NEWS

Marie Rimmer, Labour MP, Cleared Of Scottish Independence Supporter Assault Charge

'I know what happened that day'.

02/11/2016 18:28

A Labour MP has been cleared of assaulting a Scottish independence supporter outside a polling station on the day of the 2014 referendum.

Marie Rimmer was cleared of assault after Glasgow Sheriff Court found the case not proven on Wednesday.

‘Not proven’ is a verdict unique to Scotland’s judiciary, which has the same legal implications as a not guilty verdict.

Rimmer, 69, was accused of kicking Patricia McLeish outside the Shettleston Community Centre on September 18 - the day of the poll.

Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Marie Rimmer outside Glasgow Sheriff Court

The St Helens South and Whiston MP was cleared on Tuesday of a separate charge of threatening and abusive behaviour.

Rimmer, who was elected to parliament in 2015, had travelled to Scotland on referendum day to campaign with her party against independence and was handing out leaflets alongside independence supporters.

Rimmer told the court she had tried to strike up a conversation with McLeish after noticing she was carrying a Unison bag.

“I asked if was she involved in Unison as a member or an officer. She said she worked in local government and I said ‘we’ve all had it tough’,” Rimmer said. “It seemed to go wrong from there.”

Andrew Milligan/PA Archive
Patricia McLeish leaves Glasgow Sheriff Court where she had given evidence

Rimmer said McLeish attacked her for being a “red Tory” whose party had “wrecked the NHS”.

She then walked away, claiming Rimmer had kicked her, the MP said.

The MP said she was “shocked” and there had been no physical contact.

McLeish, who gave her evidence earlier this year, claimed Rimmer approached her and aggressively stared at her without speaking.

She said the assault was unprovoked.

Rimmer left the polling station but was arrested when she later returned

McLeish said she told police she did not want to press charges but officers said they had been instructed to take a zero-tolerance policy for incidents that day.

Sheriff Kenneth Hogg questioned why the case had even come to court and said he was “disappointed” that police officers were not allowed to use discretion on the day of the referendum.

Speaking outside court after the verdict, Rimmer told reporters: “I’m delighted to have been acquitted by the sheriff... I was only elected last year and it’s been very difficult going to Westminster with this charge round my neck.

“I’m absolutely delighted, drained, but delighted.”

She added: “I know what happened that day. I’m clear what happened that day.

“I’ve been acquitted today. I just want to get on with life now. I’ve answered the charges.”

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