Man cleared of burglary charge

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A MAN accused of a burglary has been cleared after a judge described the pre-trial process as “complete disaster”.

A Teesside Crown Court jury recorded a not guilty verdict on Alan Corbett who was due to stand trial accused of breaking into a house in Park Road, Hartlepool.

Jury members were sworn in, but at the last minute, the prosecution offered no evidence against Mr Corbett, 50, of the town’s Kerr Grove.

Recorder Jeremy Barnett told the court that the owner of the house, who was burgled around 3am on July 31, had given a “viper identification”.

Viper identification is where suspects are shown on video footage, rather than in a traditional identity parade.

Recorder Barnett told the jury: “There’s been something very wrong in the pre-trial process here, because the defence say ‘that wasn’t me - if I was picked out it was a mistake’.”

The court heard that the defence did not receive the DVD footage until Monday, when the trial was due to start, and Mr Corbett had moved position in the parade.

Recorder Barnett said: “It’s a complete disaster.”

He said there would be an investigation into “how there can be such a failure of the pre-trial process”.