A man accused of threatening another driver with a knife in a road rage incident was cleared after he blamed his brother.
Soldier Robert Smith was adamant the ginger-haired aggressor was John McCusker (23).
However, a jury at Hamilton Sheriff Court returned not proven verdicts after defence agent Diarmid Bruce paraded McCusker’s older brother Kyle before them.
Gas engineer Mr Smith and work colleague David Muldoon were involved in an incident with the occupants of a Vauxhall Vectra near Bellshill’s Strathclyde Business Park in November.
John McCusker, a prisoner, was charged with chasing Mr Muldoon with a knife, threatening him and stabbing the van’s tyres with the blade.
Another brother, Michael (25), of Woodside Street, New Stevenston, was accused of grabbing Mr Smith and threatening him, but prosecutor Vincent Lunny dropped that charge during the trial.
Mr Smith said both drivers got out of their vehicles and John McCusker, armed with a knife, then chased Mr Muldoon who fled. McCusker allegedly turned towards Mr Smith who ran away too.
Mr Smith, who said he served in Iraq with the Territorial Army, was asked how he felt when he saw the knife. He replied: “I believe I kept calm. I’ve been in situations in the armed forces where I’ve been shot at so I know not to panic.”
It was suggested by Mr Bruce that he was mistaken in identifying John McCusker. The Vectra was registered to Michael McCusker, but the lawyer claimed the person who confronted Mr Muldoon and Mr Smith was Kyle McCusker.
Kyle McCusker was brought into court but Mr Smith said it was ‘definitely not him’, saying Kyle didn’t have his brother’s distinctive ginger hair.
However, Mr Bruce said it was odd that Mr Smith was so positive about John McCusker and unsure about the identity of the second man who was nearer him for most of the incident.
More from the court every week in the Times & Speaker.