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Chingford man cleared of masterminding Cakes and Shakes shooting after juries fail to reach verdict

PUBLISHED: 17:12 13 December 2012 | UPDATED: 16:55 17 December 2012

James Bryant survived being shot at close range in November 2011.

James Bryant survived being shot at close range in November 2011.

Archant

A Chingford man was cleared of “masterminding” the plot to have the owner of Cakes and Shakes in Woodford Green shot dead for mocking him on Facebook today.

Romain Arthur, 23, of Hazel Way, was accused of enlisting 22-year-old Temidire Owolabi, of Chafford Hundred, to frighten businessman James Bryant, 24, after he dared to carry Arthur’s two-year-old son in public.

Owolabi was cleared of blowing out the windows of Mr Bryant’s Cakes and Shakes cafe, in High Road, with a shotgun on November 12.

Mr Bryant posted a mocking message on Facebook, reading: “You’re popping but no one’s dropping so you ain’t shooting right.”

Owolabi went to the cafe on November 14 and blasted the victim twice at point blank range with a semi-automatic pistol.

Mr Bryant spent two months in hospital and was lucky to survive the attack.

Arthur was accused of helping to plan the attempted killing, but was cleared after two successive juries failed to reach verdicts on a charge of conspiracy to murder.

Owolabi is already facing years behind bars after he was convicted of attempted murder at the conclusion of the first trial last May.

He was also cleared of conspiracy to murder.

Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC said: “As this jury may have guessed, their predecessors also couldn’t reach a verdict.

“There is a convention - not a law, but a convention - that dictates that unless there are exceptional circumstances the Crown shouldn’t have a further trial.

“There are no exceptional circumstances and therefore the only course we can take now is to offer no evidence on that count in respect of both defendants.”

Judge Peter Thornton QC ordered not guilty verdicts should be recorded on the conspiracy charge.

Owolabi will be sentenced on Monday, alongside Arthur, who has admitted possessing cocaine with intent to supply.

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