John Sullivan was found not guilty on the grounds of mental disorder, in his absence earlier this year, of a campaign of criminal conduct against members of the exclusive Glenearn Golf Club, based at Perthshire’s Gleneagles Hotel. He was also cleared on the same grounds that he was mentally not responsible for his actions - of attempting extortion on tanning tycoon Frank Taylor, and Mr Taylor’s sons Ewan and Neal, all members of the club. Sullivan, 59, had been bailed to appear at an “examination of facts” hearing at Falkirk Sheriff Court yesterday.
Such hearings are held to establish the circumstances behind the actions of the criminally-insane, rather than to establish guilt, and to allow the court to order compulsory treatment or detention under mental health laws. But his advocate Janice Green said Sullivan “continued to be unfit to attend”.
Miss Green said the matter had been continued at an earlier sitting for a mental health officer’s report and a psychiatric report, but neither had been able to be prepared.
In May, the Crown accepted a plea from Sullivan, of Strathaven, under Section 51 (a) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.
The plea which is an absolute defence states that someone who was, on the balance of probabilities, at the time of their criminal conduct, unable by reason of mental disorder to appreciate the nature or wrongfulness of their doings, must be acquitted.
The court had previously found him unfit to stand trial due to brain damage sustained when he was the victim of an “unrelated” criminal assault. His defence team then successfully argued that his behaviour at the Gleneagles Hotel and towards members of the Glenearn Golf Club which is based there, was “excused by his failure to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions” as a result of that brain damage. Prosecutor Kristina Kelly said the Crown intended to apply for a non-harassment order to protect those affected by Sullivan’s actions.
Sheriff John Mundy continued the case to October 4th, when Sullivan will be required to appear in person.