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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 May 2006, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Sex conviction quashed by judges
A sex offender had his latest child molestation conviction quashed when the appeal court ruled evidence against him had been "contaminated".

Clifford Card, 60, of Kent Square, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, was found guilty at Norwich Crown Court in April last year of sexually assaulting a boy.

But Judge Sir Igor Judge said there were concerns the boy may have been told what to say by his mother.

Card has previous convictions for child abuse dating back to 1975.

Sir Igor, sitting with Mr Justice Mackay and Mr Justice Gross, said a new trial would be "inappropriate", adding the Crown did not seek one.

'Conviction unsafe'

Card had been acquitted of the same charge in relation to the boy's sister, by direction of the judge at the end of the prosecution case.

Sir Igor said both children let it be known that their mother - who later denied it - had told them what to say and had told them she was sexually abused in the past, giving details of the way she supposedly had been touched.

"We have concluded that this conviction is unsafe and must be quashed," Sir Igor said.

He said Card had previous convictions for very serious sexual offences involving both boys and girls - offences which dated back to 1975 and included rape and indecent assault.

The convictions were revealed to the Norwich jury at the time of the case on the grounds that they were relevant to his "propensity to commit offences of the kind with which he was charged".

But, Sir Igor said, the law which allowed the convictions to be revealed also said a trial judge must order a defendant to be acquitted, or discharge the jury and order a retrial, if the judge later was satisfied there had been important contamination of the evidence.

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