A TRIAL of two Merseyside police officers who allegedly tried to influence an investigation into a derby day brawl collapsed yesterday.
A judge branded the case against detectives Chris Sheron and Greg Symon – plus six other defendants – as “hopeless” as he discharged a jury from passing verdicts.
The men had been on trial at Preston crown court accused of plotting to pressure an alleged victim of the fight outside the King Harry pub in Anfield Road to retract an assault allegation.
A third officer, detective constable Mark Scarratt, 43, from Tuebrook, was acquitted of misconduct in a public office after being alleged to have passed confidential information to Sheron.
Judge Anthony Russell QC, the Recorder of Preston, explained how the prosecution case had hinged on the evidence of the alleged victim, Scott Wells, who was taken hold of by Sheron, 43, during the fight.
He said: “[Scott Wells] maintained throughout that he was not put under any pressure to withdraw his evidence. That point has damaged the prosecution case very badly indeed.”
Trouble erupted before the Merseyside derby on January 16 last year when Blues fan and off-duty police officer Carl Larsen had his jaw broken outside the pub.
Key to the prosecution case was a web of contact between the defendants which the prosecution alleged laid bare a plot to pressure Mr Wells. But Judge Russell said text messages at the heart of the prosecution could have had other explanations.
He said: “Coupled with the evidence of Wells that he was not subject to any pressure, the prosecution case in my view is hopeless.”
Sheron, 43, of Quebec Quay, city centre; Symon, 39, of Shirley Road, Garston; Colin Stewart, 43, of Store Street, Kirkdale; Kevin Morland, 37, of Rosedale Road, Allerton; Niall Macklin, 21, of Layton Avenue, Prenton; John Nuttall, 45, of Warnerville Road, Old Swan; Christopher Hannon, 24, of Merlin Road, Prenton; and Stephen Foster, 30, of Warbreck Road, Orrell Park. denied conspiring to pervert the course of justice.