An estate agent accused of threatening a client with a baseball bat was arrested on the day he was due to stand trial on suspicion of witness intimidation.
Richard Hall, 40, the owner of Brooklands estate agents in Newton-le-Willows, had been set to stand trial at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday accused of common assault and possession of an offensive weapon.
But the case had to be put back at the 11th hour after it was alleged that one of Hall’s associates attempted to intimidate a witness on Monday (December 16) – on the defendant’s behalf.
It is believed he was arrested at Liverpool Crown Court. Prosecutor David Watson said there was no option but to adjourn and that “clearly this potentially strikes right at the heart of this case”.
A spokesman for Merseyside Police confirmed Hall was last night being interviewed by detectives at a Merseyside police station.
He added: “Merseyside Police can confirm that a 40-year-old man from the Eccleston area of St Helens has been arrested on suspicion of interfering with a witness. He has been taken to a police station on Merseyside where he is currently being questioned.”
Hall was hit with the original charges following an altercation which started inside his work premises before spilling out onto the High Street, Newton-le-Willows, at about 2pm on July 10.
According to the alleged victim’s sister, the incident was sparked by an argument over a private rented house.
A police spokeswoman confirmed at the time that an allegation had been reported to officers of a “physical assault”.
She added: “Richard Charles Hall has been charged with a variety of offences following an incident at the Brooklands estate agents in Newton-le-Willows.”
In separate proceedings, Hall, of Oak Tree Road, Eccleston, also faces a charge of stealing a motor vehicle.
He was arrested in connection with that charge on August 8 following an alleged incident in March this year and is due to enter a plea before Liverpool Crown Court on January 15, 2014.
The adjourned trial was also listed for mention on the same date and Hall’s conditional bail extended.