Officer's bottom touching was 'reckless but not a clear-cut sex assault', trial sheriff rules
04 Sep 2017
An officer who left his hand under the bottom of a female colleague as she sat down on a chair has been cleared of a sexual assault on a technical definition of the law.
Trial: Edinburgh Sheriff Court
Police Constable Brian King was said to have touched the woman in front of 15 fellow officers as the pair sat in the Muster Room at Police Scotland’s Fettes police station during a shift changeover.
PC King was seen to motion for the woman officer to sit next to him by rubbing the seat but as she approached the chair he was said to have turned his hand over and wiggled his fingers in a provocative manner.
The female PC, who is in her 30s, said she believed Mr King would pull his hand away but as she sat down she found his hand still underneath her.
A trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard the 52-year-old officer's stunt had left her “humiliated and embarrassed”.
But Sheriff Adrian Cottam said he was not satisfied an attack had taken place.
PC King had denied making any gesture and claimed he was only spinning the seat round for the woman to sit on during the incident on January 18 last year.
The woman said she believed PC King had assaulted her but the case against PC King was found to be 'not proven'.
However, in clearing PC King of assaulting the woman, Sheriff Cottam told the officer he was “rejecting your explanation of how things happened” and he was accepting “almost entirely the evidence of the complainer”.
But he added: “I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt there was an attack on the complainer.
“I am not satisfied it would be an assault for a person to leave their hand on a chair for a clothed person to sit on – it might be reckless at best.”