A LOTHIANS council leader has been charged with assault following an incident in Bonnyrigg earlier this year.
Derek Milligan, head of Midlothian Council, is said to have been involved in the alleged incident at Bonnyrigg Rose Social Club in July.
But he has maintained his innocence, saying the man he is alleged to have hit, 40-year-old Alan Scott, fell over.
Councillor Milligan, 51, said yesterday: “I met with the police at Bonnyrigg Police Station and they charged me and I was released immediately.
“The charge is that I punched the fellow Scott. I’m not sure [of the exact charge] – I think it was that I had assaulted the lad by punching him.
“As I understand it, the system is that a report goes to the Fiscal and the Fiscal decides if there’s any evidence to prosecute in a criminal case.
“I 100 per cent maintain my innocence and I wonder sometimes if this country can deal with an honest, hard-working politician who doesn’t screw the system.”
Cllr Milligan added: “To say that I’m astounded is an understatement. I clearly didn’t touch this lad.
“I’d already been told by two police officers that there was no case to answer and I was free to go, but the two of them pulled me in again yesterday.”
The incident is alleged to have taken place on July 25. It is understood that Mr Scott alleged that Cllr Milligan punched him in the face, and he had to go to a nearby public phone box to call police, who noticed his injuries and took him to hospital with a head wound.
However, Cllr Milligan has maintained that after several hours in the social club the man was insulting him, and then tripped up, hitting his head on the floor.
Cllr Milligan, a former miner, is a long-serving councillor who has been leader of the council since 2007.
Lothian Borders Police confirmed a man has been charged with assault in connection with the incident.