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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:14 pm 
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If you're reading this for the first time then probably better to skip this article and instead read the updated version posted below at 6.23pm.


Man acquitted of killing Brian Fox in Dundee taxi rank at High Court in Edinburgh

https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/fp/m ... brian-fox/

A man has been acquitted of killing a 62-year-old man in a New Year’s Day taxi rank brawl after jurors accepted his claim that he acted in self-defence.

Wes Reid, 20, had faced a charge of culpable homicide in relation to the death of welder Brian Fox, who died after fracturing his skull on January 1 in the Nethergate.

Advocates acting for Reid, of Newport Road, Tayport, had lodged a special defence of self-defence, claiming Reid believed he was “about to be attacked by the deceased, Brian Fox (and) he struck out with a single blow in self defence”.

The jury of eight men and seven women returned a majority verdict of not guilty to the charge of culpable homicide.

Reid’s friend Adam Valentine, 25, of Dundee, was found guilty of assaulting 64-year-old Sandra Jean Baird.

Valentine pushed her on the body and caused her to strike her head on the ground, knocking her out, in the minutes preceding Mr Fox’s fatal injury.

Valentine, presently a prisoner at HMP Perth, had also previously admitted a charge of assaulting Mr Fox by punching him on the body as he lay on the ground after being punched by Reid.

The jury returned a majority verdict.

Mrs Baird, a shop manager of 15 years from Dundee, had been out with friends at the DCA’s Hogmanay party before going to the Nethergate taxi rank to get a car home.

Earlier in the trial the jury had heard she had felt “two hands…at the small of my back” before she “slid” into the roadway and was knocked unconscious.

She suffered cuts and bruises and has been left with a scar on her chin and tinnitus following Valentine’s attack.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:20 pm 
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This is kind of what I feared might happen, as I said soon after the incident in reference to a previous culpable homicide case in Dundee, which I also had a degree of personal interest in, if only because it took place quite close to where I used to live in the city.

But essentially the prosecution have overplayed their hand here, and looks like he'll walk free. If the prosecution had gone for an assault charge he might have at least been convicted of something.

Not that I blame the prosecution for going down the culpable homicide route, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Back in January StuartW wrote:
Of course, police and prosecutors have to be careful not to overplay their hand in situations like this. Recall a few years ago in Dundee a guy hit another guy, who later died in hospital. Not sure precisely what happened, but he was charged with culpable homicide rather than murder.

But as I recall it (there was not much reporting) a jury found him not guilty.

So because you can't be retried for the same act twice (the double jeopardy rule, I think it's called, although there has been some reform of that in recent years) in effect the accused killed someone and got away with it.

Suspect if the procurator fiscal (the prosecutor up here) had gone for a lesser charge (some sort of assault) then the accused might have at least been found guilty of something.

Of course, in the present case it'll all depend on the evidence etc. There will be CCTV in the area (both public and private), but whether or not they caught the incident is another matter.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:23 pm 
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A bit more detail and reaction in this expanded version of the earlier article:


Man acquitted of killing Brian Fox in Dundee taxi rank at High Court in Edinburgh

https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/fp/m ... brian-fox/

A man has been acquitted of killing a 62-year-old welder in a New Year’s Day taxi rank brawl after jurors accepted his claim of self-defence.

Wes Reid, 20, had faced a charge of culpable homicide in relation to the death of Brian Fox, who died after fracturing his skull on the Nethergate on January 1.

Advocates acting for Reid, of Newport Road, Tayport, had lodged a special defence of self-defence, claiming Reid believed he was “about to be attacked by the deceased, Brian Fox (and) he struck out with a single blow in self-defence”.

The jury of eight men and seven women returned a majority verdict of not guilty to the charge of culpable homicide at the High Court in Edinburgh.

There were gasps from the public gallery and a member of Mr Fox’s family left the courtroom when the verdict was read out.

His family was not available for comment.

Reid’s friend Adam Valentine, 25, was found guilty of assaulting Sandra Jean Baird to her severe injury and danger to her life.

Valentine, a prisoner at HMP Perth, also admitted assaulting Mr Fox as he lay dying on the road.

Members of Valentine’s family shouted “no” as his guilty verdict was read out by the jury.

Valentine pushed Mrs Baird, a 64-year-old shop manager, on the body and caused her to strike her head on the ground, knocking her out, in the minutes preceding Mr Fox’s fatal injury.

Mrs Baird had been out with friends at the DCA’s Hogmanay party before going to the Nethergate taxi rank to get a cab home.

Earlier in the trial the jury had heard she had felt “two hands… at the small of my back” before she fell into the roadway and was knocked unconscious.

Jurors were shown photographs of Mrs Baird’s injuries, which included scabbing and bruising on her chin and face, bruising on her arms, cuts to her hands and bruised knees. She has been left with scarring on her chin and tinnitus as a result of Valentine’s attack.

Judge Lord Beckett remanded Valentine in custody for the preparation of criminal justice and social work reports.

Ordering Valentine to reappear on December 6 to be sentenced, the judge told him: “You will be visited by a social worker and it is in your interest to co-operate with that process.”

Lord Beckett then turned to the jury and commended them on what he called a “very difficult” case.

He told jurors: “In a case that carries considerable emotion on all sides, Mr Fox appears to have done nothing wrong whatsoever, but acted in a responsible manner in saying ‘come on and calm down’.

“Tragically it has cost him his life – but the punch which caused him to fall and die was one punch from a young person, and it occurred in circumstances where Mr Fox, a much larger man, has approached the younger man and reached out.

“I make no criticism of the verdict you have returned. You have gone about your task absolutely properly and commendably.”


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:23 pm 
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Once a defence of self defence is lodged the prosecution has a two staged hurdle to overcome to gain a conviction.

It must prove to the court that the defendant wasn't in fear of violence. Violence doesn't have to happen, the fear of an imminent attack is enough for the self defence defence.

If the prosecution prove there wasn't an imminent attack, or the fear of imminent attack then the self defence defence fails.

If the court believe there was an imminent attack, or the fear of an imminent attack, then we go to the second hurdle i.e. was the defence used proportionate.

In the case at hand a fella you don't know walking over to you when there is a bit of tension in the air, could, IMO, pass the first stage.

The fact that the defendant only punched out once would, again IMO, be a proportionate assault. Albeit one which led to the sad death of an innocent person.

So the jury decision was one that wasn't a massive surprise.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:28 pm 
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We have had juries for 100s of years, and they are firmly established in the way courts deal with serious crime.

However.....

Would you want your life, your future, your livelihood, to depend on the next 12 people that got in your taxi/PH? :-k

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:56 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
If the court believe there was an imminent attack, or the fear of an imminent attack, then we go to the second hurdle i.e. was the defence used proportionate.


Obviously we haven't seen and heard all the evidence, but in the context of all that went on my money would be on the defendant being the aggressor and simply lashing out at someone he deemed to be getting in his way and challenging him.

Would love to see the CCTV footage, though. And, in particular, the whole taxi thing. In effect the taxi driver has been found to have been more at fault for the death than the defendants.

Sussex wrote:
Would you want your life, your future, your livelihood, to depend on the next 12 people that got in your taxi/PH?


15 people in Scotland :wink:

Of course, I'm a bit biased as regards this kind of stuff, but hasn't exactly restored my faith in policing and justice, to put it mildly :-|


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:29 pm 
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Quote:
Obviously we haven't seen and heard all the evidence, but in the context of all that went on my money would be on the defendant being the aggressor and simply lashing out at someone he deemed to be getting in his way and challenging him.

Indeed, and I struggle to argue with that short assessment.

Problem is proving that beyond reasonable doubt.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:32 pm 
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Quote:
Of course, I'm a bit biased as regards this kind of stuff, but hasn't exactly restored my faith in policing and justice, to put it mildly :-|

Not the police's fault, or the prosecution's, the fault belongs to the law.

And it's us that vote in the law makers. Thus it's us that's at fault.

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