Sexual abuse trial subject to long delay

Hamilton Sheriff Court
Hamilton Sheriff Court

A former Celtic Boys Club football manager’s trial on historical sexual abuse charges will be delayed for months

This comes after Francis Cairney’s defence was given time to track down more than 100 potential witnesses.

The 83-year-old appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court on Friday (May 11) and denied allegations relating to eight boys.

Cairney, of Elmbank Avenue in Viewpark, faces a total of ten charges involving alleged abuse between 1965 and 1986.

The alleged victims were aged between 12 and 16 and it’s claimed they were abused at various locations which included premises in Viewpark and Celtic Football Club’s Barrowfield training facility in London Road, Glasgow.

The charges are indecent assault, gross indecency and lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour.

Cairney had been unfit to attend a pre-trial hearing last month, but his solicitor, Eddie Gilroy, confirmed on Friday that he has no current health issues.

Michael Macintosh, prosecuting, had been hoping to have a trial date fixed last week, but Mr Gilroy told Sheriff Ray Small the defence is not ready for the case to go before a jury.

He explained that he wishes to investigate statements which were given to the police by 102 potential witnesses.

The solicitor said it might not be possible to trace some of these individuals while the information supplied by others “won’t be useful”.

However, it’s anticipated more than 20 could be cited as witnesses for the defence, adding considerably to the length of the trial.

Mr Gilroy suggested three months will be needed to complete this exercise.

In response Sheriff Small commented: “It would appear there is a lot of investigating to do.”

Cairney was ordered to return to court for another pre-trial hearing on Friday, August 10.