Saturday, 26 May 2007

thrown out

A JUDGE has thrown out Sunderl
After nearly six days of legal argument, Judge Michael Cartlidge made his decision yesterday and, more than two years after it began, the Witherwack House criminal case collapsed.It is unlikely that ex-Witherwack staff will face abuse charges, and today a leading campaigner and former child resident said he would now press for a public inquiry.Meanwhile, Detective Chief Superintendent David Wilson, who led the Northumbria Police investigation, said: "The police are disappointed that the victims stories will not be given an airing at trial."He could not estimate the cost of the investigation.The four men facing charges of child cruelty were reported not to be in court to hear Judge Cartlidge say it would be wrong to put them on trial after so long. He dismissed the cruelty charges against them.They were: Robert Chapman, of Bradwell Common, Milton Keynes; Adrian Garbutt,of Spout Lane, Washington; Raymond Maude, of Calderbourne Avenue, Sunderland and Peter Murray, of Morris Street, Birtley.According to the Crown Prosecution Service, the judges reasons were that it would be hard to get reliable evidence about events of 20 years ago and the fact that there had been six separate investigations into Witherwack House at least two were commissioned by the council could have tainted evidence from witnesses, through repeated interviews with different agencies.The judge said the public had a right to expect such cases to be brought to court, and said the police and CPS were right to do so.Judge Cartlidges ruling angered a former child resident of Witherwack House, who was to have given evidence against the four ex-staff members.Brian Clare founded and led the campaign for a fresh look at Witherwack, on behalf of former child
inmates.

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