Man cleared of rape is jailed for offering woman £100 not to give evidence

Darren Weir was jailed for 16 months at Portsmouth Crown Court
Darren Weir was jailed for 16 months at Portsmouth Crown Court

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A MAN cleared of raping a woman has been jailed after offering her £100 not to give evidence in court.

Darren Weir was due to stand trial at Portsmouth Crown Court on August 24.

In the course of that telephone call the defendant – on the basis the complainant not go to court – offered £70 that morning and £30 later if she was to write a letter to the court saying the defendant had not in fact raped her as she had claimed

Michael Butt

But the 49-year-old called her up just a few hours before court and offered her the cash.

She agreed, but recorded the call and then played it to police when she arrived at the court, forcing the case to be adjourned until February.

Now Weir is starting a 16-month prison term after admitting an act tending to pervert the course of justice.

Michael Butt, prosecuting, said: ‘In the course of that telephone call the defendant – on the basis the complainant would not go to court – offered £70 that morning and £30 later if she was to write a letter to the court saying the defendant had not in fact raped her as she had claimed.

‘It seems that she agreed at the point and did in fact produce a letter.

‘It was a very short letter saying simply “I don’t want to come to court”.

The letter was handed to the complainant’s friend and given to Weir, who handed over the £70.

Mr Butt added: ‘Weir said he wasn’t happy with it, that she was required to produce another letter in terms originally suggested.’

He said there were previous calls about the payment between Weir’s friend and the woman’s friend.

Weir pleaded guilty to the offence on the basis the idea came from the complainant or her then-friend.

Louise Howard, for Weir, said his actions showed a ‘complete lack of consequential thinking’.

Sentencing, Recorder Anne Arnold said it was a ‘serious matter’.

Weir, of Kite Close, Waterlooville, also admitted breaching two conditional discharges but received no separate penalty.