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Last Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008, 14:26 GMT
First smoke ban trial man cleared
John Wraith smoking [Pic: Newsline]
John Wraith maintained he did not smoke at the bar
A pensioner believed to be the first person in Scotland to be taken to court accused of smoking in an enclosed public place has been cleared.

John Wraith, 67, denied committing the offence at the Burnett Arms Hotel in Kemnay, Aberdeenshire.

Sheriff Graeme Buchanan found him not guilty of the smoking charge at Aberdeen Sheriff Court due to unreliable evidence.

Wraith previously admitted breach of the peace and assaulting a barmaid.

'Wild west'

Wraith, of Kemnay, told the court he had not smoked at the bar in January 2007, and only learned of the accusations from police.

Sheriff Buchanan said the evidence of Eric Needham, who claimed to have seen Wraith with a lit cigarette, was "shifty, evasive and contradictory".

Burnett Arms Hotel
The incident happened at the Burnett Arms Hotel

He said it therefore could not be relied upon.

Sheriff Buchanan said: "Clearly, there is someone lying here, more than one probably.

"But the situation is, the one I was most unhappy with was Mr Needham."

Sentencing on Wraith on the other charges was deferred until 17 March.

Sheriff Buchanan described the incident as "wild west stuff" and called for background reports.

Wraith refused to comment outside court.



SEE ALSO
Smoke ban pensioner trial delayed
06 Sep 07 |  North East/N Isles
Smoke ban pensioner due for trial
27 Mar 07 |  North East/N Isles
Ban 'helping smokers to give up'
26 Mar 07 |  Scotland
Pensioner denies smoke ban breach
14 Mar 07 |  North East/N Isles

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