No Second Chance by Bill Kitson by Bill Kitson - Read Online

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DS Kate Jackson is distraught when a sure-fire prosecution case against a celebrity accused of rape breaks down. The failed prosecution is an excuse for her superiors to move Kate to another police force, where, putting the past behind her, she successfully rebuilds her career. Then the celebrity who was acquitted all those years ago is found dead on Kate's beat - and, suddenly, she finds herself under suspicion of murder ...
Published: Accent Press on
ISBN: 9781681465821
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No Second Chance

Bill Kitson

DS Kate Jackson is distraught when a sure-fire prosecution case against a celebrity accused of rape breaks down. The failed prosecution is an excuse for her superiors to move Kate to another police force, where, putting the past behind her, she successfully rebuilds her career.

Then the celebrity who was acquitted all those years ago is found dead on Kate’s beat – and, suddenly, she finds herself under suspicion of murder …

1994

In the entrance to the court building a woman was in conversation with a barrister, who was still wearing his wig and gown. She appeared distressed, and passers-by must have marked her down as a client. Outside, the baying hordes of press and media reporters were waiting for her to emerge, like hungry sharks that could smell blood. She listened to what the counsel had to say. It failed to comfort her. ‘I was certain we’d get a conviction this time,’ she protested.

The barrister noticed the emphasis on the word ‘we’. ‘So was I, otherwise I’d have advised against the prosecution. Unfortunately, the jury weren’t convinced. The defence managed to cast enough doubt on the accuracy of Miss Holt’s testimony and suggested that far from being assaulted by the defendant she had chased him, and the sex was consensual. That, plus the implication regarding her previous liaisons, went a long way towards dissuading them from passing a guilty verdict. I’m bound to say that his previous good character and celebrity status didn’t help our cause either.’

‘Lily Holt maintained that he raped her and I believe her. You didn’t see her when I interviewed her. There’s no way her distress was faked. If we’d been able to locate the witness, the man who saw them leave that bar together, it might have been a different matter. Lily remembers him asking for Fortune’s autograph, even though she was almost passing out. She told me Fortune had to steady her with one hand whilst he signed the man’s book with the other. If we manage to find him, would his evidence be sufficient to request a new trial?’

Steve Jardine looked at Detective Sergeant Jackson and shook his head in disbelief. ‘Kate, you don’t seem to appreciate the situation. I’m astonished that you’ve progressed this far in the police force without knowing the position we’re in. As far as Ashley Fortune and Lily Holt are concerned, it’s over – unless he rapes her again. There can be no new trial, even with new evidence. It’s called double jeopardy. No person can be tried twice for the same crime. Admittedly, there is talk of a change in the law, but until that happens there is no second chance for us.’

‘No second chance? That means he’s free to rape some other unfortunate woman. That may be your idea of justice, Steve, but it certainly isn’t mine.’

‘No second chance’. The phrase stuck with DS Kate Jackson throughout the ordeal that followed. It began with the internal enquiry, and worsened with the disciplinary tribunal that followed. The phrase reverberated through Kate’s mind during her period of suspension from duty, and it was at the forefront of her mind as she listened to the chairman of the panel deliver their findings.

‘Detective Sergeant Jackson, we have examined the report submitted by the officers who