Mansfield shop keeper sex trial collapses

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The sex-offences trial of a Mansfield shop-owner has collapsed - because the complainant was too upset to give her evidence in court.

Vijay Chadda (47), of Rufford Road, Edwinstowe, runs the fashion clothes shop, Collections Designerwear, of Regent Street in the town centre.

Mr Chadda had previously denied three charges of sexually touching a woman at the shop on dates between Monday 1st October 2012 and Thursday 7th February 2013.

The original trial, which began at Nottingham Crown Court in February, had to be aborted by Judge Philip Head because of indiscretion by a member of the jury.

This was after the woman had spent a long session giving evidence and being cross-examined by a prosecution barrister.

Now this week’s re-scheduled crown court hearing has also been scrapped because the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, felt unable to go through with her ordeal in the witness-box for a second time.

Explained Ian Way (prosecuting): “In the original trial, we were into the second day when the jury was discharged because of an irregularity. This was after one of the jurors had been overheard discussing the case on a train.

“The complainant had already given evidence and had spent 35 minutes being cross-examined.

“She is here again today for the re-trial, supported by her family and friends. But she is distraught and very upset.

“I have spent a considerable amount of time with her. But she cannot face going back into the witness-box.

“She is having difficulty coping with the proceedings, She is suffering from distress, anxiety and sleepless nights.

“We have to balance her interests with the public interest. This is not a case that we are seeking to pursue at all costs, because it would cause damage to the complainant. Therefore, on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service, I offer no evidence on all counts.”

In dismissing the case, Recorder Adrian Redgrave told the court: “I understand why this decision has been made.

“It is a responsible decision. The complainant has been through this ordeal once and feels daunted by the idea of repeating it.”

No evidence was also offered against Mr Chadda’s shop manager, Dale Allen (28), of Rufford Avenue, Rainworth, who denied a charge of committing acts intended to pervert the course of justice. His case was similarly dismissed.