Charges dropped after prosecutors struggle to organise key witness
1:30pm Tuesday 29th January 2013 in Latest News
PROSECUTORS have dropped the charges against a man accused of stealing from a service station where he worked after hearing the boss had moved away.
Hassan Ibrahim, of Walcot, was said to have pocketed cash from Bridge Filling Station in Marlborough.
But the Crown offered no evidence against the 40-year-old, saying they were having trouble organising the key witness.
Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court that the garage’s owner, Zubair Dean, had emigrated to Thailand.
He said that while they had spoken to his son, who now runs the business, it was not clear if his dad would be available to give evidence.
“Mr Dean may be willing to give evidence from Bangkok, which is not unreasonable, but the date of trial is inconvenient as his wife is due to give birth,” said Mr Meeke. “We have tried to get in contact with him but have not established Mr Dean will attend to give evidence in this trial.
“It is not a case where his statement can be read. It is not a case where the Crown will proceed further.”
Judge Douglas Field entered a formal not guilty verdict.
Ibrahim, of Drayton Walk, Walcot, had denied a single count of theft.
It was alleged he had stolen thousands from the service station where he worked between November 2011 and April 11 last year.
Bridge Garage, which until recently had the monopoly on petrol sales in Marlborough, often charged some of the highest fuel prices in the UK.
In 2005 Dean was convicted of short selling, cheating customers out of about 2p a litre, for the second time in a year. He had also tampered with seals on the pumps and was ordered to pay more than £20,000 in fines and costs.