A former policeman, who admitted punching a man in the face in a row over noise, has been cleared of wounding with intent by a jury.
Robin Mullett always maintained he was acting in self defence when he punched Robert Cummings at the front door to Mr Cummings’ mother Laura’s house in Church Road, Rowley Regis.
Mr Mullett said he had gone to the home to ‘frighten’ Mr Cummings to stop the noise on December 22 last year.
However, a jury was told Mr Cummings ran down the flat stairs to the front door and grabbed Mr Mullett by the neck before curling up his right fist.
After being hit by Mr Mullett, Mr Cummings fell to the floor and suffered a gash to his head and injuries to his arm and chin. He claimed he was stamped on by Mr Mullett and his sister Nicola Mullett.
But the siblings denied they stamped on him and, following a nine-day trial at Birmingham Crown Court, the pair were cleared of wounding with intent by a majority verdict from a jury of seven men and five woman yesterday.
The pair were also found not guilty of assaulting Mr Cummings’ mother. Miss Mullett was also cleared of assaulting Mrs Cummings’ boyfriend, who was at the scene.
As the verdicts were read out by the jury foreman, Miss Mullett sighed in relief and sobbed as Mr Mullett wrapped his arm around her in the courtroom dock.
Outside the court, Mr Mullett, aged 40, of Highting Close in Stourport, told of his anger at the allegations against him and his sister. He said: “The allegations made by Robert Cummings, Laura Cummings and her boyfriend have been very damaging and the past 18 months have been very testing.
“We are so relieved this is over and we can move on. It is so frustrating when your integrity and honesty is scrutinised in such a public way, and your reputation and liberty are at stake.
“Thankfully, the jury could see straight through these false accusations, lies, evidential inconsistencies and exaggerated statements made by Cummings and his family. We are so happy that justice has been done.”
Miss Mullett, aged 47, of Brockmoor, Brierley Hill, sobbed as she said: “I just want our lives to go back to normal.”
Mr Mullett served in the Army in Northern Island, Oman, Egypt and Hong Kong from 1992 to 1998. He joined West Midlands Police in 1998 and was based in Wolverhampton. After leaving he has worked as a plasterer, but is now a driving instructor.
Yesterday, before the recorder finished summing up, the jury asked when self-defence became assault.
Recorder Simon Draycott QC said: “A person is entitled to use reasonable force to defend himself – it is for you to decide what is reasonable force. It means not going completely over the top. Here you may conclude that if the defendant honestly believed he needed to use force then a punch or punches is a responsible response.”