Sex-attacks conviction quashed

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A PENSIONER jailed for sex attacks on a 15-year-old girl more than two decades ago had his convictions quashed at the Court of Appeal.

In July, Neil Sharp, 75, of New Bridge Bank, Chester-le-Street, was found guilty at Durham Crown Court of four counts of indecent assault.

The former dog kennels company boss was jailed for two years in September.

This week, three judges at London’s Court of Appeal said the guilty verdicts were “unsafe” and quashed the convictions.

Lord Justice Laws said it was not in the public interest for there to be a retrial, since Mr Sharp had already served months in prison and was in poor health.

The appeal centred on a comment made by a witness in the trial, in answer to a question by the crown court judge.

Mr Sharp’s lawyers argued that the girl’s comments meant the trial was “unfair” and criticised the judge’s lack of direction to the jury on how they could use the evidence.

The appeal judges agreed.