Man cleared of throwing eggs at Orange march

A CELTIC fan has been cleared of throwing eggs and abuse at people taking part in an Orange parade.
A Celtic fan has been cleared of abusing and throwing eggs at an Orange march. Picture: TSPLA Celtic fan has been cleared of abusing and throwing eggs at an Orange march. Picture: TSPL
A Celtic fan has been cleared of abusing and throwing eggs at an Orange march. Picture: TSPL

Eric Callaghan had denied causing a disturbance as Armadale Flute and Drum band passed the window of his West Lothian home.

The father of four – who was allegedly wearing a Celtic football jersey – was accused of shouting sectarian remarks at followers of the “cultural parade” from the window of his first floor flat.

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Callaghan, 53, also denied throwing eggs at the marchers who were parading to celebrate the flute band’s 40th anniversary.

He refuted allegations that he told a police officer to “f*** off , you w***er” during the alleged incident on April 27 last year.

Giving evidence, PC Stephen Leonard, 34, positively identified Callaghan as the culprit during a trial at Livingston Sheriff Court today.

The officer said he’d been leading the parade when he saw the accused hanging out of his window and heard him shouting “Orange b******” at the marchers.

He said he went over and told Callaghan to go inside and shut the window but was met with a tirade of abuse.

He said he returned after the parade had finished and charged the accused, who replied: “I wisnae there”.

Orange Walk organiser Hugh Cockburn, 59, gave evidence that he was only 50 per cent confident that the accused had been the man wearing the Celtic top who was swearing from the window.

But he added: “You didn’t need a lip reader to know what he was saying.”

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Van driver Steven Duncan, 59, told the court was unable to identify the Celtic supporter who had been at the window.

He said: “I could see eggs landing on the road but I couldn’t see who was throwing them.”

Katrine Craig, prosecuting, asked the court to adjourn the trial so that a second police witness – who had been excused because she was on holiday – could be called to give evidence.

Sheriff Douglas Kinloch said the trial had already been postponed three times and no suitable dates for a part-heard trial were available within the next month.

Turning to Callaghan, the sheriff said: “The Crown is not leading any further evidence which is insufficient, as I understand it, for your conviction.

“You’re found not guilty of the charge.”

As Callaghan embraced his children outside court he spoke of his relief at being cleared.

“He said: “I’ve denied this from the start. It wasn’t me and I’m glad the sheriff agreed.

“This has been hanging over me for more than a year and I spent a holiday weekend in the cells after being arrested.

“I’m delighted it’s all over now.”