Court verdict music to ears of accused

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard of trial delays.
Hamilton Sheriff Court heard of trial delays.

A man allegedly caught with stolen guitars won’t have to face the music after a series of delays led to the case against him being thrown out.

Michael Archibald was charged more than two years ago, but his trial was adjourned several times and last week a sheriff refused a prosecution request for another postponement.

Archibald (34), of Sunnyside Crescent, Holytown, denied reset of an unspecified number of guitars at a pawn shop in Motherwell in July 2013.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard the trial had been put off several times, the most recent being in August when a Crown witness had not been cited to appear.

When the case called again last week the prosecution revealed the same witness had moved to England and was not in court to give evidence.

Efforts were being made to contact him and ensure he would be present at a future date.

However, an appeal for more time to do this was opposed by Archibald’s solicitor, Jim O’Dowd.

He said: “It would appear this case has been going on for a long time with no real prospect of it coming to fruition.”

Sheriff Small refused to postpone the trial. He said: “The Crown has had two years to get the case together. I don’t think it is in the public interest to grant another adjournment.”

Archibald was told he was free to go.