Man freed on appeal over sex charges

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A FORMER soldier accused of sexually molesting two young sisters more than 20 years ago in West Lothian walked free yesterday after a ruling by appeal judges.

Paul Lumsden, 58, was found guilty of indecency after a trial at Livingston Sheriff Court and served five-and-a-half months of a 30-month prison term.

Then he was released, pending the outcome of his attempt to overturn his conviction.

At the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh, Lord Eassie, sitting with Lords Malcolm and Osborne, decided Lumsden had suffered a miscarriage of justice because Sheriff Donald Muirhead had misdirected the jury.

The sheriff had failed to explain to jurors the possible significance of one of Lumsden’s accusers telling police, years earlier, that she had not been abused.

The appeal court decision, made two weeks ago, could not be reported until now as Lumsden faced the possibility of a re-trial.

The court also heard one of the women had said she did not want to give evidence again.

The appeal judges ruled that there should be no new trial.