Northern Ireland

Second trial clears man of east Belfast rape charge

court generic

A 23-year-old man has been cleared of raping a woman after the prosecution said it was not offering any evidence against him.

It was the second trial for 23-year-old Anthony West, formerly from Knockwood Crescent in Belfast, after his original conviction was quashed in December.

In June 2008, Mr West was convicted of raping woman in her east Belfast home.

In August of that year, he was jailed for 11 years.

However following legal applications, the Court of Appeal quashed that conviction last December and ordered a retrial.

On Tuesday, prosecution lawyer Kate McKay told the court she was not offering any evidence in the case due to legal developments.

Judge Tom Burgess told the jury that anyone returned to the Crown Court for trial had a right to have a verdict recorded against them and as the prosecution was offering no evidence, the only verdict they could come to was one of not guilty.