Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Man cleared in rape retrial as Crown offers no evidence

A 23-year-old man has been cleared of raping a woman after a judge directed a jury to find him not guilty.

Belfast Crown Court Judge Tom Burgess directed the jury of six men and six women to acquit 23-year-old Anthony West of raping the woman in November 2007 after the Crown offered no evidence against him.

Prosecution lawyer Kate McKay told the court she was not offering any evidence in the case due to legal developments.

In June 2008 West, formerly from Knockwood Crescent in Belfast, was convicted of raping the 22-year-old mother-of-one in her east Belfast home, and in August that year was jailed for 11 years.

During that hearing the woman claimed West first called to her house at around 6am and made them both a cup of tea in the kitchen.

She told the jury that West had tried to kiss her but that she spurned his advances, phoning three different taxi firms in an effort to get rid of him.

West left in a taxi and the jury heard he took it to Snugville Street in the Shankill area to a house belonging to another girl he had had sex with previously but no-one answered the door and he left again, returning to the woman's house.

The jury heard that he scaled the rear yard wall, opened the back door, went through the darkened house to her bedroom where they had sex.

West gave evidence on his own behalf and claimed that when he went back to the house for the second time, it had been “a gift” to get inside and that when he was in her bedroom, they had kissed before having consensual sex.

However following legal applications, the Court of Appeal quashed that conviction last December and ordered a retrial.

Yesterday Judge Burgess told the jury that anyone returned to the Crown Court for trial had a right to have a verdict recorded against them and as the prosecution were offering no evidence, the only verdict they could come to was one of not guilty.

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