Anger as former rugby international's rape trial is delayed

THE case of a former Scottish international rugby player charged with raping a woman in Northern Ireland last year has been adjourned after the alleged victim said she didn't want to give evidence in the same room as him.

Bryan Murray Gossman, of Seamill, West Kilbride, is charged with having unlawful sexual intercourse with a female, without her consent, on 11 July 2004.

However, after making the crossing to Northern Ireland to be present for a preliminary investigation at North Down Magistrates' Court in Bangor yesterday, the former West of Scotland player was told that the case had been delayed and would be called again next month.

The case will come before the same court on 16 September to hear an application for special measures to be made for the case at a further court hearing, most likely to be at Downpatrick, where the woman and another female witness will be able to give their evidence by video link.

Asking for the case to be adjourned, Donna McColgan, counsel for the prosecution, said: "Both those witnesses are in attendance today, but [the accuser] has been ill today. She would prefer to give her evidence from a room that the defendant is not in."

But Barra McGrory, defending, voiced his disappointment to magistrates at the turn of events.

He told them: "I must object in the strongest possible terms to the application. This date has been set since June, and there was a preliminary hearing on August 3.

"The Crown had the opportunity on that date to review the situation and to make any application, but that opportunity was not taken."

The magistrate, Peter Magill, admitted the position was a regrettable one, but he stressed his belief that the decision to adjourn the case was in the best interests of justice.

He said: "This is an extremely unfortunate situation that has arisen. I am now faced with the situation where the injured party is physically ill and, therefore, not in a position to give evidence.

"My understanding is that anything that improves the giving of evidence is to be encouraged.

"I am going to grant the application for the adjournment."

Gossman, who played at stand-off, was capped three times for his country during the 1980s.

Back to the top of the page