Janice Galloway stalking accused walks free again

Janice Galloway: 'Extremely dismayed' at sheriff's findings. Picture: Contributed
Janice Galloway: 'Extremely dismayed' at sheriff's findings. Picture: Contributed
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A CONCERT pianist has walked free for a second time on ­charges of stalking the Scottish author Janice Galloway.

Graeme McNaught, 55, had been on trial accused of going to former lover Miss Galloway’s home unannounced and trying to leave her letters and sending her an unwanted parcel.

Pianist acquitted on grounds of insanity over author's ordeal. Picture: Press Team Scotland

Pianist acquitted on grounds of insanity over author's ordeal. Picture: Press Team Scotland

He was also accused of sending friendship requests to her and her family members on ­social media site LinkedIn.

At Hamilton Sheriff Court yesterday a jury took less than an hour to acquit him on the grounds of insanity.

McNaught had walked free from court last year on earlier charges of stalking Miss Galloway amid concerns over his mental state.

He has been ordered to return to court in May when a sheriff will rule on medical treatment for him.

Did he intend to cause Janice harm. I say no

Defence lawyer Desmond Ziolo

The trial had heard Miss ­Galloway, 59, say she had felt ­“suicidal” as McNaught repeatedly tried to contact her.

She also told the court how she feared her former partner would try to “sexually humiliate” her.

Miss Galloway and McNaught, of Mount Vernon, Glasgow, met in 1990 and had a six year on-off relationship during which they had a son.

He had lodged a special defence at the start of the trial that he was not criminally responsible for the alleged incidents of October last year because he was suffering a mental health condition.

But his lawyer Desmond Ziolo argued his client could not be held responsible for his actions.

He said: “It is not convenient for Graeme McNaught to have to use this special defence in this trial.

“This man is ill, he may be fit for trial but he is unwell because he suffers from a major mental illness.

“Janice Galloway did not read the letter inviting her to a party or open the package but they were not sinister.

“Did he intend to cause Janice Galloway fear and alarm? I say no.

“If he had been following her, or peering in her windows it would be easier to see why he would have caused her fear and alarm but the actions he is charged with are not of that level.”

Following the verdict, Sheriff Marie Smart expressed sympathy with McNaught.

She told him: “It is clear that you are very relieved by the ­verdict.

“In my opinion, it was a ­deserved verdict because you have been unwell for a very long time.

“I will need to get further reports to see if you can get anymore help. It has been an awful ordeal for you.”

Last September, McNaught faced five charges of acting in a threatening and abusive manner and placing Miss Galloway in a state of fear and alarm in a trial at Hamilton Sheriff Court.

However, concerns over his mental health resulted in the trial being halted after experts said he was not fit to continue, and found he posed no danger to the public.

Sheriff Ray Small then conducted an “examination of facts” before ruling that he carried out the offences.

Because there was no conviction in the case, Mr McNaught was told he would face no ­further punishment, despite prosecutors asking for him to be ordered not to contact Miss Galloway.

Following the ruling, Miss Galloway said: “I am extremely let down by this present state of ­affairs. A great many other women must be, too.

“I am extremely dismayed and shocked that Sheriff Small is left with no legal option to enforce any kind of order, despite his judgment upon the findings that Graeme McNaught did indeed commit the acts of harassment.

“This effectively leaves Mr McNaught free to continue his harassment of me, my publisher, my agency, my friends and, most importantly, my family.”