A MAN who had denied an alleged assault on a child at a South Cumbria school almost four decades ago has been acquitted of the allegation.
Anthony Gerrard Maxwell, 71, had been facing one charge arising from a police probe into alleged historic physical abuse at Witherslack School, Grange-over-Sands.
When he appeared at Carlisle Crown Court earlier this year, Mr Maxwell pleaded not guilty an alleged actual bodily harm assault on a boy. This was said to have occurred around the turn of the 1980s.
Mr Maxwell was present in court today (MON) for a pre-trial hearing which took place in front of Judge James Adkin.
Prosecutor Keith Sutton told the court one complainant in the case was “no longer co-operating with the prosecution”. It was not possible, Mr Sutton confirmed, to proceed with the charge being faced by Mr Maxwell, of Liquorstane, Falkland, Cupar, Fife.
As a result, Judge Adkin found Maxwell not guilty of the allegation.
His barrister, Andrew Nuttall, said in a brief address to the judge: “That means Mr Maxwell, with your permission, should be discharged from the dock.”
Judge Adkin agreed, saying to Mr Maxwell: “You may leave the dock.”
Mr Maxwell chose not to comment publicly after the court hearing.
Five men – aged between 62 and 78 – who still face and deny historic charges alleging assault and child cruelty at Witherslack are due to go on trial next month at the crown court next month. This hearing is due to last several weeks.