Police officers ‘illegally’ hauled Edinburgh woman from her home in nightclothes

A WOMAN who was convicted of assaulting two police officers in her own home has been cleared after judges ruled she used reasonable force to protect herself.

Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 5:56 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 6:05 pm

Rebecca Mccallum, 38, struggled with police constables Jill Urquhart and Scott Dugan, who had “illegally” barged in her front door and grabbed hold of her when she refused to accompany them to a station.

A senior judge branded the officers “intruders” who were determined to unlawfully remove her from her home ‘by whatever steps were necessary’.

They went to her home in Edinburgh on November 22, 2017, at around 9.40pm to detain Miss Mccallum on suspicion of assault but did not have a warrant to enter her home.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The High Court in Edinburgh

When Miss Mccallum, who was dressed in her nightclothes, tried to shut the door, the officers prevented her from doing so and entered the hallway and each took a hold of one of her arms.

A 15-minute struggle ensued and she was subsequently convicted of assault at Edinburgh Sheriff Court and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

The Sheriff Appeal Court refused to overturn her conviction but she has now successfully appealed to the Appeal Court of the High Court.

Lord Turnbull, sitting with Lord Carloway and Lord Brodie, ruled her conduct was “necessary in order to provide effective resistance to the unlawful actings to which she was subjected”.

Miss Mccallum claimed she sustained injuries during the incident which forced her to give her to stop working as a hairdresser.

She declined to comment but a source close to her said: “Rebecca is overjoyed at this decision as she feels she was very unfairly treated.

“She had to give up her hairdressing career due to nerve damage in her hand and was given 150 hours of unpaid work which she completed.

“It was a horrible experience for her as she was humiliated in front of all her neighbours by being dragged from her home in her nightwear.”

Issuing his judgement in the case, Lord Turnbull said: “The conduct of the police officers caused the appellant to struggle with them.

“During the course of that struggle she reiterated vociferously that she was refusing to go with them, that they were assaulting her, that they had no right to do what they were doing and that they should leave her alone. She was correct in all of this.

“The appellant was attempting to thwart the illegal efforts of two intruders who were determined, by whatever steps were necessary, to physically remove her from her home in her nightclothes at almost 10pm and take her elsewhere, leaving her 14-year-old son alone in the house.

“That they were uniformed public servants did not alter the facts of the situation. It was the appellant’s right to stop them from achieving their aim.”

Lord Turnbull also said the sheriff in the original case had “focused disproportionately on the fact that violence was directed towards police officers” and did not take proper account of evidence to injuries allegedly suffered by Miss Mccallum.

He added: “The sheriff has failed to face up to the fact that the appellant’s entitlement was to react to the unlawful entry to her home and to defeat, if she could, the unlawful attempts to physically remove her therefrom.”

Miss Mccallum had been convicted of assaulting PC Urquhart by repeatedly pinching and nipping her on the body to her injury and kicking PC Dugan on the body.

To keep up-to-date with all our stories from across Edinburgh and the Lothians like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

Sign up to our newsletter: enter your email in the box at the top of this article to get daily updates straight to your inbox.