Sex offender fails in conviction challenge

A MAN found guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old student on a bus has failed in a challenge to his conviction at the Court of Appeal. Devon Gooden, 41, of Chaucer Way, Hitchin, was handed a six-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, after being c

A MAN found guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old student on a bus has failed in a challenge to his conviction at the Court of Appeal.

Devon Gooden, 41, of Chaucer Way, Hitchin, was handed a six-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, after being convicted of the assault at Luton Crown Court in January 2007.

He always maintained his innocence of the charge and yesterday (Friday) challenged his conviction, but had his case rejected by two judges, Mr Justice Davis and Judge John Diehl QC.

Gooden claimed that the teenager had either wrongly identified him as her attacker or made the story up to get him convicted.

The girl said she was assaulted by a man as she rode a bus towards Stevenage in November 2005.

The man, who she said had handed her a piece of paper with his mobile phone number on it a week earlier, approached her and rubbed her leg and crotch area.

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She identified Gooden as her attacker through photographs and in an identification parade. Further investigations revealed that the number on the piece of paper was his.

In arguments advanced before his Appeal Court hearing, Gooden claimed that his conviction was unsafe because his legal team at the trial had failed to put particular questions to witnesses or investigate potential defence witnesses and evidence.

He also claimed the judge's summing up of the case before the jury retired to consider its verdict was unbalanced in favour of the prosecution.

Rejecting the arguments, Judge Diehl said: "This court takes the view that there is no substance in the complaints made.

"In conclusion, this court had clearly come to the view that there are no arguable grounds to question the safety of this conviction.

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