Conviction overturned for Felixstowe man

FELIXSTOWE businessman, Anthony George Snooks who was jailed for seven-years for rape and under-age sex, has had his convictions overturned and was freed on bail by Appeal Court judges.

FELIXSTOWE businessman, Anthony George Snooks who was jailed for seven-years for rape and under-age sex, has had his convictions overturned and was freed on bail by Appeal Court judges.

Snooks, 38, of Manning Road, was jailed in August 2000 at Ipswich Crown Court after he was found guilty of one count of rape and two of having sexual intercourse with a girl under 16.

But London's Criminal Appeal Court quashed his convictions, finding they were "unsafe" due to the inadequacy of the trial judge's directions to the jury in relation to Snooks' character.

Lord Justice Mantell, sitting with Mr Justice Gage and Mr Justice Field, directed that Snooks be re-arraigned on a fresh indictment within two months. His retrial is expected to take place at London's Snaresbrook Crown Court.

In granting bail, the judge ordered Snooks to report to Ipswich police weekly and not to have direct or indirect contact with any prosecution witnesses.

The decision was greeted with relief by many supporters of Snooks, who were present in the public gallery. The court was told Snooks would reside with his long-term girlfriend, who was also present.

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Lord Justice Mantell said Snooks had previously been fined £150 for assault occasioning actual bodily harm and was given a conditional discharge for offences of obstructing police and resisting a constable in 1999.

He noted that this was the sort of case where credibility was in issue.  It was submitted on Snooks' behalf that the trial judge's directions relating to his character were inadequate.

"We are aware the matter is not as straightforward as it might have appeared," said Lord Justice Mantell.

"There were, so it seems, criticisms of Snooks' conduct in relation to his behaviour in relation to other young women, basically to the effect that he attempted to cover up or lie about certain of his affairs.

"But, on balance, we are of the view, that these convictions cannot be regarded as safe."