Four police officers standing trial over the death of a man in custody were cleared yesterday after a judge ruled police station CCTV evidence was unsafe.
Michael Powell, aged 38, died after he was detained outside his home in Lozells, Birmingham, on September 7, 2003, and taken to nearby Thornhill Road police station.
It is claimed that officers based at the police station assaulted the factory worker before colleagues restrained him excessively. It is also alleged a number of officers failed to act when his health deteriorated.
Yesterday, four of ten West Midlands Police officers on trial at Leicester Crown Court were found not guilty on the directions of Deputy High Court Judge Sir Douglas Brown.
Previously, the jury has considered recordings taken from a camera in the custody suite at Thornhill at the time Mr Powell was taken in.
Pc Lee Howard, Pc Andrew Edwards, Pc Luke Gill and Sergeant David Williams were all charged with misconduct in a public office for allegedly failing to deal with Mr Powell's deteriorating condition when he was taken into custody. They denied the charges.
Directing the jury to acquit the men, the judge told them: "I will say very little about that except that it's almost entirely based on consideration of the audio tape and the various interpretations of it.
"And I have ruled that the tape is in such a condition and the interpretations put in the transcript are so lacking in reliability, that you will not be troubled with them and they will be taken from you.
"Equally, and as far as the defendants are concerned probably more importantly, in relation to counts ... involving Lee Howard, Andrew Edwards, Luke Gill and David Williams, their cases should be withdrawn from your consideration."
The same charges were dropped against Pc Nigel Hackett, who still faces the allegation that he excessively restrained Mr Powell on the night in question.
The judge also directed the withdrawal of one of a number of charges faced by Acting Sergeant Christopher Wilson and Inspector Tony Guest.
Allegations that the two senior officers failed to ensure Mr Powell was taken to hospital were struck off.
The trial was adjourned until today.
PCs Tim Lewis and David Hadley have pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving and battery.
Eight officers - Acting Sgt Wilson, Insp Guest, PC Steven Hollyman, PC Hackett, PC Gill, PC Howard, PC Edwards and Sgt Williams - previously entered pleas of not guilty to charges of misconduct in a public office.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission has been overseeing the investigation.