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BBC Scotland's Alan Grant
"Unfortunately I was barred from the court after admitting eating mints before the hearing had started"
 real 28k

Friday, 18 February, 2000, 14:00 GMT
Court barred for allergy evidence

Dundee Sheriff Court The courtroom remains locked for Miss Brown's evidence


The doors of a courtroom in Dundee have been locked and two journalists refused admission in a case involving a woman with a severe allergy.

Heather's Brown's condition means that coming into contact with perfumed products or certain foodstuffs causes her severe rashes and can send her into anaphylactic shock.

Heather Brown Heather Brown arrives at court
Her estranged husband, Colin Slane, is accused of endangering her life by smearing shampoo on her doorhandle with the intention of causing her to suffer an allergic reaction.

Before Miss Brown gave evidence on Thursday, three journalists were excluded from the court - two for wearing aftershave and one for having eaten peanuts at luncthime.

Even the accused was sent back to the cells underneath the court to wash and shower before his ex-wife took the witness stand.

Mint sweets

On Friday morning, two more journalists were excluded. One admitted wearing deodorant and another who had been eating mint sweets.

The doors of the court are staying locked with no-one entering or leaving for the duration of Miss Brown's evidence.

Miss Brown told the court she could suffer an attack just by speaking to someone who had eaten peanuts or by coming into contact with orange peel.


I did it to get her back. I regret doing it. I thought she would just get a rash
Colin Slane's evidence on tape
Mr Slane, from Dundee, denies smearing shampoo on a door handle between 21 and 22 January while knowing his wife was allergic to it, with the intention of causing her to suffer an allergic reaction and endangering her life.

He also pleads not guilty to assaulting her by spitting on her face and maliciously damaging a car last August.

Detective Constable Robert Singleton said he visited Mr Slane at the marital home in Byron Street following a complaint made by his wife.

The couple's marriage ran into problems in early 1998, leading to their divorce in December that year.

Evidence on tape

In a videotaped interview shown in court, Mr Slane described how his wife's illness had affected their lives.

He described one occasion when Miss Brown had suffered a reaction after taking a sip of a friend's fizzy drink, which she had described at the time as, "like somebody grabbing her neck".

He said: "I would never, ever wish that on anybody. It's a very very serious illness I have saved her six or seven times. It was quite frightening."

Dundee Sheriff Court Journalists have been refused admission
But Mr Slane admitted on the tape that he went to her home and placed shampoo on a door handle.

He said: "I did it to get her back. I regret doing it. I thought she would just get a rash."

Mr Slane agreed that he was well aware of what could cause Mrs Slane's allergic reactions, listing various food additives, peanuts and perfumed products as amongst the triggers.

The list included any E numbers up to 120, gelatine, ascorbic acid, propylene glycol, and air fresheners and even metal objects gave her a bad rash.

The trial continues.
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See also:
22 Jun 99 |  A-B
Anaphylactic shock

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