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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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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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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 7:27 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
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.


Well could say a ton of stuff about that kind of thing, but I suppose little point on here.

But victim's family critical of policing aspect, and his brother is actually a retired officer.

The t-word isn't even mentioned here, and a lot of it is about the victim's life, but some interesting stuff about policing, the prosecution and the verdict.


‘Brian’s death could have been prevented with more police’: Family of tragic New Year death man speak out

https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/fp/b ... speak-out/

The family of a man who died at New Year say a larger police presence in Dundee could have prevented his death in a taxi rank punch-up.

Brian Fox, 62, died in the early hours of January 1 after hitting his head on the road at the taxi rank in Nethergate.

He was punched by 20-year-old Wes Reid, who was acquitted of culpable homicide on the grounds of self-defence at the High Court in Edinburgh last week.

Speaking exclusively to the Tele following the verdict, Mr Fox’s brother David, sister Isobel and sister-in-law Aileen say they were left “gobsmacked” by the outcome.

They believe an inadequate police presence in the city was a contributing factor in their relative’s death – slamming the corporate slogan of “Keeping People Safe” as a falsehood.

David, 58, is a retired policeman, and believes CCTV shown during Reid’s trial proved there were not enough police in the city for the time of year.

He said: “For any New Year, you put on a large police presence – high-visibility patrols, especially somewhere like Dundee city centre.

“The CCTV video shows from the Perth Road and all the way down Nethergate and along the High Street.

“There’s not a police officer or a police car to be seen. We know people were phoning the police at this point (when Brian hit his head) and there’s no one coming.

“The ambulance got there first, 20 minutes after, and then the police arrived five minutes after that.

“If there had been police on the high street this would have been avoided. Why wasn’t there any police? It’s up to somebody who was in charge of policing that night to say – but we want to know.”

Reid had originally been accused of murdering Brian alongside 25-year-old Adam Valentine before prosecutors reduced the charge to culpable homicide prior to his acquittal.

Isobel said: “The procurator fiscal said they were reducing it from a deliberate murder to culpable homicide.

“To go from that to absolutely nothing is…wow.”

Aileen added: “It’s not right that someone has lost their life trying to help people.”

The outcome of Reid’s trial has not brought them closure – but when asked if they would ever want to speak to him to understand why he lashed out, the family rule it out.

David said: “I don’t particularly want to speak to him, at all. As far as meeting him and asking him why – he will always be the guy who punched Brian out.”

However, the family have been grateful for the outpouring of support they have received from both their friends and others following the trial.

They have adopted a bench outside the Nethergate that will soon be decorated with a plaque reading: “We are so proud that you are our brother.”

Isobel said: “The support has been so nice – he was always such a gentleman and he knew so many people. He was always willing to help people, 100%.

“But because of what has happened with him I feel like I should tell people not to step in if they see something happening – just to put the blinkers on and walk past.

“I know that is wrong but I also know if Brian hadn’t stepped in we would have asked him why he hadn’t – that was the kind of person he was.”

Police Scotland Chief Superintendent Andrew Todd again expressed his condolences to Brian’s family, but insisted the force had the correct procedures in place to deal with busy nights in Dundee.

He said: “Our sympathies remain with the family of Brian Fox and all those affected by his death.

“With regards to local policing in Dundee, we have extensive plans in place to cover all busy times of the year, including weekends and the festive period. This includes key areas close to licensed premises and taxi ranks.”

The seven-day trial which led to the man accused of killing Brian Fox being acquitted was described as “very difficult” by the judge presiding over it.

High Court judge Lord Beckett told jurors they had acted “properly and commendably” in considering the evidence before choosing to acquit Wes Reid, 20, of Tayport.

The jury of eight men and seven women heard evidence from police officers, eye-witnesses, ambulance technicians, doctors and the forensic pathologist who carried out Mr Fox’s post-mortem examination.

Reid was acquitted of the single charge of killing Brian Fox.

His co-accused Adam Valentine, 25, is currently in prison awaiting sentencing for punching Mr Fox as he lay dying on the ground and for assaulting Sandra Jean Baird to her severe injury and danger to her life.

He will reappear before Lord Beckett on December 6 at the High Court in Edinburgh.

At the conclusion of the trial last Friday, the judge said: “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.”

‘Gentle giant’ was a perfectionist

Brian Fox was described by his family as a “gentle giant” and a perfectionist in his lifelong trade as a welder.

Mr Fox had grown up with his brothers and sister in Linlathen before leaving school and joining the Army.

However, he opted to leave the armed forces and started an apprenticeship in blacksmithing with housebuilder Bett Brothers.

He then undertook work for a number of offshore companies, completing his last job on an oil rig and coming home just one day before Hogmanay last year.

In between offshore jobs, he established his own company, Phoenix Welding, in Peddie Street.

His handiwork can be seen across Tayside – including at the Bridgeview Station cafe on Riverside Drive.

He was in the process of creating additional metalwork for the cafe’s extension when he died.

Mr Fox’s brother David said: “He had a good reputation and worked with lots of companies.

“He started his business to find more work between jobs – he decided to do that rather than sign on for the dole.”

Sister Isobel added: “He was a perfectionist and he loved his job.

“Everything had to be perfect – if he wasn’t happy with what he was working on he would scrap it and start again.

“It is a bit of a comfort seeing his work.”


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 7:31 pm 
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Quote:
Reid had originally been accused of murdering Brian alongside 25-year-old Adam Valentine before prosecutors reduced the charge to culpable homicide prior to his acquittal.

Isobel said: “The procurator fiscal said they were reducing it from a deliberate murder to culpable homicide.

“To go from that to absolutely nothing is…wow.”


Echoes what I said from the kick off about the charges.

And, in particular, as regards that earlier case in Dundee about the guy who punched someone, who later died, and he was charged with culpable homicide, but was found not guilty.

So basically killed someone, but got away scot free. If perp had been charged with assault he might have at least been found guilty of something :-|


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 8:59 pm 
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But victim's family critical of policing aspect, and his brother is actually a retired officer.

I get the criticism of the lack of police, but isn't that really a government issue?

But I feel we must distinguish between a general pop at the police and a more pointed criticism of the police involved in the murder/manslaughter investigation.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:42 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
I get the criticism of the lack of police, but isn't that really a government issue?

But I feel we must distinguish between a general pop at the police and a more pointed criticism of the police involved in the murder/manslaughter investigation.

Indeed, to some degree it's a government issue, but in a way that's like saying shortcomings in taxi enforcement has nothing to do with LOs, councils and licensing committees.

And it's maybe about a lot more than simple numbers of police, but let's not go there :-#

And to some degree police are little more than uniformed but unelected politicians, with their spin and soundbites etc, particularly the higher up the police food chain you go.

For example, compare the criticism from the victim's family with the response of the chief super - if it is about numbers, then he certainly isn't saying so, and his response seems a bit more like what local politicians would parrot:

Brother of victim (a retired police officer) wrote:
"For any New Year, you put on a large police presence – high-visibility patrols, especially somewhere like Dundee city centre.

“The CCTV video shows from the Perth Road and all the way down Nethergate and along the High Street.

“There’s not a police officer or a police car to be seen. We know people were phoning the police at this point (when Brian hit his head) and there’s no one coming.

“The ambulance got there first, 20 minutes after, and then the police arrived five minutes after that.

“If there had been police on the high street this would have been avoided. Why wasn’t there any police? It’s up to somebody who was in charge of policing that night to say – but we want to know.”

Chief Superintendent wrote:
“With regards to local policing in Dundee, we have extensive plans in place to cover all busy times of the year, including weekends and the festive period. This includes key areas close to licensed premises and taxi ranks.”


If local politicians were doing their job then they might ask if that was the case then why didn't they arrive until 25 minutes after being phoned? But they won't, and in a wee while the vast majority of people will have forgotten about it.

Of course, at that time they'd very probably have other stuff to deal with, but maybe they should just say that rather than claiming that policing was totally adequate.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:09 pm 
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There was also this shorter piece earlier, which I didn't bother with because it seemed of little relevance as regards the trade.

But shows how a minor police error can have an impact on people, in this case the victim's family.

Not that police should be hauled over the coals for minor errors like this, but it's maybe the bigger errors and the fact that they seem in denial about them that's the problem [-(


Family of Brian Fox say they knew ‘something was wrong’ from shortly after he died on New Year’s Day

https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/fp/f ... years-day/

The family of Brian Fox say they knew “something was wrong” from shortly after he died on New Year’s Day – but faced a two-day wait to have their worst fears confirmed.

His sister Isobel described how she had sent him a text message to wish him a Happy New Year – and grew concerned when he didn’t reply.[…]

Isobel said: “I texted Brian to say Happy New Year – I thought he had been on the rigs. He’d actually come home the day before.

“I didn’t think he would be home until the week after. He would usually come in to my work to say, ‘that’s me home’ – he had come in before Christmas to say he was off so I thought he probably wasn’t due back.

“I texted him and usually his phone’s off but he would text you back – but he never did.

“I phoned him up and it just rang out. He would usually phone back within a few minutes, but he never did. That’s when I thought something was wrong.”

Police initially issued an incorrect description of Mr Fox on the day after his death, describing the man who died as having ginger hair – whereas Mr Fox’s hair is dark.

His brother David said: “We never found out until January 3. I got a call from my brother Jim from London who said he had been getting phone calls to say it was Brian.

“I went straight to the police HQ myself and actually met the major inquiry team coming down the stairs – and that’s when they said ‘yes – it’s Brian’. And that was that.”


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:59 am 
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Sounds like a more violent attack than the Dundee one, up the road in Aberdeen.

However, victim just concussed, perp pleaded guilty, and no evidence of any trade involvement.

Got off pretty lightly, though, but more of a punishment than the Dundee one, obviously.


Man admits ‘savage and cowardly’ attack at Aberdeen taxi rank

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/ne ... taxi-rank/

Image
Image: DC Thomson

A 21-year-old man has been branded a “savage” and a “coward” by a sheriff after he admitted stamping on a stranger’s head in Aberdeen city centre.

Sidat Faye pleaded guilty to assaulting Gary MacDougall to the danger of his life on Union Street, at the taxi rank near Soul Casino.

His victim, who escaped with only a concussion, had been enjoying a night out with friends.

But Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard a disagreement broke out between Mr MacDougall and some of Faye’s party.

Fiscal depute Anna Chisholm played the court CCTV capturing the assault, with footage zooming in on the fight as Faye stamped on Mr MacDougall’s head.

Falling over after the sickening attack, he was seen to regain his feet and kicked the now unconscious man in the head.

Sheriff Miller condemned the attack, telling Faye he had “pleaded guilty to an absolutely disgraceful assault”.

“I am aware he was involved in a confrontation with your friend but the video showed him lying on on the road in Union Street.

“You for absolutely no reason, when he was no threat to you, and in the most savage and cowardly fashion, stamped on his head.

“You then deliver what can only be described as a volley to this man’s head. It is miraculous to me that he was not more seriously injured.”

In defence of her client, solicitor Laura Gracie said it was not until Faye saw the video of the assault that he realised the “full manner of his actions” and was “visibly affected”.

She said he had not taken alcohol since the incident, which happened early on the morning of March 3 this year.

She added: “What he will never be able to explain is why he acted like that.

“He noticed his friend had a fairly significant cut on his head and it was after that happened that he began to act in this way.

“But he has taken responsibility for his actions and is well aware he could be given a custodial sentence.”

Sheriff Miller said a report prepared by social workers did not assess Faye as at “significant risk” of re-offending as long as his alcohol consumption was kept in check.

He was instead put on curfew for six months and must remain within his George Street home between 9pm and 5am.

The sheriff also placed Faye under supervision for a year and ordered him to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work.

He must also pay £750 in compensation to his victim.

Image
Image: DC Thomson


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:37 am 
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Sussex wrote:
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.



so how many voters are legal experts ? How can we be at fault for that the law is generally framed by legal experts such as the law commission and then voted on by parliament

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