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Robbery trial abandoned after witness points finger at juror instead

Hamilton sheriff court in Lanarkshire
Hamilton sheriff court, Lanarkshire - PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo/https://www.alamy.com

A suspected robber has walked free from court after a witness claimed a male juror looked like the culprit instead.

Francis McGuire, 39, was accused of targeting homes across Lanarkshire and Glasgow between November 2021 and February 2022, taking £60,000 worth of valuables.

One woman said she had jewellery including a 24-carat gold diamond ring taken from her home. An Audi car, jewellery and cash were also reported stolen in other raids, which were suspected to be linked to organised crime.

Mr McGuire was arrested and went on trial at Hamilton sheriff court, where he denied carrying out the raids.

The case against him collapsed when one witness whose house was broken into said a juror resembled one of three masked men who threatened him.

Maciej Lachowicz, a businessman, had £8,000 worth of valuables and his car keys taken when raiders targeted his home in Glasgow.

One of Mr Lachowicz’s neighbours said they had seen him dragged from the property by three men, one of whom was brandishing a hammer, before the group fled.

But Mr Lachowicz did not identify Mr McGuire in the dock and instead pointed the finger towards a juror, which sparked baffled looks in court.

He said: “He is very like one of these three people.”

Following the incident, the prosecutor, Aga Mathieson, told the court she was no longer seeking a conviction and the sheriff, John Speir, told Mr McGuire that he was free to go.

It is believed the juror in question is not under any investigation. The Crown Office has been approached for comment.