Judge blasts prosecution after sex case blunder

The case was due to be heard at the High Court in Livingston. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
The case was due to be heard at the High Court in Livingston. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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A SENIOR judge has blasted Scotland’s prosecution service after a major blunder forced the postponement of a High Court sex case.

Lord Boyd reacted angrily to being told that vital evidence which could help accused Cihan Ergisi’s defence had not been disclosed to his legal team.

The error was revealed yesterday morning as Ergisi’s trial was due to start at the High Court in Livingston.

Frances McMenamin QC, defending, said she had learned that evidence crucial to the identification of the person who committed the alleged offences had not been disclosed to the defence.

Similarly, she said, information which was significant to the defence case about the backgrounds of other potential suspects interviewed by police had not been passed on.

The judge told prosecutor Peter Ferguson QC: “I have to say I find this very disturbing, advocate depute, that the matter went, as all these do to a

preliminary hearing and the court was advised by both parties that they were ready for trial.

“I take that to mean the Crown has completed all its obligations of disclosure and that would be made by an advocate depute on his or her responsibility, so presumably Crown Counsel looked at it.

“This is not good enough.”

Mr Ferguson, who Lord Boyd absolved of blame for the error, said he would ensure that the judges’ comments were made known to those responsible for bringing the case to court.

He added: “I have to unreservedly accept that Crown has fallen down in its duty of relevant disclosure and apologised to the court.”

Ergisi, 36, has been on remand since he was charged six months ago with attempting to rape a woman in Eyre Place, Canonmills, on October 8.

He is also accused of following a woman in Bothwell Street on August 31 and making sexual comments, sexually assaulting another woman in Montgomery Street, and causing a disturbance by following another woman in St Leonard’s Street and Bernard Terrace.

Ergisi, from Leith, denies all the charges and has lodged a special defence of alibi in relation to two of the charges.

Ergisi was released on bail with a special condition that he remains at home between 10pm and 7am every day. A hearing was fixed for October 20 at the High Court in Glasgow.

A Crown Office spokesman said: “We will continue to prepare for trial in this case, and provide the defence with all necessary material.”