We didn’t really cover the case of Eleanor de Freitas – a 23 year old woman who had accused Alexander Economou of raping her in 2013. After investigating the case (and it seems with the additional help of investigations undertaken by Mr Economou) it transpired that there were “text messages and CCTV footage that directly contradicted the account Miss de Freitas gave to the police“.
In light of that, the prosecution of Mr Economou did not proceed. He was quite a wealthy man and so, instead of leaving it (the police were not interested at that stage in prosecuting Ms de Freitas) he spent £200,000 in starting a private prosecution of her for Perverting the Course of Justice.
The prosecution was later taken over by the CPS (the usual procedure). Ms de Freitas was due to stand trial in April 2014, but tragically killed herself three days before her trial.
On 9th December 2015 we learned that the CPS have decided to prosecute Mr Economou for harassment of Davd de Freitas, the father of Ms de Freitas who has been quite vocal of the perceived failings of the CPS in prosecuting someone who was obviously mentally vulnerable.
The CPS have issued a press release confirming the basis of the charges:
Between 5 November 2014 and 20 October 2015 Alexander Economou pursued a course of conduct which amounted to the harassment of David de Freitas and which he knew or ought to have known amounted to the harassment of David de Freitas in that he:
- (a) delivered or caused to be delivered a letter dated 6 November 2014 to the home of David de Freitas;
- (b) sent a series of emails to the solicitor acting for David de Freitas;
- (c) uploaded various recordings and comments onto websites such as YouTube, vimeo.com and liveleaks.com, and
- (d) set up and maintained a website with the domain name eleanordefreitas.com.
This is a very interesting case, and one that potentially has huge ramifications. At this stage, although the trial will be in the Magistrates’ Court (so no jury), it is inappropriate to comment too much, but we will certainly be keeping an eye on it.
As for (a), we don’t know what the letter dated 6th November 2014 was. But we will be interested to see the full details of (b) and (c) and how they amount to harassment of Mr de Freitas.
The website, (d), referred to is still running, although we do not know how much of it was taken down until after the trial. As it stands now, there does not appear to be anything legally objectionable on it (or else we would not have liked to it).
The whole prosecution does (potentially) raise very interesting questions about freedom of speech and the rights of those that they state that they have been falsely accused to put their case – could well be one to watch.