'No case to answer' - Norwich woman cleared of Gonzo's glass attack

Gonzo's Tea Room, London Street. Photo: Archant

Gonzo's Tea Room, London Street. Photo: Archant - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

A woman has been cleared of an attack which left another woman with glass in her eye and in need of stitches.

Rachel Bassett, of Unthank Road, was placed on trial after denying two counts relating to a fight in Gonzo's Tea Room in Norwich.

The incident saw the complainant suffer injuries to her eye and required 30 stitches to her face, the trial heard.

However, after the prosecution in effect disproved its own argument, the judge, Guy Ayers, ruled she Ms Bassett had "no case to answer" and directed the jury to find her not guilty.

While it was not disputed that there had been contact between the glass and the complainant's face, Mr Recorder Ayers told the jury that the only way they could convict Ms Bassett would be to prove she was not acting in self-defence.

And the only piece of evidence that gave a first-hand account of what happened was a witness statement brought forward by the Crown Prosecution Service itself - a statement from another pubgoer who witnessed the fight.

And in this statement, she said: "I do not believe Rachel hit out. From what I saw she was trying to move her away and was acting in self-defence."

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This evidence, Mr Recorder Ayers said, would make proving Ms Bassett's intent to the jury "insurmountable".

He said that in order to make a conviction, the prosecution would need to persuade the jury to ignore evidence that it had brought forward itself.

He said: "How can the prosecution invite you [the jury] to convict when their own witness thought that she was acting in self-defence?

"When a defendant raises the question of self-defence it is the prosecution that carries the burden to prove they are acting with intent."

The incident happened at around 11pm on October 27, 2018, following what was described as a "verbal altercation" between the two women.

Mr Recorder Ayers added: "There is no doubt the complainant suffered injuries because her head came into contact with a glass, but this does not automatically become a glassing.

"The CCTV does not help us with the mechanics of how it came into contact with her head."