser at the very least guilty of perjury and/or attempting to pervert the course of justice? Presumably the CPS is looking into this. If not, why not?
Isn't Ryan's accuser at the very least guilty of perjury and/or attempting to pervert the course of justice? Presumably the CPS is looking into this. If not, why not? Bob Goulding
  • Score: 2

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