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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 May, 2004, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
Teacher denies swearing incident
Frank McAveety
Frank McAveety has already given evidence in the case
A primary school teacher has denied shouting and swearing at a Scottish Executive minister in the street.

The alleged confrontation involving Nicola Fisher and co-accused John Harper was over the war in Iraq and the closure of a local swimming pool.

Glasgow Sheriff Court had been told that the pair had called Tourism Minister Frank McAveety a murderer.

Miss Fisher denied the accusations, saying she had been enjoying a street party in the southside of Glasgow.

The 32-year-old and Mr Harper, 33, have denied breaching the peace during an incident in April last year.

The party had been organised by members of the Southside Against War group and people from the campaign to save the Govanhill swimming pool.

I am not going to risk my job by swearing in the street
Nicola Fisher
Miss Fisher told the court she knew Mr McAveety and Labour councillor Anne Marie Millar from her time as a member of the local community council.

The SNP party member admitted she did not have a good relationship with them because of differing opinions on political issues.

But under questioning by her defence agent Aamer Anwar, she said while remarks had been shouted at Mr McAveety by a group of about five people she had not been part of that group.

She said: "I have got my job to consider. As much as I deplore some of the things they have done I'm not going to risk my livelihood, that's ridiculous."

Miss Fisher said she had only approached the group in order to keep an eye on two teenage boys because she was concerned they would get into trouble.

She denied shouting at any of the group of four Labour Party members and supporters who had been out distributing leaflets to homes in the area at the time of the alleged incident.

Breach of peace

She said: "I am not going to risk my job by swearing in the street."

Mr McAveety had told the trial that the incident was one of the most frightening and intimidating in his career but Miss Fisher said: "I would not have said that one group was more aggressive than the other, it was very much an equal thing."

She added that Mr McAveety himself was "behaving in quite an intimidating way".

Miss Fisher, of Calder Street, Glasgow, has denied a breach of the peace and conducting herself in a disorderly manner in Glasgow's Govanhill area.

Mr Harper, of the city's Alexandra Parade, has also denied breaching the peace and forcibly removing leaflets from Mr McAveety and Miss Millar.

Glasgow Sheriff Court
The court heard claims of a street confrontation
Earlier on Tuesday two police constables told the court how they had been called to attend a disturbance in Govanhill on 20 April last year.

PC James McConville said he and three other officers arrived at Allison Street at about 1840 BST where they found Mr McAveety, who told them he and his Labour colleagues had been verbally abused by a group of people.

PC Paul Devlin said he spoke to Miss Millar shortly after the alleged incident when she told him she had been called a warmonger and a killer.

Another Labour supporter told the officer the group had been called "scum" and asked "how many babies have you killed?" PC Devlin told the court.

When I crossed over he kind of squared up to me. I felt as if he was in my space and I felt quite intimidated by him
Donna Borokinni
Witness
Donna Borokinni, 24, who was called as a defence witness, said she had shouted at Mr McAveety, not Miss Fisher.

She told the court that she was part of a group of people who were "heckling" the group as they walked past the Calder Street peace garden.

She said: "I was shouting that they had blood on their hands; 'shame on you'.

"I asked them how many children they had killed today. I asked them why they had taken part in an illegal war. I said they weren't welcome in Govanhill and I asked them why they closed down our pool."

She alleged that Mr McAveety had confronted her during the incident.

She told the court: "When I crossed over he kind of squared up to me. I felt as if he was in my space and I felt quite intimidated by him.

"He was right up close to my face telling me to go away, to grow up, saying that we didn't know what we were talking about."

She told the court that Mr Harper had been part of the group that had been "heckling" Mr McAveety's party but said Nicola Fisher had not been involved.

Witness, Daniel Lowe, 38, said he did not consider Mr McAveety to be at risk from the group of protesters, who had been attending a family barbecue and activity day which was being held to raise funds for the Southside Against War group and the upkeep of the peace garden.

He said he considered himself to be friends with Mr McAveety.

Mr Lowe said: "I knew him from community council meetings. I'd say to him 'you remind me of a brilliant dodgy car dealer', he's a lad, he's a geezer.

"I know him from being at community council meetings and from talking about football and the Pixies, Frank is a big fan of the Pixies."


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