A MAN fighting to clear his name after being convicted of gang raping a woman 13 years ago is back behind bars – for taking a six-day trip to Amsterdam.
David Pugh is one of the “Fernieside Three”, a trio jailed for the gang rape of a young mother in a flat in 2000. They have since campaigned to prove their innocence.
The 35-year-old was imprisoned for six months at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday for obtaining a passport to travel to the Dutch capital without telling police.
The unemployed metal worker admitted violating the terms of the sex offenders register by failing to notify the force about the passport between September 24 and October 3 last year.
The court also heard that a fresh appeal has been launched by the trio in a bid to overturn their convictions.
Lawyers plan to submit a new appeal to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC).
The campaign has previously attracted the backing of former Edinburgh South MSP Mike Pringle and Paddy Hill, one of the Birmingham Six wrongfully convicted of IRA bombings.
On Monday, the court heard that Pugh, of Fernieside Gardens, was required to tell police within three days if he obtained a passport under the terms of the Sex Offences Act 2003.
Pugh applied for one on September 24 last year and the application was granted. Four days later, he travelled to Amsterdam and returned on October 3.
The court heard that Pugh supports his mother and sister, whom he lives with following the death of his father two-and-a-half years ago.
A spinal injury has prevented Pugh from working in his trade as a metal worker, Sheriff James Scott was told, before he jailed Pugh for six months.
Paul McLaughlin, project manager with Miscarriages of Justice Organisation (Mojo), said: “The application to the SCCRC is in the process of being submitted. The fact that nearly 13 years have passed has not altered their position, or the protests of innocence.
“David being jailed for applying for a passport is part of the constraints they still live with. They have not been able to escape the consequences or the restrictions placed on them by a wrongful conviction.”
The Fernieside Three claimed the rape victim was allowed to alter her 14-page police statement regarding where the attack was said to have taken place, changing it from the stairwell of a high-rise to one of the accused’s flats.
The men claimed police officers failed to test the woman for drug use and tried to suppress CCTV evidence.
They insisted the victim consented to group sex, and twice turned down the chance of parole by refusing to change their pleas to guilty.
They were each sentenced to six years in jail and released on licence in 2004. Initial appeals were refused in June 2002, and in 2004 the SCCRC refused to consider referring their cases back to the High Court.
Finally, they called for a judicial review to challenge the commission’s refusal and this was turned down in July 2006.
Their legal team argued that the SCCRC made legal mistakes, including taking the wrong approach to fresh evidence unavailable at the time of the trial.
A SCCRC spokesman said it had not yet received a new appeal application.
‘Lured into trio’s flat’
THE young mother said she was lured into a 14th-floor flat in Little France House. She told the High Court in Edinburgh in 2000 that she had been looking for a friend in Craigour Place.
The 21-year-old said: “I heard somebody shouting ‘Who are you looking for?’ I looked up and there was somebody at a window.”
The court heard she was told her friend was in their flat and was informed he was in the toilet.
She said: “We got into a conversation about sex and they asked me if I had ever had three men in the same bed. I was getting worried.”
Medical evidence was later produced which was claimed to show injuries consistent with a sexual assault.
David Pugh, Brian Meighan and Kevin Kane were convicted of detaining the woman against her will and raping her.