OAP’s trial is ad­journed

The Oban Times - - News -

A RE­TIRED po­lice of­fi­cer has de­nied six charges, in­clud­ing swing­ing a chainsaw with its en­gine run­ning while star­ing at neigh­bours, ut­ter­ing threats and shout­ing of­fen­sive re­marks, and star­ing at the head teacher of the vil­lage pri­mary school in an in­tim­i­dat­ing man­ner, which all al­legedly took place af­ter a fam­ily fall­ing-out.

Thomas Al­lan Kir­sop, 76, of Bru­dair, North Bal­lachul­ish, also de­nies en­gag­ing in con­duct which caused a hus­band and wife fear and alarm by fol­low­ing the wife’s car, pulling along­side; bang­ing into her at the vil­lage pri­mary school; send­ing an anony­mous let­ter con­tain­ing a news­pa­per clip­ping; plac­ing signs with an of­fen­sive slo­gan on a bound­ary fence.

The of­fences are al­leged to have taken place be­tween Jan­uary 1, 2015 and May 29, 2016.

Kir­sop also pleaded not guilty to be­hav­ing in a threat­en­ing or abu­sive man­ner on Septem­ber 7, 2014, out­side an Onich ad­dress by shout­ing, swear­ing and ut­ter­ing of­fen­sive re­marks to­wards the house­holder; re­peat­edly park­ing out­side a lo­cal vil­lage store and star­ing at the oc­cu­pants in an in­tim­i­dat­ing man­ner, and on Au­gust 28, 2015, in Gle­nahul­ish, shout­ing, swear­ing and ut­ter­ing of­fen­sive re­marks to a man who lived there.

Dur­ing the jury trial the hus­band told the court that Kir­sop had turned against them af­ter an­other mem­ber of the fam­ily ‘ac­cused me of pinch­ing a child’s go-kart seat’.

He said an anony­mous let­ter ar­rived con­tain­ing a news­pa­per cut­ting about a buggy stolen from a course.

‘My wife recog­nised the hand­writ­ing,’ he said, adding that ‘it was prob­a­bly try­ing to re­late some­thing to do with a go-kart’.

The man, who lives in the prop­erty ad­join­ing Kir­sop’s, said he found a sign on the bound­ary be­tween their homes which read: ‘keep out snakes, ly­ing rats and slugs’. He said: ‘I wanted to take it down be­fore my son saw it. I pulled it off with a crow­bar’.

When cross-ex­am­ined by Clare Rus­sell, Kir­sop’s solic­i­tor, the man ad­mit­ted that dur­ing one of the con­fronta­tions he had ‘gen­tly pushed’ Kir­sop.

‘A lot of what you have told us is as­sump­tion; you are as­sum­ing he put the sign up. You are as­sum­ing he sent the let­ter,’ she said.

Kir­sop did not give ev­i­dence at the trial but his wife and daugh­ter did.

Mrs Mairi Kir­sop said that re­la­tions be­tween the two fam­i­lies had been ‘very con­vivial’ at first but ‘there was a fam­ily dis­pute over a go-kart and the re­la­tion­ship changed com­pletely’.

The cou­ple’s daugh­ter said the in­ci­dent where her fa­ther al­legedly banged into the woman – who is her sis­ter-in-law – did not hap­pen in the way that had been stated. She said: ‘ She lunged across the pave­ment and rammed into my dad’s shoul­der. I was hor­ri­fied. Speech­less.’

Kir­sop’s wife spoke of ‘a con­tin­ual on­slaught [from the other fam­ily] which is af­fect­ing us so badly’.

When po­lice called at their home about the chainsaw, she said: ‘I was stunned be­cause of the al­le­ga­tions made against him; that he was bran­dish­ing a chainsaw. I was in the gar­den close to him.’ She told the court that her hus­band had been cut­ting down over­grown shrub­bery.

A woman who vis­ited the cou­ple with her young child told the court she saw Kir­sop ‘fac­ing into [their] gar­den just hold­ing a chainsaw with it run­ning. He was just stood at the hedge. I looked and I waved but he didn’t ac­knowl­edge.’

She said: ‘I knew there was an­i­mos­ity be­tween the two fam­i­lies. It didn’t seem right what Mr Kir­sop was do­ing. I thought he might be do­ing it to try and an­noy them.’

The head teacher of St Bride’s Pri­mary in North Bal­lachul­ish also gave ev­i­dence at the trial. She told the court: ‘When a child doesn’t feel con­fi­dent enough to walk out of the school gate and go home it is wor­thy of note and I took a pro­fes­sional de­ci­sion the po­lice should be no­ti­fied of this.’

The court heard that Kir­sop had been wait­ing out­side the school to col­lect an­other pupil but did not leave and stood star­ing when the other child came out.

Watch­ing from in­side the school, the head teacher said: ‘The child was stand­ing still and seemed anx­ious. He was look­ing at Mr Kir­sop and Mr Kir­sop had fo­cused on the child.’ She went out­side to ask the child to go home. She said: ‘He was not for mov­ing; he was not go­ing home.’

The child stepped slightly be­hind her and Kir­sop con­tin­ued to stand and stare at them both. As Kir­sop left, he kept turn­ing round and look­ing back. ‘I stood my ground at the gate,’ she said, adding that this was the ‘cul­mi­na­tion of months and months’ of staff hav­ing to mon­i­tor and make sure there was a gap be­tween the times pupils left the school.

But Kir­sop’s solic­i­tor said he had been read­ing the school no­tice board and talk­ing to the child he had col­lected.

Sher­iff Wil­liam Tay­lor QC has now heard the pros­e­cu­tion and de­fence cases; the trial was ad­journed un­til June 12 when each will give their clos­ing sub­mis­sions and he will give his ver­dict.

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