A MAN accused of manslaughter has been acquitted after a decision was taken to offer no further evidence against him. 

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Mark Russell, 27, was found not guilty of the charge on Thursday as his trial - which began earlier this week at Carlisle Crown Court - took a dramatic and decisive twist. 

Mr Russell had denied an allegation of manslaughter following the death of 44-year-old Gordon Smith in Windermere. 

Mr Smith, a hotel worker, was pronounced dead at the scene of an incident which took place during the early hours of 1 July last year. 

The case had been opened to a jury of seven men and five women who also heard evidence from a prosecution witness. 

But during cross-examination of that witness earlier on Thursday, prosecutor Mr Francis McEntee asked the court to rise. 

Mr McEntee returned a short time later, and said a view had been taken that the prosecution could not proceed. 

Mr McEntee stated that no further evidence was being offered against Mr Russell. 

As a result, Judge Peter Davies directed the jury to acquit him of the manslaughter charge. 

Mr Russell, from Windermere, was then told he could leave the court dock. 

As the case reached its conclusion, Judge Davies told the court it had been a tragedy for all concerned. 

A CPS spokesperson said afterwards: "On a close examination of developments in the evidence following the cross-examination of the principal witness during the trial, the view was taken that the prosecution could not proceed. 

"We decided that the defendant could no longer receive a fair trial so offered no further evidence, resulting in the judge directing that the defendant was acquitted of the offence of manslaughter."