Paedo let off after jury numbers error
by Mark Smith
A man found guilty of sexually abusing a four-year-old girl had his conviction quashed yesterday after an appeal court ruled too many women were on the trial jury.
John Brown, 50, was jailed for two years after a jury of 12 women and three men found him guilty of indecent offences against the girl from age four to nine.
Brown's legal team called for the trial at Glasgow's Sheriff Court to be postponed until there was a full panel of 60 jurors to choose from. On the day there were just 22 jurors available - 15 women and seven men.
Brown's team argued that the trial would be unfair because of the selection and make-up of the jury.
But judge Sheriff Andrew Normand rejected their motion and Brown, from Glasgow, was found guilty of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices on 14 January 2004. He was placed on the Sex Offender's Register and spent a period in prison before being released on interim bail pending the outcome of his appeal.
Yesterday three appeal court judges at Perth Sheriff Court overturned the ruling. Lord Gill, Lord Justice Clerk, said: "The ballot was unsatisfactory and the sheriff should have recognised that."
But the decision sparked fury last night, with SNP Justice spokesman Kenny MacAskill saying: "This smacks of political correctness gone mad."
The Crown can lodge an appeal against the ruling.
"Lets take this bull by the horns and swing it about a bit" - Kirk