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Dundee police perjury trial is paused for nine months

Dundee Sheriff Court.
Dundee Sheriff Court.

A police perjury trial taking place in Dundee has been paused for a “generally unacceptable” period of nine months.

Sheriff Ian Duguid confirmed on Friday that the trial of PCs Steven Harker and Gordon Butchart has been adjourned until the middle of October.

Constables Steven Harker and Gordon Butchart are accused of assaulting Michael Wallace at his Dunfermline home and later lying about it in court.

At Mr Wallace’s trial in June 2019, both officers gave evidence as witnesses and said Mr Wallace received a head injury after deliberately butting a wall.

But now it is alleged they assaulted him and tried to cover their tracks.

Harker, 36, and Butchart, 31, whose addresses are listed as Police Scotland’s Professional Standards Department in Glasgow, deny assaulting Mr Wallace in November 2018 and committing perjury at Dunfermline Sheriff Court the following year.

The trial began at Dundee Sheriff Court on Tuesday and four days of evidence has been heard.

However, prosecutor James Dunbar explained on Friday that the Crown still intend to hear evidence from two police witnesses, a professor and three civilians.

He expects the trial to take approximately another week.

‘Generally unacceptable’ adjournment

The Sheriff adjourned the case until October 17.

He said: “I fully appreciate it’s a long period of adjournment.

“I recognise that that is generally unacceptable.”

The delay in proceedings was forced due to the diary availability of those involved in the trial.

The first witness to give evidence in the police officers’ trial was Mr Wallace, who alleged that he was scraped with keys, choked and had his head slammed into a wall by the two accused.

The officers arrived at his door in November 2018 to execute a fines warrant in relation to money Mr Wallace allegedly hadn’t paid following two Justice of the Peace Court convictions.

He said he had been misquoted in his reply to being cautioned and charged, correcting “I threw you about like an empty tracksuit” to “I’d throw you about like an empty tracksuit.”

Sheriff’s evidence

Sheriff James MacDonald, who presided over the trial of Mr Wallace and his then partner Catherine Dolan a year later, also gave evidence.

He said he pulled up Harker and Butchart for both omitting their claims that Mr Wallace deliberately headbutted a wall from their statements and said the two now-accused both put this down to “an oversight.”

Then prosecutor Alistair McDermid explained that during the Crown case in Mr Wallace’s trial in Dunfermline in 2019, Sheriff MacDonald said: “that’s rubbish.”

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