Not guilty of causing fear or alarm
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.