Tayside and Central Scotland

Ex-FM Jack McConnell in neighbour shed dispute

The McConnells home in Stirling
Image caption The McConnells are fighting a civil case against their neighbour over the shed

A legal bid by ex-first minister Jack McConnell in a shed dispute has been dismissed as it could see his elderly neighbour sent to jail.

The Labour politician is fighting a civil case against Norma Hunter, 69, over the use of a coal shed on the boundary of their properties.

He wanted her banned from using the shed until the case was resolved, but the motion was thrown out.

Mrs Hunter uses the shed - in Kings Park, Stirling - to store tools.

Mr McConnell - now known as Baron McConnell of Glenscorrodale - and his wife, Bridget, argue that the 3ft by 3ft shed on the boundary of the garden is theirs.

But Sheriff Wyllie Robertson threw out the McConnells' application for interim interdict from their lawyer Ian Smart, which would have banned Mrs Hunter from using the shed.

Neighbours' access

Sheriff Robertson said: "Let's be real about this. This is a motion for interim interdict. If the defender continues to use the cellar in breach of interdict the defender could be sent to prison."

Stirling Sheriff Court heard the McConnells have a ground floor flat in Victoria Place, with retired Kirk minister Reverend Malcolm MacRae, 66, as their downstairs neighbour in the basement. Mrs Hunter owns the house next door.

The cellar sits on its own at the back of their property, and can currently be accessed by Mrs Hunter, the McConnells, and the Reverend MacRae, but the clergyman is laying no claim to the cellar.

Mr Smart argued the cellar was part of the staircase which was joined on to the basement of the McConnells' property, so therefore should be theirs.

However, Anthony Quinn, for Mrs Hunter, said: "The cellar is distinct from the internal staircase, and distinct from their property."

Throwing out the interim interdict, Sheriff Robertson said: "The real difficulty I have is the remedies for breach of interim interdict are penal."

The case continues.

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