Prosecutors in the United Kingdom have dropped their sexual-assault case against musician Rex Orange County days before it was set to go to trial.
The Crown Prosecution Service on Thursday said the evidence in the singer’s case “no longer met” its legal test for a prosecution, according to the BBC.
“We will always seek to prosecute sexual offences, where our legal test is met, no matter how challenging,” a spokesperson for prosecutors added.
The 24-year-old “Best Friend” artist, born Alex O’Connor, had been charged with six counts of sexual assault after a woman accused him of attacking her multiple times in London in June. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges when he appeared in court in October, and a provisional trial date was set for Jan. 3.
“I have always denied these allegations and am grateful that the independent evidence has cleared me of any wrongdoing,” the British musician shared in a statement posted Thursday on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
“I have never assaulted anyone and I do not condone violence or abusive behaviour of any kind,” he said.
In October, the Sun reported that the singer had been accused of twice assaulting a woman in London’s West End on June 1. The woman also accused O’Connor of assaulting her in a taxi and three times at his home in Notting Hill the next day.
In Thursday’s statement, O’Connor said he wanted to clarify details around the allegations and what he called “inaccuracies about the case that have circulated.”
“I was wrongly accused of touching someone one evening on their leg, neck, back, and bottom. That led to six charges of sexual assault,” his statement said.
“The only evidence against me was the individual’s account,” he continued. “However, CCTV footage obtained by the police contradicted their version of events. Their partner was also present throughout the evening in question and gave a statement to the police, which did not support the allegations against me.
“It’s been a difficult time for everyone involved and I’d like to thank the people who have helped me through it, as well as my family and loved ones for their continued support,” he added.
O’Connor’s fans took to the replies and comments sections of his social media posts to share their relief about the development.
“Okay thank god i can now listen to his music again,” said one Instagram user.
“Y’all were so quick to cancel him,” added another.
“Disrespect to everyone who attacked him from the start, and now are switching up,” wrote another.
“This single tweet has saved a lot of spotify playlists today,” another person quipped on Twitter.
“The sad thing is, even though charges were dropped and he was cleared of everything, and has evidence to back it up … his career will still take a hit,” said another tweet. “Once someone accuses you of something like that, people look at you differently.”
Months after releasing his album “Apricot Princess” in 2017, the British-born singer rose to fame as a special guest on Tyler, the Creator’s album “Flower Boy,” appearing on the songs “Boredom” and “Foreword.” O’Connor performed at the Hollywood Bowl on June 2 following the debut of his third album, “Who Cares?,” which reached No. 5 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
In early July, he canceled a series of tour dates in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, citing “unforeseen personal circumstances” that meant he was not “able to continue with touring as planned.”
In August, he released his newest track, “Threat.”
Times staff writer Kenan Draughorne contributed to this report.