A MAN who was accused of killing his childhood friend by repeatedly stabbing him with a knife has been acquitted of murder.
David Geddes,41, was accused of killing Jaymie Hall following an incident in May 2017 at Dumbryden Gardens in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh.
On Monday, following a week long trial, jurors at the high court in the city returned not proven verdicts to charges of murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.
The jurors returned the verdicts after hearing Geddes, a prisoner of HMP Saughton, claim that another man called John Rorison stabbed Mr Hall.
Mr Geddes claimed that Mr Rorison, who died late last year, attacked Mr Hall after the pair became involved in a confrontation.
He said that Mr Rorison had previously been beaten up by Mr Hall in the weeks leading up to the fatal stabbing.
Following the jury’s verdict, judge Lord Uist acquitted Mr Geddes whilst relatives of Mr Hall wept in the public benches.
Lord Uist added: “You are discharged from the dock.”
Prosecutors claimed that on May 27, 2017, at 65 Dumbryden Gardens, Edinburgh, Mr Geddes murdered Mr Hall by stabbing him repeatedly with a knife. Mr Geddes lived at the address where prosecutors said the alleged crime took place.
The Crown also claimed that on the same date and at the same location, Mr Geddes attempted to defeat the ends of justice by concealing the knife used in the alleged murder in a nearby bin.
The prosecution also claimed that Mr Geddes instructed his son Jack and Mr Rorison to provide officers investigating Mr Hall’s death with an “inaccurate and untruthful” account of what happened.
However, Mr Geddes’s legal team lodged a special defence of incrimination in which they stated that Mr Rorison was the man who committed the murder.
On the second day of the trial, Mr Geddes’s 17-year-old son Jack told the court how he phoned 999 moments after seeing Mr Hall lying on the ground outside the house.
He told prosecution lawyer Owen Mullan: “Jaymie was lying on the floor. His feet were outside my dad’s door. Jaymie was lying flat on his back. There was quite a lot of blood underneath him and around him.
“He didn’t look as if he was in pain. He was breathing a little bit heavy.”
Giving evidence on his own behalf, Mr Geddes claimed that he wasn’t the man who committed the murder. He said the man who stabbed Jaymie was John Rorison.
Mr Geddes said that on the day of the alleged murder he and John Rorison watched the Scottish Cup final on television.
He said that Mr Hall arrived at his home later in the evening.
Mr Geddes said that Mr Hall had previously assaulted Mr Rorison. The court heard that Mr Rorison needed medical treatment following the attack.
Mr Geddes said: “Jaymie told me he had stamped on him.”
Mr Geddes said that Mr Hall told Mr Rorison that he wasn’t going to apologise for attacking him and the two men started to argue with each other.
The court heard that Mr Hall then left the flat and Mr Geddes said he saw Mr Rorison attack him with the blade outside in the landing of the tenament.
He added: “I saw John unsheathing the knife and he came towards Jaymie and made a stabbing motion with the knife.
I couldn’t believe what I saw. It happened so quickly.
“Jaymie was going out the double doors. I said ‘Jaymie come back.’
“He says he’s going to see his mum. Jaymie didn’t look right. John is standing there. He’s saying ‘what have I done, what have I done?
“Jaymie then comes back towards me. He doesn’t look right. His legs buckled. He lowers his arm and a lot of blood comes out and he falls to the ground.
“I immediately ask somebody to phone for an ambulance.
“John meanwhile is standing there at the door and all he can say is ‘what have I done, what have I done?’”
During his evidence, Mr Geddes admitted telling lies to police officers who were investigating Mr Hall’s death.
He told defence solicitor advocate Brian Gilfedder: “It’s something I regret. I was trying to protect my friends - one of them had been stabbed and the other one had carried out the attack.”
Mr Geddes also claimed that during the police investigation, Mr Rorison gave ‘false statements’ to detectives. He said Mr Rorison’s information caused him to be arrested.
When he learned that Mr Rorison died, Mr Geddes said: “I was angry that he wasn’t going to be here in court and that he wasn’t going to answer questions about his false statements.”
On Monday afternoon jurors returned their verdicts after spending half the court day deliberating.
Lord Uist then thanked the jurors for their service.
Court security officers then accompanied Mr Geddes to the court cells.