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Accused freed in teenage sex trial

PUBLISHED: 14:27 18 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:13 03 March 2010

A 50-year-old man accused of raping a schoolgirl walked free from court because the alleged victim failed to give evidence.

The teenage girl attempted to give evidence against Michael Stewart of St Johns Hill, Woodbridge via a live television link to avoid being in the same room as the defendant.

A 50-year-old man accused of raping a schoolgirl walked free from court because the alleged victim failed to give evidence.

The teenage girl attempted to give evidence against Michael Stewart of St Johns Hill, Woodbridge via a live television link to avoid being in the same room as the defendant.

However within eight minutes of cross-examination by barristers the girl broke down and asked for a break in the proceedings at Ipswich Crown Court.

When the case was called back on Judge Peter Thompson asked the girl to continue giving evidence but she declined saying she did not wish to continue giving evidence at all.

Judge Thompson directed the jury to return not guilty verdicts on one charge of rape and two charges of indecent assault due to insufficient evidence.

After Stewart's arrest he "vigorously" denied the allegations and described them as: "Complete and utter nonsense".

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