Not guilty of caus­ing fear or alarm

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

AN ARIVEGAIG man was found not guilty of caus­ing fear or alarm to a neigh­bour­ing cou­ple in a dis­pute over ac­cess and park­ing rights af­ter a prose­cu­tion wit­ness failed to pro­vide suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence at Fort Wil­liam Sher­iff Court on Thurs­day July 20.

Sher­iff Eilidh MacDon­ald had al­ready sat through the long cross- ex­am­i­na­tion of one wit­ness, Sean Reid, of Mac­neil’s Croft, Arivegaig, Achar­a­cle, which in­cluded viewing video footage from CCTV se­cu­rity cam­eras, as part of the trial of An­thony Brian Smith, 55, of Ful­nafern Croft, Arivegaig.

Smith had pleaded not guilty to charges that, on var­i­ous oc­ca­sions dur­ing Fe­bru­ary last year, he en­gaged in con­duct which caused fear or alarm to Mr Reid, 53, and his part­ner, Mairi McLean, 42, by driv­ing a ve­hi­cle up to Mr Reid’s croft and star­ing at him and Ms McLean; park­ing his car out­side Mr Reid’s croft; per­sis­tently loi­ter­ing in the vicin­ity of Mr Reid’s croft and in­ten­tion­ally di­rect­ing two of his goats to­wards the vicin­ity of Mr Reid’s prop­erty.

Dur­ing cross- ex­am­i­na­tion, Smith’s de­fence agent, Ger­ard Sweeney, ac­cused Mr Reid of ly­ing and that his al­le­ga­tions against his client were ma­li­cious.

Mr Reid de­nied this and told the court Smith’s be­hav­iour on the oc­ca­sions in ques­tion had caused him anx­i­ety and stress: ‘He had no rea­son for do­ing that other than try­ing to in­tim­i­date me,’ said Mr Reid.

The court heard there was a his­tory of bad feel­ing stem­ming from dis­agree­ments over the use of an ac­cess track and park­ing rights. The court also heard there had al­ready been a le­gal in­ter­dict forc­ing Mr Reid to re­move two of his CCTV cam­eras.

Mr Reid runs a hol­i­day rental busi­ness from his croft, com­pris­ing a house and three static car­a­vans, and Smith is a near neigh­bour.

Mr Sweeney told Mr Reid: ‘The com­plaints you are mak­ing are en­tirely ma­li­cious be­cause they are based on a dis­pute you have with your neigh­bour in re­la­tion to your use of an ac­cess track and turn­ing point. These are false and ma­li­cious al­le­ga­tions against Mr Smith.’

‘I’m not ly­ing,’ replied Mr Reid, who main­tained the es­tate which owned the turn­ing area had given him con­sent to park a ve­hi­cle there as long as it did not block its use by other peo­ple.

Mr Reid’s part­ner, Ms McLean, was called as a wit­ness.

The laun­derette owner, from Achar­a­cle, con­firmed she had spo­ken to the po­lice on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions about Smith.

But she was un­able to be any more spe­cific in her ev­i­dence about her com­plaints, leav­ing procu­ra­tor fis­cal David Mor­ton with lit­tle op­tion but to in­form the court the Crown was no longer for­mally seek­ing a con­vic­tion in the case and Smith was found not guilty by the sher­iff.

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