THE trial of a senior social worker accused of sex attacks on vulnerable boys has been thrown out of court.
Brian Tansey was accused of repeatedly abusing one boy at a Wearside school and targeting another youngster during a trip the school on Tyneside where he later worked.
The case against the 69-year-old was halted at Newcastle Crown Court on its second day due to inconsistencies in the first alleged victim’s account from the witness box and led to the entire trial collapsing.
Judge Brian Forster entered a not guilty verdict against the five charges of buggery and one of indecent assault that Tansey had faced and denied.
Prosecutor Paul Greaney QC said despite no evidence now being offered against the 69-year-old, it is not claimed that the two complainants have lied.
Mr Greaney said the first victim’s evidence contained huge variations about how and when the abuse started.
He added: “It represented, to say the least, a huge departure from what he has said in evidence in chief and from what he had said previously.
“All in court were struck by that change and the difference in his account.
“His evidence in cross examination was so inconsistent with anything he has previously said and so inconsistent with how the case was opened by me that we could not continue.”
Mr Greaney said jurors could not now be asked to consider the evidence against the very high standard of proof required to secure a conviction.
The one charge in relation to the second boy was also dropped against Tansey, of Retford, Nottingham.
Mr Greaney said the account given by the alleged victim in that case was uncorroborated and would not meet the required standard to achieve a conviction now there was no mutually supportive case running alongside it. The court heard both men were vulnerable when they were at the schools, which were for children with emotional and behavioural problems, and their lives have been blighted by trouble since.
The alleged victim who gave evidence on the first day is serving a life sentence for violence and has previous convictions for serious offending, including attempted murder.
Mr Greaney said: “I have explained to him our decision does not mean the prosecution have concluded he has lied.
“We have concluded the jury could not reasonably rely on him to reach the very high standard they must reach.”
Mr Greaney said prosecutors have not concluded the second alleged victim is lying.
Judge Forster entered not guilty verdicts in relation to each charge Tansey faced and said the “right decision” had been made in the light of the difficulties.
The judge commended those concerned in Operation Viola, which the case was part of, which saw two social workers jailed for a total of almost 40 years for attacks on boys in similar circumstances.