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Restauranteur cleared of sex assault

PUBLISHED: 21:16 17 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:00 03 March 2010

AN Ipswich restaurant owner today spoke of his relief of being cleared of the indecent assault of two young women.

Father-of-three, Maurizio Portaluri, who owns Salentina Italian Restaurant, described his year of hell after false accusations from two women.

AN Ipswich restaurant owner today spoke of his relief of being cleared of the indecent assault of two young women.

Father-of-three, Maurizio Portaluri, who owns Salentina Italian Restaurant, described his year of hell after false accusations from two women.

Judge John Holt directed the jury to acquit Mr Portaluri, 32, for lack of evidence.

Mr Portaluri, said "The effect of this on my wife and family has been terrible. It remains to be seen the effect on my business. It is unfair that I am accused of these false allegations and can be named, whereas the women are not named."

He criticised the police and Crown Prosecution Service for bringing the case before the court.

During the one-day trial a jury heard how one of the complainants had a conviction for perverting the course of justice.

Portaluri, of Fonnereau Road, Ipswich had denied two offences of indecent assault on a woman and one of them of indecent assault on a 16-year-old girl.

The girl claimed that Portaluri had pinched her bottom and put his hand between her legs.

The judge dismissed prosecution claims that Portaluri had grabbed hold of the older woman, tried to kiss her and touch her breast.

Mr Portaluri who has children aged five, six and seven, said his wife had stuck by him throughout the year long case.

He said "If the police had looked at my record they would have seen I am an innocent man".

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