Highlands & Islands

Trial of terminally ill Western Isles man abandoned

The trial of a terminally ill man accused of sexually abusing 13 girls over a 40-year period has been abandoned.

Donald MacNeil, 81, who is from the Western Isles and has bowel cancer, has been deemed unfit to stand trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

The court heard that Mr MacNeil was told by doctors in May that he had six months to live.

He denied sexually abusing girls between 1971 and 2011.

Mr MacNeil also denied raping one girl when she was 12 or 13 in the 1970s and another girl when she was aged between 14 and 15 in the 1990s.

Last Friday, three days into the trial, he collapsed and was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

On Wednesday, judge Johanna Johnston QC agreed to desert the trial pro loce and tempore.

She said: "Mr MacNeil's medical condition is such that he can't follow what is happening in court.

"The Crown has deserted the case in the meantime, but they have the option to continue the prosecution.

"For all we know the case may be brought back again, but that will be for others to decide."