The case against five of seven men accused of drunkenly throwing poo on a train which hit another passenger has been dropped.
Six members of the group appeared before Swindon Crown Court in March, but a lack of evidence, as reported by the Salisbury Journal, saw the charges against Edward McCormack, Josh Dolman, Alistair Ellis, Andrew McCabe, and Dominic Patten dismissed.
Toby Clarke, 22, and Bobby Clifford, 21, still face sentencing after Clarke admitted to defecating on the train while Clifford is reported to have admitted guilt for throwing the faeces.
Dolman and Patten were the last to see charges dropped after the case against McCormack was dropped in June, and charges against McCabe and Ellis were similarly dismissed in May. Dolman and Patten were due to stand trial in September, but that will no longer take place. Clarke and Clifford had previously entered guilty pleas.
Ellen McAnaw, who represented McCabe, reportedly told the court that while her client was travelling with the others he was located in the vestibule between carriages at the time of the incident.
She added that travelling in a group did not make her client complicit with the actions of individuals:
Just because they were there and watching it doesn’t mean they were assisting or encouraging.
Mary Crowe, representing Ellis, made a similar case in May. She noted witnesses did not refer to her client misbehaving in public and that the allegations were against his lack of action to disassociate from other members of the group.
Recorder Williams, said when dismissing the charges against Ellis and McCabe:
It is contended that there is insufficient evidence which a jury could properly conclude that the particular defendants were secondary parties to the actions of those who were the principal parties.
Two defendants concede that their horrible actions were indeed such. The problem the Crown have it seems to me is this: since someone is not identified either by visual ID or by admission of being involved they are driven to saying everyone there was either a principal or secondary party.
It seems to me that a jury properly directed could not possibly come to a conclusion on that placed before me.
The incident occurred following England’s World Cup 2018 semi final defeat to Croatia, on a train journey from Bath Spa to Chippenham.
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An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest… not forgetting his time at ASDA.