Wigan's week in court
The latest round-up of those who have appeared before Wigan magistrates and in the dock at crown court.
The family of a Wigan man due to stand trial on rape and drug-dealing charges, spoke of their relief after the case was withdrawn.
Zak Mortimer, 42, of Portland Street, Pemberton, made his first appearance before a Bolton Crown Court judge over the charges in February 2021 and entered three not guilty pleas. The seven-day trial was then subject to numerous delays, before a date of August 2023 was finally set for it to go ahead.
But on Friday, the dad-of-five was cleared of all charges after they were formally withdrawn.
The family member, who asked not to be named, said: “It has caused huge stress both to us and to Zak to have this hanging over us for so long.
"It has been hard on the kids especially.
"The oldest is six and the youngest is just a baby. Zak hasn’t coped – it’s stressed him out.
"We’re just relieved it’s all over after it went on for this long.”
A new date has been set for the trial of a Wigan borough man accused of a string of domestic abuse charges.
The case of 28-year-old Luke Coleman was due to be heard at Bolton Crown Court this month, but was adjourned and will now start on Monday, May 22.
It is expected to last for four days.
Coleman, formerly of Bond Street in Leigh and latterly of Valley View in Chorley, faces six allegations, including one of sexual assault between March 1 and 31, 2022 and coercive behaviour between October 1, 2020 and April 17, 2022.
There are four further charges, all of causing actual bodily harm, which are alleged to have happened on January 27, 2021, January 17, 2022, April 1 to 22, 2022 and April 22.
All the offences – which Coleman denies – are alleged to have been committed against the same woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
A Wigan man accused of attacking a police officer and a serious assault will have to wait a year to stand trial.
The case of Adam Bradburn, 30, of Christopher Street, Ince, was due to begin at Bolton Crown Court this month, but was adjourned by Recorder Andrew McLoughlin until January 9, 2024.
It is expected to last for four days.
Bradburn is accused of causing George Jones grievous bodily harm and assaulting PC Farrelly by beating on February 20, 2022.
A Wigan 41-year-old who admitted to stalking a woman for four months has been jailed.
Mark Vernal, of Dunbarton Green in Beech Hill, had previously appeared before borough justices to plead guilty to sending texts to Anna Taylor and turning up at her workplace between early December 2020 and April 18 2021.
He also admitted to breaching a suspended sentence, which had been handed down for a previous offence, by committing the crime.
When the time came for him to learn his fate, he failed to appear in the dock at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court and so an arrest warrant was issued by the bench.
A further hearing was held which he did attend and was given 18 weeks behind bars.
Vernal was also hit with a restraining order preventing him from having any contact with Ms Taylor until January 11 2025.
He must also pay £207 to victim services and in court costs.
A charge that Vernal caused Ms Taylor to fear that violence would be used against her, which he had denied, was dropped at the previous hearing when the prosecution did not offer any evidence.
The trial of a former Wigan local election candidate accused of harassment has been delayed until the summer.
Alan Baines, 65, of Alderley Road, Hindley, had previously appeared before local justices to deny a campaign of intimidation of Jason Metcalfe between April and September last year, namely that he repeatedly swore, laughed, shouted stared at him.
The case was moved to Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court where his trial had been due to take place in December.
But justices have now delayed the hearing until June 6. Baines is on bail until then although there is a list of people he must not contact or streets he must not visit during that time as part of the conditions.
Last month he was charged with breaching the bail conditions by contacting two of the named people but that offence has since been withdrawn.
He stood as an independent in May 2021’s council elections.
A Wigan man who admitted to launching an attack will learn his fate next month.
Andrew Littler, 49, of School Way, Wigan, had previously appeared before borough magistrates to plead guilty to the assault by beating of Peter Rosbotham on August 4 last year and to failing to answer police bail in November.
At the latest hearing he was released on bail, conditional that he has no contact with his victim, pending sentence at the same court on February 8.