A convicted thug who was accused of attempted robbery and possessing a knife could be kept behind bars despite the case against him being dropped, a court heard.
Stephen Cairney, formerly of Barnes Street, Clayton-le-Moors, was recalled on his licence to prison after being charged in relation to an alleged incident in Accrington on February 19 this year.
The 25-year-old denied the offences and was due to face trial this week at Burnley Crown Court.
However the case was dropped after the complainant refused to attend court and a summons was issued for his arrest.
Prosecutor Michael Knowles said the complainant didn’t wish to give evidence against Cairney because he was ‘fearful of the result upon him and his family’.
The court heard that the complainant’s brother and a witness in the trial had also made a ‘similar’ false allegation against Cairney in 2011.
Mr Knowles said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) also faced ‘other general issues in relation to the credibility of the account’.
Defence barrister Anthony Parkinson said Cairney’s prison licence recall ‘remains an issue’.
He told the court: “He will remain in custody at the moment until the prison decide whether or not he should be released again on licence.
“He may stay in custody as I understand it until July.”
Mr Knowles said Cairney had ‘probably’ still breached the terms of his licence after telling police in interview that he was ‘using or seeking to purchase drugs’.
However Recorder John Bromley-Davenport QC said it was ‘wholly wrong’ that Cairney should continue to be incarcerated when he was acquitted of the charges.
He said: “It’s very unfortunate that he should be locked up for something he hasn’t done but there we are.
“I don’t think there’s anything I can do about it.
“He’s only been locked up because he’s alleged to have done these offences. He should be released today because he has not breached his licence.
“I don’t think I have any power to order his release but that’s my view.
“I’m prepared to assist in any way I can in promoting that view.”
- Cairney was jailed for 12 months in July 2017 for ABH and theft following an incident at the Premier shop in Clayton-le-Moors where he punched and beat the shopkeeper repeatedly over the head with a pole.