Rothbury outraging public decency case dismissed

News from the courts.
News from the courts.

The case against a man who was accused of committing a lewd act in a Northumberland car park has been dismissed, after the witnesses failed to attend court today.

Michael Snaith, of Fountain Cottages, Harbottle, was due to stand trial at Mid and South-east Northumberland Magistrates’ Court, at Bedlington, this afternoon after denying a charge of outraging public decency.

A young couple had claimed they saw the 45-year-old masturbating in his car at Beggars Rigg car park, in Rothbury, during the afternoon of Thursday, January 22, prosecutor James Long said.

But, after the pair failed to show up for the trial – the woman’s phone was switched off and the man was reluctant to attend – Mr Long offered no prosecution evidence and the case was dismissed.

Mr Long, who argued that the matter was in the public interest, had tried to force an adjournment to issue the witnesses with a summons to attend a rearranged hearing, but magistrates refused this request.

Graham Crouth, defending, said that the allegation had seriously impacted Snaith’s life. He said his client was suffering anxiety and depression as a result of the proceedings and had been forced to sign himself off work on the sick.