At­trac­tion owner is cleared over sex charges

Se­cret Bunker owner walks free af­ter trial hears talk of ‘ghosts’

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - Paul ma­lik pa­ma­lik@the­

The owner of Fife tourist at­trac­tion Scot­land’s Se­cret Bunker has walked free from court af­ter be­ing ac­quit­ted of sex­ual as­sault charges.

James Mitchell told The Courier he had gone through “the worst two years of my life” as he left Dundee Sher­iff Court a free man on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

The trial had pre­vi­ously heard Mitchell blamed “a ghost” for grab­bing one of the al­leged vic­tims by the leg.

Mitchell, 58, of Main Street, Lower Largo, Fife, de­nied one charge of sex­ual as­sault and three un­der the Sex­ual Of­fences (Scot­land) Act 2009 and stood trial over five days.

Yes­ter­day, a jury found Mitchell guilty of as­sault­ing one girl.

How­ever, be­cause the jury found the al­le­ga­tions in­volv­ing the sec­ond girl not proven and the case re­lied on both of­fences be­ing proven be­yond a rea­son­able doubt for a con­vic­tion on ei­ther, a sher­iff was forced to ac­quit him of all the charges.

Sher­iff Alas­tair Carmichael told Mitchell: “The jury has found you guilty of one charge and not proven on the sec­ond. There is in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to find you guilty. You are free to go.”

The Fife tourist at­trac­tion owner had been ac­cused of tar­get­ing two then­teenage girls, who can­not be named for le­gal rea­sons, in sep­a­rate in­ci­dents span­ning a four-year pe­riod.

The case caused a stir when po­lice sergeant Kevin Petrie told ju­rors Mitchell said “a ghost had touched her leg” when he was quizzed about one sup­posed vic­tim.

The of­fi­cer gave ev­i­dence af­ter the woman told the court Mitchell had en­tered her room as she slept then put his hand un­der cov­ers and touched her leg be­fore sneak­ing out.

Mr Petrie said he asked Mitchell: “What were you told or what do you think hap­pened?”

The of­fi­cer said Mitchell replied: “It was that long ago but some­body touched her leg. It was sup­posed to be a ghost be­cause my daugh­ter has seen ghosts in the place.

“We have had seances and lots of spir­i­tual peo­ple in — spir­i­tual peo­ple come all the time.

“There was sup­posed to be ghosts. That’s what I heard. A ghost had touched her leg.”

When the of­fi­cer put it to him that the al­leged vic­tim woke when she felt her leg be­ing touched, saw the busi­ness­man and watched as he left the bed­room, Mitchell replied: “Pid­dle. Ab­so­lute rub­bish. That is an ab­so­lute out­right lie.”

Mitchell later added that the bunker was “pitch black” and so dark the vic­tim could not have seen what she told po­lice she had seen.

A sher­iff cleared James Mitchell, owner of Scot­land’s Se­cret Bunker, of sex­ual as­sault charges against two then­teenage girls.

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