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How can a rape conviction be based on only one side of the story and without full disclosure?

Updated: Mar 9, 2023


The photo is of the time John was awarded for saving a man’s life who had been stabbed in the neck. John jumped in and fought off the attackers who were armed and then carried out first aid which he was trained to do. He saved this man’s life whilst on bail.


In 2019, a former soldier was jailed for 18 years after investigators claimed he had carried out a campaign of coercion on an off-on girlfriend by creating disingenuous social media profiles, and so manipulating her into sexual intercourse.


The problem is that disclosure of the complainant's phone records has still not been forthcoming, meaning that the conviction is very much based on only one side of the story and without full disclosure of all of the relevant evidence.


Prosecutors held that John-Lee Osborne, just 22 at the time, had sent the woman 4,000 messages over a three-month period from four characters he had created. This averages around 45 per day.


To put this into context, Worldwide Texting Statistics show that adults under 45 send and receive 85+ texts every day, on average. The same source also shows that adults between 18-24 send and receive over 128 texts every day.


John maintains that the girlfriend knew about all of the aliases in their messaging and that he has evidence of this. In fact, John says that he and his girlfriend had an agreement that they would use different names when they messaged each other to keep their relationship a secret as her friend did not like John and didn't approve of them seeing each other.


John also says that it was this friend, not the complainant herself, who reported John. Third-party reporting has become increasingly common over the last ten years of the police's ongoing 'Coming forward' campaign.


In terms of John's defence, as indicated, they asked for the complainant's mobile phone data, but this was never provided, proving further worrying testimony of unjust disclosure issues with prosecuting authorities (by now surely verging on the institutionally corrupt).


Judge Mark Horton - himself found guilty of professional misconduct two years later - jailed John for 18 years and ordered him to serve a further five years on licence.


“This case represents a very disturbing development in the use of social media,” the judge told John.


John, however, maintains that this is not true, and that the complainant allegedly went along with the reporting of John after being coerced and paid to do so. Regular readers of FAW will know that it is commonplace for compensation to be paid out in such cases, whether or not alleged offenders are charged or convicted.


Regarding the conviction and sentence of 18 years in prison before he is eligible for parole, a source says it was: “Incredible. Even the woman was shocked” about this outcome to Operation Bluestone – the codename the police gave to their investigation of John.


John has said on numerous occasions that he loved his complainant and is shocked and saddened by his conviction. He wrote a letter which was handed to her at court where he said that he didn't think that what they were doing was rape and that he would never rape anyone.


Apparently, the jury didn’t think this was rape, either, and came back to the judge after twenty minutes deliberation - but as the judge only guided them towards 'Rape' they seemingly felt they had little choice but to go along with it.


John says that his accuser always had a choice whether to come around to his house to stay the night, that nothing was against her will and it was never even explained how she was considered 'Vulnerable'.


When the police told the accuser that what John was doing was (as far as they were concerned) rape, she was apparently shocked, too.


In this sense, it can also be conceived that the complainant was thus also a victim, not of John but of the police. She had been coerced into thinking that she was a victim of rape when that was not her intention to allege.


John says that she always knew it was him sending her the messages, which is likely why the judge would not let the defence barrister have access to her phone records.


This is why it was imperative that the defence had access to her phone records – the whole story highlights the Operation Bluestone agenda, and more broadly the #MeToo movement.


Another concerning aspect of the case is that it took four years to charge John, and only when he had left the army, leading to suspicion that the prosecution may have been concerned that the army would have supported John.


It also seems bizarre that John would not be charged for four years if he was considered so dangerous, as was claimed, which left him at liberty to commit further alleged crimes if he really was the kind of person that he is alleged to be.



John Lee's award from the High Sheriff of the City of Bristol for intervening with an armed attacker.


John says that there were also messages from the complainant on his phone asking what time he would be back from the army on a Friday, and asking what they would do, i.e. go out for a meal, bowling, cinema. etc, which also provides evidence of a consensual relationship.


John was originally charged with eight counts, but on the first day of trial the judge put this up to 15. John alleges that it can be proved that John was not with her on several of these occasions.


John is also frustrated that he was advised not to speak by his barrister who said: 'you are not going to be put away for this, John.' He could see it was just a game between them. John's barrister even referred to John as his 'adopted son' to his Mum, Anne Marie, who thinks it was because he could see what a nice person John is and could see that it was not true what the prosecution were saying about him.


John is now into his 4th year in prison for an alleged crime that he still finds difficult to accept. He says that he didn't force the complainant as is alleged, and that she knew that the messages from the different names were from him.


John was always a quiet private individual, but the stress of all of this has affected him to the point that he told his Mum that he was going to commit suicide as he couldn't handle it anymore.


All John wants to do is overturn his conviction and be back home with his family, which is also falling apart in the devastation of his conviction. John, his Mum and his whole family are hoping that his new legal team can assist them in their fight for justice. We hope so, too!


By Sean Bw Parker


Please let us know if you think that there is a mistake in this article, explaining what you think is wrong and why. We will correct any errors as soon as possible.


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