Edinburgh crime: Man admits biting police officer while trying to claim ownership of Edinburgh Castle
and live on Freeview channel 276
Richard Bale sunk his teeth into the constable while he was part of a large group of demonstrators bidding to seize control of the capital’s historic landmark in August 2021. Bale, 50, grabbed hold of a security barrier and allowed members of his group to enter the castle during a tense confrontation with staff which took place during the Covid pandemic. Protestors recorded the incident on mobile phones and live-streamed the attempted takeover to their Facebook page.
One man could be heard stating: ““The people of Scotland have had enough and today we claim our power back.” Police were called in to deal with the protestors leading Bale to assault PC Liam Hulme by biting him on his body resulting in the officer having to have a hepatitis B jab and to take time off work. Bale, of Neilston, near Glasgow, pleaded guilty to assault and breach of the peace when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month.
He returned to the dock for sentencing on Monday, June 5, but the court was told the previously called for social work report had not been completed. Sheriff Daniel Kelly agreed to defer sentence again to next month.
Previously, fiscal depute Joanna Waller told the court around 20 protesters turned up at the main entrance to Edinburgh Castle at around 4.15pm on August 17, 2021. Ms Waller said the activists told castle staff they were claiming ownership of the landmark under Article 61 of Magna Carta, the 800-year-old charter of rights. Bale was seen conducting himself in a disorderly and aggressive manner and demanded staff grant him and his group entry to the building.
The court heard Bale grabbed hold of a barrier being held by a security guard and threw it aside allowing the group to get inside. Ms Waller said police officers moved in to make arrests at around 9pm after Bale had become separated from his fellow demonstrators.
The court was told Bale then bit PC Hulme during the arrest procedure and was said to have “broke the skin” of the officer. The constable was later given a hepatitis B booster injection and was said to have been “non-deployable for a period of time”.
Lawyer Hannah Ridgway said her client had assaulted the officer after he believed a knee had made contact with him and that he had been part of a “peaceful protest” which “got out of hand”. During the live stream video of the incident a female voice can be heard saying “we have seized Edinburgh Castle”.
She added: “We’re waiting to restore the rule of law. We’re doing this peacefully and we’re doing this lawfully. Edinburgh Castle belongs to the people of Scotland. High treason has been committed. We are using article 61 of the Magna Carta. We have had enough. The people of Scotland have had enough and today we claim our power back.”
The Magna Carta - signed in 1215 by England’s King John - was a royal bill of rights designed to bring peace between the English king and his barons. Its purpose served to limit the power of the monarch and enshrine certain rights. But it predates the Act of Union and doesn’t have any bearing upon Scots Law.
Bale pleaded guilty to conducting himself in a disorderly manner by attempting to claim ownership of Edinburgh Castle and did commit a breach of the peace on August 17, 2021. He also admitted to assaulting PC Liam Hulme by biting him on the body on the same date.