Sheriff tells top brief exemplary service was marred by error of judgment
A TOP prosecutor was fined £700 yesterday for threatening one of his husband’s hair salon beauticians with deportation.
David Wilkie-Thorburn’s 18 years’ unblemished service with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) is now in ruins. He was found guilty of sending a raciallyaggravated, menacing message to Venda Rodrigues claiming he could get her expelled from the UK.
But when she took the Facebook Messenger threat to police, Wilkie-Thorburn, 52, assistant procurator fiscal for Grampian, Highlands and Islands, found himself in the dock.
He was accused of sending a message of “grossly offensive or indecent, obscene or menacing character” on April 7 last year.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard his husband Neil feared losing Venda, who hired a chair in his salon, to a rival outfit next door.
Neil Wilkie-Thorburn, 58, runs Wilks Hair Studio in the city’s Huntly Street.
He was angry when nail technicians, sisters Katty and Merlin Ramos, walked out and launched K&M Nails next door.
Venda, who came from India to join her husband Milton in Aberdeen, also
BY CHARLIE GALL [email protected]lyrecord.co.uk told him she was quitting to join the Ramos sisters.
Venda, 39, said she was scared to leave because of Neil’s reaction.
In a 1.22am message, which the defence didn’t dispute was sent by David, he told Venda: “I don’t know if you know what I do but it might be informative for you to know I am the head of prosecution in Grampian.”
He said he had responsibility for making prosecutions for the HMRC and serious fraud and immigration cases.
He also claimed he could make recommendations on who should get expelled from the country. Venda said: “This has affected me as a mother – I have four children and in those months I felt sick with worry. He got what he deserved and he should lose his job for abusing his power.”
David Moggach, defending Wilkie-Thorburn, said he would almost certainly lose his job.
Sheriff Ian Duguid said Wilkie-Thorburn’s “exemplary character” over 18 years service had been marred by “an error of judgment”. He said the fine would have been £500 had it not been for the raciallymotivated element.
Wilkie-Thorburn declined to comment.
The COPFS said they were committed to effective, rigorous and fair prosecution and would take appropriate action where there is sufficient evidence of a crime. It added that the matter was now subject to internal disciplinary procedures.
GUILTY David Wilkie-Thorburn, above, and husband Neil at salon SCARED Venda Rodrigues, above, and Katty Ramos
RIVAL SALON Merlin Ramos set up shop next door