The comedian and actor, Bill Cosby, who is best known for his role in the 1980s television programme The Cosby Show has been released from prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his sexual assault conviction.
According to Reuters, this decision came after the 83-year-old Cosby served more than two years of a three-to-ten-year sentence for aggravated indecent assault after his conviction in 2018.
More than 60 women came forth with charges of sexual assault at the hands of Cosby. Despite all of these claims, he was only found guilt of sexually assaulting Temple University employee, Andrea Constand in his home in 2004 after drugging her with unidentified pills, Reuters adds.
However, the court found that former state prosecutor, Bruce Castor, reportedly made a deal to not prosecute Cosby in 2005 in return for his deposition in a civil suit brought by Constand.
His sworn deposition, which a judge unsealed in 2015 led a new district attorney, Kevin Steele, to charge Cosby later that year, merely days before the statute of limitations was about to expire. The court found that the prosecution amounted to going back on Castor’s earlier promise not to charge Cosby.
It was further said that this deal should have prevented Cosby from being charged, and in light of this it was ruled that he had been denied a fair trial in 2018. This means that the court cannot continue to uphold the rest of Cosby’s prison sentence.
“In light of these circumstances, the subsequent decision by successor D.A.s to prosecute Cosby violated Cosby’s due process rights,” Justice David Wecht wrote. “There is only one remedy that can completely restore Cosby to the status quo ante. He must be discharged, and any future prosecution on these particular charges must be barred.”
His conviction was widely recognised as a major stepping stone for the #MeToo movement that united women beyond the confines of America. This initiated a chain reaction as more women stepped forward with allegations against influential men in Hollywood.
In a statement released by press representative, Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s family said: “I want to thank the Supreme Court who saw the light and saw the truth.”
Picture: AP Photo/Matt Slocum