Two men appear in court over slavery charges

The trial at Glasgow High Court continues
The trial at Glasgow High Court continues
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Two men today went on trial accused of slavery crimes.

Robert McPhee (65) and John Miller (38) are charged with forcing a number of men to live in “squalid conditions” while making them work for little or no money.

The allegations emerged as the pair – along with James McPhee (45) and Steven McPhee (37) – appeared at the High Court in Glasgow. The indictment features 30 charges spanning between 1993 and 2016.

Three men are said to have been held in “slavery and servitude” at a piggery in Shotts, South Lanarkshire.

Robert McPhee alone is firstly alleged to have held one against his will on various occasions between 2011 and 2014. The accusation includes claims the individual was made to stay in “squalid living conditions” under McPhee’s control and that he was not allowed to leave. It is further stated he was forced to do work “for little or no pay” and threatened with violence if he did not do it.

Miller is then alleged to have joined Robert McPhee in similar crimes against the two other men. One of the individuals is said to have held between 2011 and 2012 while the latter was allegedly forced in late 2016.

One of these accusations is under the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act.

Other allegations in the seven-page indictment include assault and abduction.

One of these charges claims Robert McPhee and James McPhee detained a man against his will and attacked him at a time between 1999 and 2006. It includes accusations the individual was left in a shed for three days and that James McPhee forced an eight-year old boy to pour petrol over him. A naked flame is then said to have been brandished at him.

Prosecutors also claim the man was fed dog food, made to beg for water and forced to kiss the feet of James McPhee.

The charge – said to be racially aggravated – is alleged to have occurred at a number of locations including Bathgate, West Lothian.

Steven McPhee faces a number of the assault charges with one claiming he attacked a man with a brush, concrete slabs and a pick axe handle.

The four denies the charges.

No evidence was heard today.

The trial, before Lady Stacey, continues.