Man cleared of indecent assault
A MAN has been cleared of indecently assaulting a woman by pretending to be a strippergram when he went to her home.A jury at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday found Justin Nicholson not guilty after more than five hours of deliberation.
A MAN has been cleared of indecently assaulting a woman by pretending to be a strippergram when he went to her home.
A jury at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday found Justin Nicholson not guilty after more than five hours of deliberation.
Mr Nicholson, 24, looked relieved and put his head in his hands as the verdict was announced. He was formally discharged by the court.
Mr Nicholson, of Hunter Drive, Lawford, had denied the charge and claimed he went to the woman's home as a practical joke and did not think she would go along with it.
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But he looked subdued as Judge Gareth Hawkesworth, who presided over the trial, told him: "Mr Nicholson, I hope at the very least this experience has taught you practical jokes of any kind are not particularly fruitful."
The jury of six men and six women had heard the prosecution allege during the four-day trial that Mr Nicholson phoned the 56-year-old woman and said he would be round to give her a treat which had been paid for by some friends.
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It was claimed he then arrived at her home, took all his clothes off and forced the woman to touch his genitals.
But Nicholson denied the woman's account and said he had said he was a strippergram as a practical joke.
He said when he got to her house the woman had undressed him and voluntarily touched him.
Mr Nicholson said she seemed "happy and fine" and consented to everything that happened.
Giving evidence, he said: "I never forced her the whole time I was there.
"I asked her if she wanted another feel and she said she didn't know and she was worried that her husband might find out."
Mr Nicholson told the jury he was a practical joker although he had never played a joke like that before.
Judge Hawkesworth awarded Mr Nicholson travelling costs to court of £172.97.