A third rape case in just over a month has collapsed after a failure from investigators to find key evidence.
The case against Samson Makele was halted at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday after his defence team unearthed key images from his mobile phone which had not previously been made available, law firm Hodge Jones and Allen said.
The 28-year-old was accused of raping a woman he met after Notting Hill Carnival in 2016 but the case, due to go to trial at the end of the month, was thrown out after more than a dozen pictures emerged of the pair apparently cuddling in bed.
Mr Makele, originally from Eritrea, claimed the sex was consensual.
Investigators from the Metropolitan Police did not find the images, which were discovered when the defence hired an independent forensic expert.
A Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) spokeswoman said: “We received information from the defence on 5 January, material we were not previously aware of.
“The case was reviewed and it was concluded there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.
“We made the decision to offer no evidence and did so at a hearing today.”
It follows the collapse of two rape cases in December, which sparked an urgent review by Scotland Yard into around 30 sex cases.
Mr Makele’s lawyer, Paris Theodorou, said an error in judgment or an inaccuracy in unveiling evidence, could cause “irreparable damage”.
He said: “Mr Makele doesn’t know whether failure to obtain the photographs by the police was an oversight or an act of sheer incompetence.
“Either way, his life has been intolerable and traumatic while he waited for the truth to emerge.
“It is clearly vital that criminal defence solicitors are tech savvy enough to conduct their own analysis in parallel to those undertaken by the police.”
A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: “In this case it is apparent that the police investigation did not find the images, which were first disclosed by the defendant in early January 2018.
“After this the case was discontinued.”
Scotland Yard announced its urgent review after the rape trial of Liam Allan was halted on December 14 and the prosecution of Isaac Itiary, accused of raping a child, collapsed a few days later.
A spokesman for the Met said they were unable to say how many cases would be affected.