Witness loses contempt fight

Ria Kenyon gave evidence in trial at Hamilton Sheriff Court.

Ria Kenyon gave evidence in trial at Hamilton Sheriff Court.

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A serious assault trial witness who was sent to the cells has lost a battle against a contempt of court ruling.

A sheriff had Ria Kenyon locked up after she said a police statement describing the attack was wrong.

Lee Murray (21), of Lorne Drive, Motherwell, was jailed for three years and eight months at Hamilton Sheriff Court in April. He was found guilty of two assaults in Motherwell in 2014.

In the first of these Kieran Walsh suffered a broken jaw when former boxer Murray floored him ouside a taxi office in Airbles Street.

The court heard Kenyon (21) gave police a statement saying she saw Murray punch Mr Walsh, but in the witness box she denied saying that and said police must be lying.

Asking that the contempt finding be lifted, the witness’s lawyer urged Appeal Court judges to accept that Kenyon did not deny making the statement, but simply did not remember seeing Murray punch the victim.

However, Sheriff Shiona Waldron described Kenyon’s demeanour when giving evidence as “collected and defiant”, adding: “I reached a very clear view that she was determined from the outset not to give evidence which might incriminate the accused.”

The sheriff observed that she had been sober when she signed her “very coherent” and “incriminating” police statement on each page.