Rape charges dropped after alleged victim's Twitter feed casts doubt on case

LONDON -- Nine men accused of repeatedly raping a 14-year-old girl were cleared Thursday after a series of old Twitter posts by the alleged victim cast doubt on her claims.

Aged between 21 and 30, the men had been accused of abusing the teenager in London over a six-month period last year.

They had been charged with 28 offences but prosecutors at London's Old Bailey court dropped the case after examining a Twitter account formerly used by the girl.

“The content of the archive tweets, which were not publicly available, is such as to render this a case where there is no realistic prospect of conviction,” the Daily Mail newspaper quoted prosecutor Samantha Cohen as telling the court.

Cohen added that the defendant, who is now 15, had been "spoken to," according the BBC.

The Metro newspaper quoted Judge John Bevan as saying it was "unfortunate" that some of the defendants had been held in custody since being arrested in a series of dawn raids in March.

In a statement, a Crown Prosecution Service spokesperson said new information had arrived before the trial was due to begin. 

"This new material concerned archived Twitter messages which were not previously known about and which undermined the prosecution case," the spokesperson added. “It was decided following this review that there was no longer sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction in this case. We have therefore offered no evidence against all defendants."