Judge rules Viewpark child abuser will stay behind bars

Lord Turnbull was unconvinced by the arguments put forward by Frank Cairney's defence team that he should be let out of prison
Lord Turnbull was unconvinced by the arguments put forward by Frank Cairney's defence team that he should be let out of prison

A former Celtic Boys’ Club manager serving time for sexual abuse has lost a second bid to be freed from jail ahead of his appeal against conviction.

Judge Lord Turnbull refused a request made by lawyers acting for Frank Cairney (84) following a hearing at the Court of Criminal Appeal today (Thursday).

Cairney, of Viewpark, was jailed for four years after being convicted at Hamilton Sheriff Court last February of nine charges of sexually abusing young footballers during the 1980s.

The former coach wanted to be released from prison ahead of his appeal because of concerns of his poor health.

But, after hearing submissions from Cairney’s legal team about their client’s poor health, judge Lord Turnbull concluded that he couldn’t allow Cairney to be released.

During proceedings at Hamilton Sheriff Court last December, jurors heard how Cairney’s victims suffered badly from the abuse.

Sheriff Daniel Kelly described Cairney as being a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.

Cairney is among four former Celtic Boys Club coaches to be convicted of child sex abuse in recent months.

Last November, Celtic Boys Club founder Jim Torbett was jailed for six years whilst former teacher Gerard King was also convicted of abusing boys at a school.

Earlier this year, Jim McCafferty (73) was jailed after pleading guilty to child sex abuse charges.

He was sentenced to six years and nine months for abusing 10 teenage boys between 1972 and 1996.

Cairney tried to win bail at a hearing last May. He wasn’t present in court to hear his solicitor advocate ask for interim liberation to be granted.

Simon Collins told the court on that occasion that Cairney plans to appeal against his conviction on the basis that prosecutors allegedly failed to disclose a key piece of evidence to him ahead of his trial.

The court also heard that Cairney believes he didn’t receive a fair trial due to prejudicial press reporting.

Mr Collins said a report supplied to the appeal court by Sheriff Kelly didn’t address information concerning Mr Cairney’s position.

Mr Collins added: “The report from the Sheriff is a very abbreviated report. It doesn’t address such matters as press reporting or the non disclosure of evidence concerning one of the complainers.

“Mr Cairney has encountered health difficulties and he is of advancing age.”

However, Lord Drummond Young said that interim liberation could only be granted in exceptional circumstances and this hadn’t been shown to the court in Cairney’s case.

Defence lawyers told the court that Cairney is in poor health and is suffering from heart problems.

Lord Turnbull heard that Cairney wouldn’t pose a flight risk and would abide by any orders made by the court ahead of his appeal.

But Lord Turnbull concluded that it wasn’t appropriate to grant him bail.

Cairney’s appeal is expected to be heard later this year.