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15 June 2015, 15:16
A former police officer has been cleared of sexually abusing two women in separate incidents while he was on duty.
Mark Docherty, 37, from Greenock, walked free from court after the charges against him were dropped by the Crown.
He had denied pretending to find Diazepam on a 37-year-old mother-of-one and then forcing her to perform a sex act on him by threatening to have her child taken off her.
The offence was alleged to have taken place on April 3, 2010, at a common close in Argyle Street, Paisley.
He also denied indecently assaulting another woman during a drug search at Maxwellton Street, Paisley, on September 19, 2010.
It had been alleged that both incidents took place while Mr Docherty was a serving police office on patrol in uniform.
After hearing from the 37-year-old who gave a different account of the alleged sexual assault in court from what she had told in police statement, advocate depute Tim Niven-Smith decided to halt the trial.
The jury also heard that during an identification parade held prior to the trial she had picked out a stand-in and not the accused.
Mr Niven-Smith told judge Lord Bonomy: "Having regard to the evidence we have heard. I am withdrawing the charge. It would not be proper, having regard to the quality of the evidence the jury heard to do otherwise."
The court was told the second charge relied on the first for corroboration and it too was withdrawn.
Lord Bonomy told Mr Docherty: "I acquit you of both charges."
He then turned to the jury and said: "This is a highly unusual set of circumstances. The advocate depute has taken the decision he could not ask you to accept the evidence of the woman you have just heard in this case.
"There is no corrobation for the charges other than the similarity of both cases. Both have to be proved or both collapse.
"I consider that the advocate depute has taken the correct course of action."