A TRIAL over a pub shooting has collapsed – yet an arrest warrant is still out for an accused man who failed to turn up in court.
Mark Jepson was charged in connection with a pub brawl that ended when a Huddersfield soldier was shot in the stomach.
Jepson was found not guilty by order of the judge just a day after the judge ordered the jury to clear two other defendants – including Jepson’s younger brother, Samuel, who was facing an attempted murder charge.
And the Crown Prosecution Service has now confirmed the case at Bradford Crown Court is at an end.
Mark Jepson, 26, of Greenwood Street, Primrose Hill, had been accused of starting the fight in the Marsh House pub that led to 23-year-old Lance Corporal Stephen Dyson being wounded.
Jepson had been facing a charge of violent disorder, but yesterday Judge Jennifer Kershaw told the jury to return a not guilty verdict.
On Wednesday Jepson's co-accused, Ashaq Hussain, 31, of Alandale Road, Bradley, and Samuel Jepson, 23, of New Hey Road, Oakes – who was alleged to have been the gunman – were also acquitted on the judge’s order.
Samuel Jepson was formally acquitted of attempted murder, an alternative charge of wounding with intent and violent disorder.
The judge said there was not enough evidence and there would have been a risk of a miscarriage of justice if the case against him was left before a jury.
She also said that evidence from several witnesses had not been solid enough to show that Mr Hussain had been involved in a violent act in the pub on Westbourne Road, Marsh..
Judge Kershaw told the jury yesterday that for the offence of violent disorder to be made out the prosecution had to prove that three or more people had been involved in the fighting.
But that was no longer possible as the other two men alleged to have been involved had been found not guilty.
Mark Jepson was not at his trial and a warrant for his arrest remains outstanding.
The jury had been told that by prosecutor Richard Woolfall that Mr Dyson had been in the pub when Mark Jepson was alleged to have stormed in and begun attacking him.
Hussain was also alleged to have begun fighting before the Crown said that Samuel Jepson entered, brandishing a gun.
Mr Dyson was then shot in the stomach. The bullet passed through his body and lodged in a wooden panel.
It was by sheer good luck, Mr Woolfall said, that Mr Dyson did not sustain any serious injuries. He was released after a night in hospital.
A CPS spokeswoman said: “On the witness statements there was clear evidence that at least three people were involved in the incident and therefore violent disorder was the right and proper charge.
“The case is now at an end as far as the CPS is concerned.’’