A MAN accused of stabbing a 15-year-old boy in a play park has walked free from court after the case against him collapsed on the first day of his trial.
Prosecutors offered no evidence against 19-year-old Ryan Pinnock, who was charged with knifing the boy during an attack in Woolston Road, Leigh Park, near the Warren Skatepark, on March 15.
At a brief three-minute hearing at Portsmouth Crown Court today, prosecutor Edward Elton admitted authorities couldn’t track down the victim – who cannot be identified for legal reasons.
The revelation forced judge David Melville QC to deliver a not guilty verdict, leading to cheers from Mr Pinnock’s family and friends, with one jubilant supporter shouting ‘yeah boy’ as he left court.
Mr Elton claimed the case against Mr Pinnock had ‘not been a bump-free road’ and that a witness summons had been issued by the court to the victim’s mother’s home ‘late Thursday or early Friday last week’.
He told the court: ‘Officers attended that address and couldn’t speak to [the victim] because he wasn’t there but did manage to have a conversation with him by proxy through text messages through his mother and elder brother.
‘The view established from that conversation has informed the view of those instructing me that there is no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction in this case as we do not know where [the victim] is.
‘Accordingly, I offer no evidence on the indictment.’
As reported, the teenage boy received a ‘four-inch’ cut to his arm that needed treatment at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
At the time, officers arrested a 16-year-old boy, a 17-year-old boy, three 18-year-old men, and a 19-year-old man, all from Havant, on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent.
Mr Pinnock, of St Johns Road, Havant, was later charged with wounding with intent and possessing a knife in a public place. He was remanded in custody in April. He denied the charges.
Speaking after today’s verdict, Mr Pinnock told The News: ‘I’m angry. I have been found not guilty but I spent time in prison for this. I’m relieved to be free.’
Speaking outside court, a visibly frustrated Mr Elton said: ‘I can think of nothing more the police could have done and nothing more that the CPS could have done that would have changed that verdict.
‘If anyone is to blame, it is not the police and not the CPS.’
A spokeswoman for the CPS said: ‘Despite continued efforts to ensure the complainant could give evidence at the trial in this case, the complainant did not attend court and confirmed they did not wish to give evidence.
‘With all the circumstances of this particular case, the Crown unfortunately had no alternative other than to offer no evidence as without the complainant’s evidence, there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.’
The News also approached Hampshire police for further comment.