Police Incident on Anfield Road by King Harry Pub.
THE high-profile trial of two Merseyside police officers who allegedly tried to influence an investigation into a derby day brawl sensationally collapsed yesterday.
A judge branded the case against detectives Christopher Sheron and Greg Symon – plus six other defendants – as “hopeless” as he discharged a jury from passing verdicts against them.
The men had been on trial at Preston Crown Court accused of plotting to pressure a victim to retract an assault allegation following the fight outside the King Harry pub in Anfield.
A third officer, detective constable Mark Scarratt was formally cleared of misconduct in a public office over allegations he passed sensitive information about the police investigation into the brawl to Sheron.
Five weeks after the trial began Judge Anthony Russell QC, the Recorder of Preston, told jurors: "I have a duty, if I consider the evidence is insufficient, to withdraw a case from the jury. The first thing to be remembered is that no jury can find any defendant guilty unless the prosecution has proved that they are guilty to a very high standard. Nothing less than being sure will do. Suspicious circumstances will not suffice.”
The trial centred around trouble which flared before the derby on January 16 last year when Blues fan and off-duty cop Carl Larsen had his jaw broken outside the pub in Anfield Road.
After the attack on Mr Larsen it was alleged his friend detective constable Sheron strangled Scott Wells, 20, and pinned him to the floor.
Judge Russell told how the case against Matrix sergeant Symon, 39, and Sheron, 43, hinged on Mr Wells’s evidence.
He said: “Scott Wells was a most unimpressive witness in many respects, not least because he was shown to lie about a material point.
“But one point he maintained throughout was that he was not put under any pressure to withdraw his evidence. That point has damaged the prosecution case very badly indeed.”
Also seen as key to the case was a web of contact between the defendants which the prosecution alleged laid bare a plot to pressure Mr Wells to withdraw his complaint.
But Judge Russell said key text messages at the heart of the prosecution case could have other explanations that were not “sinister”.