Man denies poisoning tuna to kill cats

Charles Coulter pled not guilty at Livingston Sheriff Court. Picture: Gordon McBrearty

Charles Coulter pled not guilty at Livingston Sheriff Court. Picture: Gordon McBrearty

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A 75-year-old man yesterday denied lacing tuna fish with car anti-freeze in an alleged bid to poison local cats.

Charles Coulter pled not guilty to committing the offence in his back garden on December 10 or 11, 2012.

Coulter, of Harthill Road, Fauldhouse, West Lothian, denies knowingly putting ethelene glycol into the fish “with the intention of poisoning cats”.

The charge was brought at Livingston Sheriff Court under the Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912.

PDSO duty lawyer Cheryl Beattie, defending, said a plea had been offered to the Crown but not accepted.

She added: “Unfortunately Mr Coulter won’t qualify for Legal Aid and beyond today’s hearing my firm will not be able to represent his interests.

“It’s up to him to represent himself or to pay another firm to represent him.”

Court papers show a previous legal firm withdrew from acting for Coulter shortly before yesterday’s scheduled trial.

Fiscal depute Catherine Knowles, prosecuting, said the plea tendered was not competent and moved to adjourn the trial due to pressure of court business.

Adjourning the case, Sheriff Douglas Kinloch told Coulter: “I’m prepared to give you a further opportunity to decide whether you wish to pay for a further solicitor to represent you.

“It’s highly unlikely we’d have reached the case today in any event, but you understand if you’re going to try and obtain a solicitor you’ll have to do so immediately.”

The trial was postponed until October.