HEARTS midfielder Ian Black has been cleared of possessing cocaine at an Edinburgh nightclub.
The 26-year old, who lives in Tranent, was due to stand trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday, charged with being in possession of the class A drug at the Lava & Ignite nightclub in Tollcross last May.
He had constantly denied the allegation.
When the case was called, procurator fiscal depute Pauline Shade told Sheriff Derrick McIntyre that two essential Crown witnesses – members of the security staff at the club – had not attended court.
She asked that the trial be adjourned to a later date.
This was opposed by defence solicitor Andrew Houston, who said this was the seventh time the case had been before the court.
Mr Houston said his client was a professional footballer with Heart of Midlothian.
He said: “Over the last several months, the club has attracted a considerable amount of publicity, mostly about late payment or non-payment of salaries.”
This had led to Black being unable to meet household expenses and he had begun a part-time job as a painter and decorator.
The publicity about the case had had an adverse effect on this. Mr Houston called for Black’s not guilty plea to be accepted.
Ms Shade said the citation to one of the witnesses had been put through a letterbox and not personally served. The other witnesses had not been served with a citation at all. She asked for the case to be deserted at this time.
Mr Houston said his client had undergone routine drug tests by the Scottish Football Association and UEFA under the terms of his employment and all had been found negative.