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Crown’s Attempt To Rely On Previous Charges Refused

HMA v Laurence Ogilvie 2020

Mr Ogilvie has successfully fought against the Crown’s attempt to lead evidence in his summary matter where he was charged with a statutory breach of the peace that he had previously assaulted one of the complainers.

The Sheriff ruled that any such attempt would be “prejudicial” and would not be needed to prove the charge at hand. The sheriff upheld the accused’s preliminary plea that the Crown’s approach was not competent. The case which was heard at a summary level has now been issued with a written judgment but the sheriff stating: “In the present case, the proposed evidence is intended by the Crown to provide a basis for one of the complainers to justify his likely evidence of real fear and alarm said to result from the conduct libelled.

The Crown says that the complainers had good reason to be afraid of the accused because he seriously assaulted one of them in 2017. The Crown approach is therefore misconceived. The 2017 incident does not form part of the course of conduct alleged in this case. What is required by section 39(2) is that the course of conduct, not an extraneous incident, caused fear and alarm to the complainer. Accordingly, it is not relevant to the charge on the complaint that there was a prior incident some two years previously. The 2017 incident is collateral and so is inadmissible.” The case continues without such evidence being led by the crown at any future trial.

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