Edinburgh crime: Couple who caused Edinburgh Playhouse disturbance during Jersey Boys performance walk free
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A couple who caused a disturbance that forced a performance of the Jersey Boys theatre show to be halted have walked free from court without a conviction.
Elizabeth Montague and Scott Kirk caused the disturbance after the woman was heard belting out song lyrics during the popular production at Edinburgh Playhouse earlier this year. Security staff were forced to confront the pair after complaints from angry audience members and the award winning stage show had to be stopped around 20 minutes from the end.
The audience are said to have booed and chanted “get them out” as the house lights came on and the performers were forced to leave the stage. Montague, 54, and Kirk, 52, were then removed from their seats by security before the show - which tells the story of The Four Seasons rock ‘n’ roll group - could continue.
Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard claims the couple then assaulted theatre staff members by attempting to kick and punch them after they had been ushered into a nearby bar area. Police were called and the pair, both from Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, were arrested and charged with assault and behaving in a threatening or abusive manner.
The couple denied the allegations and claimed it was them who had been assaulted by security staff when they appeared in the dock on day two of a trial at the Capital court on Friday.
Security supervisor Paul Henderson told the trial Montague was seen to be “staggering and stumbling” in the foyer during the interval on January 28 this year. He said bar staff had told her she could not be served any more alcohol but she was allowed to take her seat for the second half of the show.
Mr Henderson told the court audience members then began complaining that Montague was “talking and singing loudly” during the performance. The supervisor said a decision was made to eject the couple as the singing was “spoiling the show” and due to their “aggressive behaviour” towards theatre staff. Several security members also gave evidence that Montague and Kirk had assaulted them after being taken into a nearby bar area.
But on Friday the couple both claimed they had been singled out for no reason and it was they who had been assaulted by security staff. Montague, who works in social care with the elderly, denied she had been drunkenly singing along to the songs and had only whispered to her partner during the show. She added she was left “mortified and embarrassed” when stewards confronted them and the assault allegations had been “fabricated” by the staff.
The mother-of-three told the court security staff had attacked her in the bar without warning by tripping her up and dragging her along the ground. Kirk, who said he works for a global distribution company, also told the trial he was not drunk and security boss Paul Henderson had forcefully taken him to the ground in the bar.
He also claimed Mr Henderson deliberately “put his fingers in my eyes” and he had to be taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment to head injuries following his arrest.
Sheriff Robert Fife said he found the security staff had given “reliable accounts” to the events leading to the show being halted and accepted there had been “talking and singing loudly through the show”. The sheriff added: “That led to the show being stopped and both accused being removed from the auditorium and continued with similar behaviour in the bar area though to a lesser extent. As for both accused, regrettably they seem to have been oblivious of the disturbance they were causing other members of the audience. I do not accept their accounts as to what happened inside the auditorium as reliable.”
Sheriff Fife delivered his verdict on Tuesday where he said “the facts had been established” regarding the pair behaving in a threatening or abusive manner and to Kirk assaulting Mr Henderson by pushing him on the body. The sheriff added he found this to be an “exceptional case” and granted both accused an absolute discharge.