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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Carlisle sisters have assault convictions overturned

Two Carlisle sisters have had their assault convictions overturned after a judge ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to convict them.

Belinda Kirsty Lee, a 23-year-old from Cavaghan Gardens, and 26-year-old Vikki Naomi Lee, from Kirkbrae, were convicted in October of attacking Samantha Kate Small, following an alleged incident at the beginning of May.

Carlisle Crown Court heard how Miss Small had been on a night out with three friends and was on seats outside The Church nightspot, in Botchergate, when she claimed that she was verbally abused and had a drink thrown in her face – and that the plastic glass had cut her cheek.

She also claimed she had her hair pulled from behind and was dragged to the ground before having her head banged on the floor several times.

Miss Small stopped a passing police officer for help and was later treated at the Cumberland Infirmary.

Paul Jones, defending Belinda Lee, said Miss Small had been in a relationship with one of the sisters’ former partners at the time but she denied this and said that at the time it was just “a friendship”.

Tim Evans, defending Vikki Lee, pointed out that despite giving a statement to police claiming that the whole experience had left Miss Small afraid to go out in the city centre a recent Facebook post had indicated she had been involved in a separate altercation outside Outrageous.

He asked why one of her friends, who had witnessed the incident, had not given evidence at the original magistrates’ court trial and she replied: “She wanted to but I took it onto my own back. It was my case, I had the injuries, and I didn’t need back-up.”

Belinda Lee said that she had left Walkabout for a smoke and admitted that she had got into an argument with Miss Little but denied assaulting her.

Vikki Lee said she was aware of the argument because she heard her sister’s raised voice and said it was a “rant in both directions” but she denied joining in any attack.

After considering the evidence Judge Barbara Forrester, sitting with two magistrates, said that there was conflicting evidence and it was not enough to prove that the sisters had carried out any attack. She added that the CCTV evidence had clearly shown that there was no disturbance in that area.

The judge ordered a court costs order towards any legal costs incurred by the sisters.

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