A COUNCILLOR is to undergo a second retrial for a case of indecent assault after a similar charge against him was dismissed yesterday.

The Durham Crown Court trial of Harry Devine, 54, an independent member of Easington District Council, was stopped on its fourth day.

He was accused of indecently assaulting a 12-year-old girl in Bridlington, east Yorkshire, last April.

Mr Devine was also facing a retrial on a previous indecent assault charge, alleged to have been committed on an 11-year-old girl in 2002.

The case came to an end yesterday on the direction of Judge Richard Lowden, following the evidence of the alleged victim in the Bridlington case.

During her police interview, she said Mr Devine stroked her leg, but in cross-examination via video link last week, she said she made up that part of her evidence.

But she said Mr Devine offered her £10 to go back to his hotel room.

Judge Lowden told the jury yesterday: "You will recall her evidence that the leg-touch did not happen. She mentioned the defendant had asked her back to his hotel.

"The prosecution have concluded there is insufficient evidence to justify the allegation of indecent assault.

"Taking her back to his hotel may be an offence. Nevertheless, it is not the offence of indecent assault, with which he is charged.

"Having regard to what you have heard, I cannot see how you can now disregard it and safely reach a verdict on the other count. If there is going to be another trial, it will be tried before another jury.

It is regrettable, but justice must be fair."

On the judge's direction a formal not guilty verdict was returned on the Bridlington indecent assault charge, and Judge Lowden discharged them from returning a verdict on the other allegation.

Mr Devine, of Salter's Lane, Wingate, County Durham, was remanded in custody pending a retrial on the original indecency allegation.