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Player is cleared of assault
9:00pm Friday 27th April 2012 in Malmesbury
The case against a rugby player accused of punching Minety flanker Lee Paterson in an off-the-ball ‘cheap shot’ has collapsed.
Daniel Reed was cleared of any wrongdoing after prosecutors offered no evidence on the fourth day of a trial at Swindon Crown Court.
The jury was ordered to return a verdict of not guilty on the 37-year-old, who was playing for Trowbridge second XV.
He had been facing a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm, which carries a maximum jail term of five years.
But after his defence team called independent witnesses, who gave evidence saying they had not seen Reed land a punch, the Crown dropped its case.
Reed, of Warminster Lane, Westbury, had pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The number eight was turning out for Trowbridge seconds in a Dorset & Wilts Division 1 North match away at Minety in April last year.
The game had been littered with incidents before referee David Wicks abandoned it a few minutes shy of half-time, with Minety leading 14-7.
Earlier, Mr Paterson had been knocked unconscious following a ruck near the Trowbridge try line.
Teammates and supporters of the home club claim they saw the visitors’ number eight land a fierce roundhouse punch from behind, which decked the flanker.
But Reed insisted he had stepped in to get Mr Pater-son off a smaller Trowbridge player who he was punching, and any injury took place in the hurly burly of the game.