Attraction owner is cleared over sex charges
Secret Bunker owner walks free after trial hears talk of ‘ghosts’
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.