Lancashire TelegraphJury discharged in rape trial of former Blackburn police inspector (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Jury discharged in rape trial of former Blackburn police inspector

THE jury in the trial of a former Blackburn police inspector accused of raping two women has been discharged.

Judge Heather Lloyd, sitting at Preston Crown Court, told the 12 jurors yesterday that the case could no longer continue because of legal issues.

Mustaq Patala, 37, had been charged with 14 counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault and another of perverting the course of justice.

He was facing trial alongside Arif Patala, 35, and Nighat Anwar, 34, both of Blackburn, who were accused of perverting the course of justice. All three denied all allegations.

The trial had been in progress for around five weeks.

Judge Lloyd told the jury there had been problems because information had not been disclosed by the prosecution in advance to the defence.

She said: “The prosecution accept that there have been some failings in the disclosure process.

“This is not a decision I take lightly. I am well aware that this will mean witnesses will have to give evidence once more.

“I am well aware it causes anxiety in each of the defendants. I am also well aware that each of the defendants must have a fair trial.”

It is expected a new trial will begin later in the year.

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