Judges quash PC’s assault conviction 1996
A POLICEMAN who faced three months in jail for attacking a youth in a cell was allowed to go free yesterday after appeal judges quashed his conviction.
Mr Colin Leask, 30, of Holburn Street, in Aberdeen, who holds a karate black belt, was convicted of assaulting Mr Kevin McGeachy, 19, in Grampian Police headquarters in July last year by kicking him, punching him, and throwing him to the ground.
The constable had denied the offence when he went to trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court earlier this year, but was found guilty by Sheriff Graeme Warner and sentenced to three months.
His counsel, Ms Margaret Scott, said discrepancies in the evidence of the two main Crown witnesses, Mr McGeachy and a police sergeant, were so significant and grave that the sheriff was not entitled to find the necessary corroboration.
She pointed out to the Justiciary Appeal Court that the sheriff had preferred the evidence of the sergeant that the youth was standing as still as a statue at the time of the incident, evidence which was contradicted by Mr McGeachy himself.
Mr Leask told the court he had used a martial arts technique against the youth after seeing him put something in his mouth which he feared he planned to swallow. Mr McGeachy had been detained on suspicion of possessing drugs and was being strip searched in the cell at the time.
Lord Justice General, Lord Hope, heard the appeal with Lord Weir and Lord Cameron.
Lord Hope said it was clear the sheriff had preferred the police sergeant’s version of what took place at the vital moment before the incident. “But what appears to us to be missing is an explanation why the sheriff took that view,” said Lord Hope.
Thanks to Kendal for updating this story.