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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Cumbrian judge orders jury to clear 'peacemaker'

A man has been cleared of affray after a judge said he was “the peacemaker” in an attack on a woman at a Christening and ordered the case to be aborted.

Judge Paul Batty QC ordered the jury to return a verdict of not guilty, saying there were “exceptional cases when a judge has a duty to stop a case.”

Lee Savage, 20, of Raiselands Croft, Penrith, was formally cleared after the court heard there was insufficient evidence to convict him.

Carlisle Crown Court heard earlier how Mr Savage, who had been charged with affray, intervened in an incident in O’Neill’s sports bar in Penrith on March 25.

He went to the aid of a woman who had been thrown to the floor and kicked in the head, the court heard.

That came after she allegedly threatened to kill two other women who were celebrating a christening. The father of one of those threw her to the ground before another man kicked her in the head.

Yesterday, Judge Paul Batty ordered the jury to record a verdict of not guilty as the evidence was not sufficient to convict Mr Savage. After hearing from witnesses and watching a CCTV video of the incident Judge Batty said: “The evidence shows that nothing Mr Savage did was unlawful.

“It’s perfectly apparent on the totality of evidence that he became involved as a peacemaker.

“He himself was subjected to violence and there is not sufficient evidence to convict this young man of anything.”

The two men involved with violence against the woman had already been found guilty of affray.

The CCTV footage showed a woman leaning over and talking to two other women, before being thrown to the ground and kicked in the head.

Mr Savage then appeared to intervene and attempted to split up the melee before himself being grabbed and punched.

Judge Batty concluded: “There are exceptional cases where the judge has a duty to stop the case and I’m going to instruct the jury to find the defendant not guilty.”

Judge Batty praised the witnesses for their evidence and thanked the jury for their assistance.

JJohnson@cngroup.co.uk

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