Sunderland restaurant workers could face retrial after jury fails to agree verdicts on rape charges
A jury in the trial of two restaurant workers accused of raping a woman whoÂ they then dumped at a roadside miles away from her home has been discharged.
The woman, who cannot be named, has told jurors she was attacked by two strangers after she got into what she believed was an unlicensed taxi after drinking in Sunderland city centre in April 2016.
During a trial at Newcastle Crown Court prosecutors have claimed driver Syed Ahmed, 21, of Chester Street East, and passenger Najirul Miah, 20, of Ashwood Terrace, both Sunderland, used her as a "piece of meat" before she was "discarded on the ground like a piece of trash."
The two men claim the woman consented to be intimate with each of them in turn, inside the vehicle, at a deserted area in Hendon, but admit they drove off and left her afterwards, miles in the opposite direction to where she lived.
After more than seven hours deliberation, jurors could not agree verdicts in the case.
Judge Sarah Mallet has now discharged the panel.
Prosecutor Paul Cleasby said the "overwhelming likelihood" is that the men will now face a retrial.
A date for the new trial has been provisionally listed in September.
Ahmed denies an offence of rape and one of theft. Miah denies two offences of rape and one of sexual assault.
Both men deny a joint offence of false imprisonment.
They have both been given conditional bail.