THE chief constable of Dorset Police has commissioned a full review of the force's handling of an investigation into allegations of sexual assault of a schoolgirl.

Bournemouth Crown Court resident judge Brian Forster QC received a note from the jury questioning the investigation in the case of Philip Mark Mulcahy, who was a teacher at Bournemouth Collegiate School.

Mulcahy, aged 58, was found unanimously not guilty on all three counts.

Judge Forster QC told trial counsel the jury's comments should be shared with the director of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Chief Constable of Dorset Police.

The jury note, which was read in open court by the judge, said: "The investigation seems to have been poor and we are unable to understand on what basis the Crown Prosecution Service brought the case.”

In a statement, a Dorset Police spokesman said: "Chief Constable Scott Chilton has been made aware of the concerns raised by Judge Forster QC in relation to this case and has commissioned a full review into the handling of this investigation, he is also progressing the matter with senior officials within the Crown Prosecution Service."

Bournemouth Echo: Dorset Police chief constable Scott ChiltonDorset Police chief constable Scott Chilton

A CPS spokesperson said: “We are aware of the comments made by HHJ Forster QC at the conclusion of this case.

“We have reviewed the prosecution and we are satisfied that there was sufficient evidence for there to be a realistic prospect of conviction, in accordance with our legal test.

“It is not the function of the CPS to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for the criminal court to consider. That assessment is based on whether there is a realistic prospect of conviction when put to a jury.

“We respect the jury’s decision in this case.

“The CPS is committed to improving outcomes for victims in rape and serious sexual offences cases (RASSO) and to supporting victims to give evidence. We are working with our local police partners, including Dorset Police, to ensure that we achieve the right outcomes in such complex and sensitive cases.”

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