Glasgow & West Scotland

Labour MP Marie Rimmer cleared of abusing Yes campaigner

Marie Rimmer
Image caption Marie Rimmer denies the charges against her

A Labour MP who is on trial for allegedly kicking a Yes campaigner on the day of the independence referendum has been cleared of abusive behaviour.

St Helens South and Whiston MP Marie Rimmer, 69, faced two charges following an incident outside Shettleston Community Centre on 18 September 2014.

At Glasgow Sheriff Court, she was found not guilty of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner.

Ms Rimmer denies the other charge that she assaulted a woman by kicking her.

The charge that Ms Rimmer was cleared of related to an alleged exchange with Yes campaigner Dennis Ashcroft, where she was alleged to have used words to the effect of "I don't like you, don't speak to me".

No foul language

At the close of the Crown case, solicitor advocate Liam Ewing, defending, made a motion that there was no case to answer in respect of the threatening behaviour charge.

He referred to the law and pointed out there was no foul language or threats made by Ms Rimmer.

Sheriff Kenneth Hogg upheld the submission, found her not guilty and said he will give more details on his decision at a later time.

Earlier, Ms Rimmer, from St Helen's, gave evidence where she denied kicking 52-year-old Patricia McLeish.

She told the court she approached the witness and spoke to her outside the community centre when she saw her carrying a Unison bag and made conversation about that.

Ms Rimmer said after finding out she was a member of the trade union and that she worked in local government "it seemed to go wrong from then on".

She claimed Ms McLeish made the comment "we want more of the 47" a reference to Liverpool socialist councillors in the 1980s.

'Red Tories'

She also alleged Ms McLeish used the phrase "red Tories" and was "very angry and very hostile".

The court heard the witness screamed "I'm not a nationalist, I'm a socialist, I'm solidarity" and dropped her bag and showed off a t-shirt to Ms Rimmer.

The MP claimed Ms McLeish took a few steps towards her during a discussion before turning and walking away.

The accused said: "Then she suddenly turned round and said 'you just kicked me'. I was in shock, I said 'I never touched you'."

She said the police arrived and spoke to her but she was not cautioned and charged at that time but was spoken to again later that day.

Ms Rimmer said the officer who dealt with her later said "I have been instructed to arrest you" and she was taken to London Road police station before being released after 22:00.

It was put to her that she was the one who was the aggressor and that she did kick Ms McLeish.

Ms Rimmer said: "I wasn't aggressive, anything but. If anyone was aggressive it was Miss McLeish towards me."

The trial before Sheriff Kenneth Hogg continues.

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