Page last updated at 15:29 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 16:29 UK

MSP cleared in phone driving case

Ted Brocklebank
The court said Mr Brocklebank had no case to answer

The Crown Office has said it will consider appealing against a decision to clear an MSP over a charge of using a mobile phone while driving.

Tory Ted Brocklebank was stopped by officers on 5 May last year while going through Guardbridge in Fife.

His solicitor argued there was no evidence to suggest the phone had been sending or receiving communications.

At Cupar District Court, JP Harry Terrell said he had no choice but to rule there was no case to answer

The MSP refused to comment after the case.

No evidence

Mr Brocklebank, who represents Mid-Scotland and Fife, had pleaded not guilty by letter.

He was pulled over after officers spotted the MSP holding the mobile phone in his left hand and looking in the direction of it.

Defence solicitor James Laverty insisted that there was no evidence to suggest that Mr Brocklebank had been using the device at the time he was stopped.

We have asked the Procurator Fiscal at Cupar for a full report with a view to considering an appeal
Crown Office

He told the court: "The crown have failed to show that this item was [even] in working order and was capable of carrying out this function."

He argued that the law defines "using" a mobile telephone as "sending or receiving written or oral communications" and that Mr Brocklebank was not engaged in such an act.

Justice of the Peace Harry Terrell said: "It seems to me that we are in uncharted waters legally and I have no choice but to fall back.

"Using means using and not being available to use and therefore accept the submission that there is no case to answer."

A Crown Office spokesman told the BBC Scotland new website: "We have asked the procurator fiscal at Cupar for a full report with a view to considering an appeal."

The mobile phone laws were first introduced in 2003 and strengthened again in August.


SEE ALSO
MSP faces car mobile use charge
07 Nov 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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