Norwich man not guilty of harassment

A Norwich man has been cleared of harassing a former friend who is now seeing his ex-partner.

John Healy, 67, was charged with harassing Keith Cornish by contacting him at his place of work and verbally abusing him outside a snooker hall.

But magistrates at his trial in Norwich yesterday said that the prosecution had failed to make its case, and found him not guilty.

Outside the court, Mr Healy, from Barnes Close, Heartsease, said he was very pleased with the verdict, which he said was a 'very good result' for him.

The court had earlier heard from prosecutor Robert Barnwell that Mr Healy had abused Mr Cornish outside the Woodside snooker club on March 12, and phoned the Heartsease pub, where Mr Cornish worked as a cleaner, more than a dozen times, talking to the landlords about him.

Andrew and Caroline Carruthers, the landlords at the pub, both gave evidence at the trial, and said that a man with a Scottish accent - Mr Healy is a Scot - had phoned several times over a four-week period.

But neither of them could confirm that it was Mr Healy on the other end of the line, and the court heard there was no forensic evidence that Mr Healy had made the calls.

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Mr Cornish said that he and his friend, Mark Ebbage were at the Woodside snooker hall on March 12, and that Mr Healy had sworn at him outside the club and threatened that he was going to get it.

But Mr Ebbage, giving evidence, said he was not sure what words were exchanged, and said that his friend had started the conversation by referring to the alleged scratching of his car by Mr Healy.

Mr Barnwell told the court that there was bad blood between the two men, who had known each other for about 20 years, and that Mr Healy had been jailed over breaching a restraining order on his former partner, who was now seeing Mr Cornish, but that the order had since been discharged.

In a police interview following his arrest, Mr Healy denied the abuse outside the club, and said he rang the pub to make sure Mr Cornish was not there, as he did not want to bump into him, although they had once been mates.

For Mr Healy, Gavin Cowe said the incident outside the club was just a 'brief verbal tiff between two people who did not get on', and said there was no evidence that his client made the phone calls to the pub or how many calls were made.

Magistrates found Mr Healy not guilty but advised him that there was enough evidence to suggest that he should stay away from Mr Cornish in the future.