Ryall case thrown out amid 'witchhunt' claim

THE case against a former housemaster at an approved school accused of child abuse has been thrown out by a judge.

Rod Ryall, the former social services director of Calderdale Council, walked from Teesside Crown Court amid criticism of the way police handled the case.

At the end of the prosecution case yesterday, Mr Ryall's barrister, Tania Griffiths QC, made submissions to have the case dismissed.

Ms Griffiths argued there had been an "abuse of process", and that Mr Ryall could not have received a fair trial.

She accused Durham Police of carrying out "a witch hunt" and "a trawling exercise" which she described as quite unforgivable.

She said Mr Ryall, 68, who now lives in Mirfield, had been targeted because of a conviction from 1988 concerning similar allegations.

Judge George Moorhouse threw out the case, agreeing with Ms Griffiths' lengthy submissions.

Mr Ryall's solicitor, Chris Saltrese, said outside court: "Our case was that the allegations were complete fabrications.

"The real story in this case is the laziness and incompetence of the police investigation.

"They have simply sought to rely on Mr Ryall's previous convictions and the prejudice that that invokes with members of the jury."