A RAPIST has had his sentence cut but failed to clear his name on appeal.
Ryan Oldfield, 19, was sent to a young offenders’ institution for six years and three months after admitted raping and sexually assaulting a woman while on a stag do in Blackpool.
His sentence has been cut to five years but claims of “apparent bias” during the hearing at Preston Crown Court last November, were thrown out.
Oldfield’s legal team claimed the rejection of his later attempts to withdraw his guilty pleas was flawed because the judge knew Oldfield’s then barrister.
Three senior judges, sitting at London’s Court of Appeal, rejected the claims, saying the Preston judge could be trusted to put his “professional relationship” with the lawyer to one side.
Despite throwing out his conviction appeal, however, the judges ruled Oldfield’s prison term “manifestly excessive”, and slashed it to five years.
The hearing was told Oldfield had been on a lads’ weekend in Blackpool last year, and befriended a woman on Promenade in the early hours of the morning.
The judge said both had been drinking and were spotted on CCTV talking in McDonalds, shortly before a row after which the woman was raped and sexually assaulted by Oldfield.
Oldfield of Westminster Road, Morecambe, claimed the sex was consensual and originally denied the offences, but pleaded guilty after consulting Manchester-based lawyer, Michael Hayton.
But after speaking to another barrister, Oldfield applied to retract his guilty pleas.
Preston judge Graham Knowles QC rejected his application, ruling the pleas were freely offered.
Anthony Evans QC, heading Oldfield’s new legal team, said Judge Knowles should have made it known he knew Mr Hayton before deciding the issue, giving Oldfield the chance to have his application heard by another judge.
But Lord Justice Jackson told the court: “In our view, given the circumstances of this case, a fair-minded and informed observer would not suspect Judge Knowles of bias.”