#571 Part 5 Derek Hughes isn’t a salmon fisher – but he is a fraud buster – “We need to bury this man once and for all”

With John Bell by now probably walking back to his muckers to tell them how clever he was and how he made mincemeat out of me and had by himself guaranteed my conviction, the next Crown witness was called.
Derek Hughes was out in John Bells boat that day and had long before been cited as a witness for the prosecution. But developments since then, completely unconnected with anything I did on B&T, gave some hope to me that he might not be as useful to the PF as could have originally have been the case. Because I was sure there were legal restrictions on my contacting any Crown witness, either by phone or email before the trial date I hadn’t taken any chances and I’d had no contact, even though I suspected that DH wouldn’t be as fully onside as a crown witness as before his resignation. But I didn’t know for sure and could only speculate. Just in case I frantically prepared an alternative cross-examination which I fervently hoped I’d need.
Derek wasn’t a full LLAIA member and sat on the committee as the representative of the River Leven anglers but had been present at my disciplinary hearing that handed me a 10 year ban, held a couple of months after he first joined.
There had since, however, been a much publicised fall out between Derek and the rest of the committee, whereupon Derek had created his own Facebook group dedicated to revealing everything he deemed didn’t agree with what he’d witnessed in his time on the LLAIA Committee. And that was a more than substantial amount of things to worry about if you were Raeburn or Bourhill.
The smart thing to have done, I thought, in this circumstance would have been for them to inform the PF of the possibility that DH might not present as a model crown witness and let her adapt her examination to suit the different circumstance. But it soon was clear the PF was unaware of any changes and approached this as if he was just another witness in the mould of John Bell.
Her first attempt to get him to identify me as the bad man was the first positive indication that Derek was not intending to be playing along with Raeburn and Bourhills scam any longer. And that was when I knew my alternative questions I’d just drafted were going to be golddust.
When ushered to the stand he was sworn in and the usual name, address, age, occupation, etc were noted. Then he was asked if he was out on Loch Lomond with John Bell on the day in question and if he could identify anyone in court that he saw on that day. Again there was only me in the dock, and the man from the Daily Mail in the gallery behind. Derek screws up his face in concentration and looks at me, then at the Daily Mail man and says No, I can’t identify anyone from that day.
Not the answer the PF expected by a long way I could see and I saw her looking rapidly at her notes to see if they had the right witness.
Derek apologises and says he had only seen the man in the boat that day at a distance, and he’d also only seen me once before that at a disciplinary meeting when he was newly onto the committee about two years ago. So no, he was sorry but he couldn’t positively identify the bad man.
Consternation in the PFs camp and her initial line of questioning centred around a positive identification and confirmation of him seeing me trolling and able to corroborate John Bells story. To be honest I don’t really recall the rest of the PFs questions, but there weren’t very many and she wanted him off the stand quick. I was too busy mentally altering the sequencing of my cross-examine and trying to think of anything I’d missed that might cause Raeburn terminal embarrassment.
I sensed the sheriff taking a more obvious interest in this normally standard part of the proceedings and hoped it was a good sign.
The PF concluded her questioning and handed the witness over for cross-examination.
[I’ve included a photo of my hurridly compiled handwritten notes and list of questions I’d lashed up less than hour before for just this kind of situation, but I’d never dared hope I would actually need them. If nothing else went in my favour this day at least I’d had a share of the luck I needed if I was not to end up screwed into the flush.]

*******************

Q. You were out that day in John Bells boat. Did you have a valid Loch permit to fish that day.
A. I was told by Mr Bell that I didn’t need one as he had his.
Q. But the current LLAIA Bye-laws clearly state under Article XV that everyone in the boat, both angler and boatman required a permit. I’ve already submitted a copy of this document as evidence.
A. Mr Bell is an angling guide and fishes the loch regularly, also taking out clients, so I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that he’d know if I needed one or not.
Q. You are not a full LLAIA member and normally fish the river Leven on a concessionary Leven only season ticket, us that correct?
A. Yes, I’m not a full LLAIA member and normally only fish the river.
Q. How many salmon did you catch last season on the River Leven.
A. Fourteen from memory
Q. So you are quite a successful salmon fisher I’d say, and you’d class yourself as a salmon fisher as opposed to a sightseer, or watercolour artist, or bird watcher. But on that particular day Mr Bell asks us to believe you were not fishing, were not a salmon angler and therefore did not require a permit. What were you going to do if one or two of the rods went with a salmon on? Were you just going to watch?
A. It was never discussed. There’s not much chance of that happening these days, especially on Mr Bell boat.
Q. Despite not being a member you are on the LLAIA committee, is that correct.
A. I am.
Q. How long have you been on the committee.
A. Roughly about two years, I don’t know exactly.
Q. And in that short space of time how many disciplinary hearing did you attend that resulted in extended bans and/ or expulsions
A. Well I was at yours and one other, so probably two.
Q. Are you still on the committee now?
A. No, I resigned a few months ago.
Q. Was your departure on harmonious terms or would you describe your departure as acrimonious.
A. Most definetly acrimonious.
Q. So there was a serious fall out resulting in your departure. Who did you fall out with, specifically.
A. Mr Raeburn, the Chairman, and Mr Bourhill the Secretary.
Q. And thereafter you almost immediately set up your own Facebook page which is harshly critical of your former colleagues, their methods, their lack of improvement strategy and their personalities.
A. Yes, I felt that there was no intention to get involved in improving anything. The committee I thought was stagnant and ruled by just two individuals who dictated everything without input from others and things were not improving.
Q. And your Facebook site now has over 950 members and is highly critical of the individuals you referred to. Especially in relation to their non- performance in improving things on the River. Would it be true to say that there has been a River Leven rebellion and few anglers support the committee or their methods.
A. That is the case.
Q. Recently, and after you resigned, you attended another disciplinary hearing, but this time as a witness for the defence and against the accusations of the committee, chairman and secretary.
A. That’s correct.
Q. What was the outcome of that hearing. Did it go in your favour or was the outcome identical to the previous two hearings you’d attended.
A. The outcome was another suspension and in effect identical in outcome to the others.
Q. Did you think that those involved from the committee gave an honest account of what happened, or was there more dishonesty, falsification of evidence and selective memories.
A. I certainly did not think they were honest. The were anything but honest and deliberately ignored clear evidence that they knew would result in an aquittal. And especially I thought the Chairman and Secretary were dishonest, who both deliberately again set out to suspend someone who was causing them embarrassment.
Q. How would you describe your experience in relation to the three disciplinary hearings you attended. Would you class them as fair, unbiased and objective with genuine attempts to elicit the truth.
A. Are you joking? They were run like inquisitions, with the outcome pre-determined. Nothing that the accused said made any difference. The object wasn’t to get to the truth, but to remove the problem individuals for as long as possible to avoid further embarrassment of officials.
Q. Mr Hughes, could you take a look at the comments you made recently on your Facebook page in regard to my particular hearing that banned me for ten years. Could you read it out to the court.

[It said in answer to Bob Foreshaw : re. Peter Lyons and Alastair Mair, if I knew then what I know now about the Committee there would have been a different outcome, let’s just say the top men in the committee can be very convincing when they want to be.]

A. Its my post without doubt and says that if I had known then what I know now the banning of Peter Lyons and Alastair Mair would never have happened. Let’s just say the two individuals can be very persuasive when they want.
Q. That is your exact statement is it not? What exactly did you mean by that.
A. I meant that I felt I was railroaded into voting for these bans by the Chairman and Secretary. And if it was to be held today it would be different and I’d never have voted for any ban in either case.
Q. What happened after my hearing when the committee, including yourself, retired to consider their verdict?
A. There were certainly no suggestions that you were innocent that’s for sure. Various suggestions were made around the length of any ban, with someone suggesting a year, and someone else two. Then Gareth Bourhill, the Secretary jumps in and proposes a straight ten years and says “We need to bury this man once and for all”. The chairman, Jim Reaburn then immediately backed him up and thereafter the rest fell into line as usual, scared to oppose anything the two main men wanted. So that’s how your ten year ban was arranged.
Q. Do you consider now that the chairman is an honest man who acted honestly and fairly in dealing with the three disciplinary hearings you attended.
A. No I don’t. I think Jim Raeburn can’t really seperate the truth from all of the other conspiracies he’s concocted and he’s actually incapable of discerning the truth any time he thinks his position would be served better by lying.
Thank you Mr Hughes for your frankness and I have no further questions.
*******************
Clearly from the above this didn’t go as expected for the LLAIA Committee for the PF. Rather than another witness stacking up to confirm the chairman and secretary did everything by the book and that there was no conspiracy designed to expel and remove dissent, we now see another side, and I’d contend the really true side of this with the Chairman and Secretary dominating and bullying other committee members into accepting their views.
This is a completely opposed view from a former insider, now outside, and with a unique insight into the machinations of the LLAIA committee workings under the present leadership. Not pretty and not something they expected ever to become out, especially in a court environment. Raeburn and Bourhills worst case scenario and exactly what I’d hoped for. I must admit I couldn’t believe it when it was over. The whole stitch up, chapter and verse, and without so much as an interruption from the sheriff to prevent the questioning straying into areas that obviously had nothing to do with my fishing without a ticket.
That had been my main fear, that my line of questioning would be objected to on the grounds that the court wasn’t here to adjudicate on internal LLAIA politics, and I wouldn’t get the chance to really expose the disgraceful actions of those involved in bullying and intimidation of anyone who disagreed with them. I couldn’t believe it. It wouldn’t affect the result of the without ticket charge, I was sure, but definetly called into question the testimony and integrity of the three witnesses still to appear. And that just might be a step in the right direction. Even if not, some of the testimony was explosive. “We need to bury the man once and for all” shows a particularly obnoxious and viscous side from someone supposedly impartial and above reproach. Victimisation, persecution, bullying, all exposed in court and not just in private.
I was starting to get a better feeling for the whole thing, and I intended to go for the throats of the next three crown witnesses. When I walked out I didn’t want to have left anything unsaid that might help me discomfit Raeburn and his cronies.

#570 Obituary – Matt Stewart

Word has just reached me of the death of Matt Stewart, well known loch fly fisher and who in recent years fished out of Balmaha with his son Alan. He was an LLAIA member for many years and also was an original member of the Stock Improvement Working Group (SIWG) with his pal Angus MacRitchie. They were largely responsible for the building, efficient running, maintainance and adaptation of the LLAIA hatchery facility, originally at Inversnaid, and latterly at Stockiemuir.

The Stockiemuir hatchery facility they largely built themselves from scratch with scavenged, donated or gifted parts and more than a bit of ingenuity and hard graft. It served the LLAIA well for years, as did Matt. From the day the last brood fish was stripped till the last fed fry was either transferred or stocked out Matt spent time throughout the winter months virtually every day making sure the water supply wasn’t frozen, the ova trays were free of dead eggs and everything was safe and sound for another day. For a number of years it’s true to say that the first thing millions of LLAIA eyed ova saw in its life was Matt Stewart and his egg picking suction bulb, and the last human it saw before its return to the wild was also Matt Stewart as he gently replaced it in its natal river.
He wasn’t a young man when he took this on, but it was his passion and he was reliable and dedicated and treated every single fry as precious. Who knows how many salmon and sea trout returned to Lomond over the years as a result of his dedication and commitment.
He could tell a good story round the drum up fire, and caught his share of memorable Lomond sea trout, invariably on the fly rod, but occasionally the dap. He once caught a 15lb sea trout on the dap, and he’ll be sadly missed by many acquaintances and friends.

My condolences to son Alan, wife Rena and the rest of the family.

#569 Part 4 The Lomond Dangler dangled – it’s not too late to reserve a day for next season – if he’s not booked solid by then.

After Sammy came John Bell, also known as the Lomond Dangler, the only professional angling guide on Loch Lomond. He’d been out on the day in question and passed me twice, once early on on the Endrick bank, and later off the Ross isles.
John Bell was one of the four who attended my initial disciplinary hearing and had instantly corroborated the chairmans “those present” recollections. Since then he’d for some reason failed to realise that had been a grave mistake that was going to have a serious impact on his future Lomond prospects. He genuinely seemed to expect that I’d just roll over and let him treat me like sh*t, and let him lie to take my ticket away. He seemed blissfully unaware of the seriousness of his position and was relishing, it appeared, his day in the headlights. I was determined to leave him with no misconception of what this was going to mean for himself in the future, win lose or draw.
This was the first long awaited opportunity to face one of the main four committee members responsible for the whole fiasco. He was present at my disciplinary hearing, voted enthusiastically for the ten year ban and has displayed not a scintilla of remorse or contrition since. I was ready for him and I intended this was going to be a long and unpleasant experience for him.
I was thinking it might some day dawn on Bell that here he was siting in public, about to lie in court to protect Raeburn and Bourhills initial dishonesty, and yet both of the latter had so far managed to avoid appearing themselves to do likewise. Bourhill especially had orchestrated the whole thing, but his involvement always stopped short of actually appearing anywhere in person himself. He just instructed others to do that for him while he stood back and watched, and therefore was not directly implicated in any statements later found to be untrue.
Bell entered the witness box and confirmed his name, age and employment details. He was dressed for some reason on a bright reddish/orange zip-up cagoule type jacket and reminded me of a tame robin I feed in the back garden. I hadn’t seen him for a while and he’s put on a fair bit of weight since. Maybe all his suits were to wee for him and he’d borrowed the wife’s cagoule for the day. In the witness box I could only see his top half and he looked even more like a robin perched on the edge of the witness box.
Identification formalities over he was asked to point out the bad man. Over there , Mr Lyons he says and he points at me.
Can you confirm its him you saw that day trolling for salmon, the PF says. And you took two video clips yourself that day also which I’d like to show the court. On the big screen up comes the first clip taken off Balmaha and Coelebs appears together with evidence of a passenger in Bells boat, who is clearly Derek Hughes, the next Crown witness. The video is accompanied by a running commentary from Bell shouting “Peter Lyons is a banned angler and shouldn’t be fishing”. Then comes “Mr Lyons, an angler banned for ten years out fishing for salmon” followed by a clear shot of his own boat partner surrounded by numerous items of fishing gear, and clearly showing four trolling rods out. The video clips finish and the PF continues.
Did you then contact the bailiffs to pass on the information and to effect an interception. I did.
And that resulted in Mr Lyons being apprehended later in the day and subsequently cautioned and his fishing gear confiscated. It did, in a clear voice with chest puffed out, obviously proud of the part he’d played.
No further questions m’lud.
Mr Lyons, would you like to cross – examine the witness?
My turn now and Bell looks even more like the robin now with his puffed out chest, his story told and waiting for his reward of a crust. I was just about to dent his confidence and remove his smugness.
****************
Q. Mr Bell, you say you saw me on the day in question on the loch fishing without a ticket?
A. I did. I saw you numerous times
Q. Did you actually challenge me to produce my ticket? Like by actually showing your own ticket as a member and demanding to see mine as required by the Constitution?
A. No I didn’t as I already knew you didn’t have one as you were banned for ten years
Q. Regardless of your failure to properly challenge me in accordance with guidance contained in the Constitution, did you take it upon yourself to contact thereafter the bailiffs to inform them? Who else did you contact? Mr Raeburn? Mr Bourhill?
A. I contacted the bailiffs who contacted the bailiff supervisor I expect.
Q. So if you didn’t ask to see my permit, how could you possibly know I didn’t have one? Because even at today’s date there has been not one mention of my 10 year ban on any official medium. My name doesn’t appear in one single communication to members in all that time. Is that correct? Not one thing appears on the committee blog, or the fishing report section either. It does appear that you’ve gone to great lengths to conceal this from other members. Why? I put it to you that my ticket was witheld against the wishes of the members and that you had no authority to do so and you’ve kept it quiet for that reason.
A. Plenty people know, it’s no secret.
Q. But it is correct that there has never been any public acknowledgement by officials that i didn’t have a ticket, so how did you actually know that for certain without asking? Was it because of your privileged committee position?
A. I was on the committee who banned you for ten years and attended your disciplinary hearing so I knew you were banned
Q. But you then must also have been aware for the same reason, that I’d repeatedly applied for my permit, and paid for it too but you had decided to ignore me. (I produce copies of those letters now in evidence). You certainly knew that I’d applied because I’d sent you personal email copies of the letters.
A. I haven’t read your emails. I just delete them. They are invariably derogatory and I refuse to bother myself with them.
Q. Are you scared of emails and difficult correspondence, Mr Bell? Because it’s not a sensible position for anyone in authority to avoid things they don’t like in case someone might call them a bad name.
A. No, I just delete yours
Q. Regardless of your use of the delete button, in your capacity as a committee member and the person responsible for my fraudulent ban I personally sent you by email a copy of the three letters, as I did the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. Did you read my letters and take any action?
A. I didn’t even open them and I took no action whatsoever.
Q. So you didn’t ever discuss the circumstances of my ban in the light of additional evidence I’d presented that the Chairman had lied and dishonestly amended the Constitution. You just decided that didn’t matter because it might involve you in something unpleasant so you pretended it never happened.
A. I saw no need to involve myself in further confrontation.
Q. So you just decided to ignore an obvious miscarriage of justice because it would prove you had colluded with Raeburn to dishonestly remove a member just because you didn’t like him.
A. The ban was correctly imposed and deserved.
Q. So you knew I didn’t have a ticket, and you also knew why, and didn’t need to ask to see it which every other person would have had to unless a committee member. Is that right ?
A. I knew you were banned and couldn’t possibly have a ticket.
Q. There was another angler out with you on that day, wasn’t there? And he didn’t have a valid permit to fish loch lomond either, did he, as I believe he is only a Leven ticket holder and not a full LLAIA member. You, Mr Bell, are Lomonds only professional, paid fishing guide are you not? As Lomonds only professional fishing guide when taking someone out in your boat surely you always ensure they first have a valid permit? Did you ask to see your passengers ticket as a precaution against finding yourself in the predicament as I am in now? You are aware of the requirements of LLAIA Bye-law XV which clearly states “All anglers and boatmen present in a boat must be in possession of a valid ticket to fish. (Copy of bye-laws submitted in evidence)
A. Mr Hughes was a guest and wasn’t fishing. He was out for a sail only.
Q. So Mr hughes, a recognised and well known salmon fisher wasn’t a salmon fisher on that particular day, according to you and therefore didn’t need a ticket. Is that correct? What was he doing, practicing his watercolour technique, bird watching, or just sunbathing. Because he clearly appears in your boat dressed in waders, speciallist fishing jacket and surrounded by fishing gear
A. Yes.
Q. But I’ve just presented you with evidence from the Bye -Laws that very person in the boat needs a permit.
A. He wasn’t fishing
Q. So he had no valid loch ticket. You were in the privileged position to yourself issue tickets to, and accept cash from, persons you take out.? Is that a privileged position held by any other person?
A. No, just me.
Q. But this day you decided to abuse that trust, take out someone who clearly didn’t have a valid loch permit, and then decide to confront me for doing similar?
A. He didn’t need a ticket. He wasn’t fishing.
Q. You were aware of the failed attempt to persecute me the previous July for an identical “crime” where I was cautioned and informed I was the subject of police and PF investigations. That situation was identical to yours but yet I needed a ticket, but you don’t. How is that consistent?
A. Because he wasn’t fishing and you were.
Q. So what happened to that incident, why was it not pursued, and why didn’t it get progressed by the police and PF?
A. You’d need to ask the chairman.
Q. Taking you back to the ban you issued me with? Why didn’t you reassess the evidence I provided you with clearly showing you had been in error in accepting the chairmans “those present” recollection. And read the evidence I’d provided from Mr Andrew Johnstone which confirmed he proposed only 100% of the full committee in attendance and unanimous. Don’t you think that would have been the honest, fair and reasonable course if action?
A. No answer
Q. So why continue with the charade to the extent of deliberately appearing in court to prosecute a position so obviously based on personal dislike rather than on any commission of a real crime?
Q. Mr Bell, I put it to you that you knew I’d legitimately challenged that ban, provided incontestable grounds for its overturning and I contend submitted evidence that proved conclusively that a deliberate fraud had occurred initiated by the chairman. But that you, and the others involved refused to revisit their actions and instead proceeded with a completely contrived and dishonest persecution of me which has ultimately ended up in court today.
A. We did it properly.
Q. Do you not think the court might have difficulty in you providing statements about alleged angling without written permission by me while sitting four feet away in the same boat with your friend (at that time) fishing without permission? The pal that you’d taken out yourself, but not required he had written permission first. Is that not something that bothered you? Does it bother you now?
A. I told you he wasn’t fishing.
Q. Mr Bell, yourself and your clients caught exactly zero salmon on Loch Lomond last year, is that the case? How many salmon did your passenger, the man that supposedly isn’t a salmon fisher and wasn’t fushing, catch from the Lomond system last year? Because confirmed records show he caught 14 (fourteen)
A. I don’t know how many he had
Q. So you are asking us to believe that a man who caught 14 salmon wasn’t a salmon angler, but the man who caught none was. Is that not stretching imagination a wee bit. So apparantly you could see me fishing without a ticket 50 yards away, but couldn’t see your boat partner doing the same in your own boat. That’s an embarrassing position to be in, especially when you decide to be a witness to prosecute one and turn a blind eye to the other.
A. No answer
I think I’ve already cast enough doubt on the motives and malicious intentions of this witness to suggest his testimony is biased and not impartial and honest. And that is an essential part of my defense. None of these witnesses produced are impartial, unbiased bystanders and all have a personal interest in prosecuting me for their own gratification far exceeding any real harm that occurred and as a punishment for resisting their dubious interpretations of free speech and democracy.
********************
The PF had no further questions and John Bell was told he could leave, which he did without looking at me.
It was just before 1o’ clock and the sheriff declared that there would be a break for lunch until 2 o’clock sharp. The court was cleared and I was intending just sitting in the waiting room to read my notes but was told the building would be cleared and locked until 2o’clock and I’d have to go elsewhere.
I wasn’t in the mood for eating so just sat in the car and made a few calls. The morning had passed in a flash but it seemed I’d have another full afternoon to negotiate before it was over.
I’d decided, hoped, that there was a reasonable chance that the next witness might not be as hostile as I’d originally planned for. So I hurridly hand wrote an alternative set of cross-examination questions if that turned out to be the situation.
If that occurred it could mean that a crown witness might not be saying what the PF thought he was going to say when the case was originally raised and witnesses notified. I thought that it was unlikely the Raeburn, Bourhill, etc would have the sense to advise the PF of, potentially, an uncooperative witness and that would be to my advantage. But only if that turned out to be the case. I’d nothing concrete, other than logic and a hunch that the next witness would be more than a little surprising to the crown case, and to Raeburn, Bourhill and Bell especially.
I was back in court by the 2 o’clock deadline. So was the guy from the Daily Mail. I hoped he’d have more than an occasional surprise in the first afternoon session to keep him awake.

#568 Part 3 Mr McBrearty on the stand – some expert swearing in – but again no idea of what happened to the missing bodycam footage.

Sammy McBrearty was shown into the witness box and sworn in.

Then came the usual identification procedure. Point to the bad man if you see him in court. Sammy dutifully scans the only two people in the court, me and the Daily Mail reporter and selects me. Out comes the finger and he points and says that’s him there, Mr Lyons.
Then the two video clips previously shown with Coelebs chugging prettily past Balmaha, trolling rods all conspicuously displayed is played on the big screen. And within the first few seconds come the unmistakable raised voice of Mr McBrearty shouting ” How should I fucken know?”, at the top of his voice, obviously misunderstanding the whole concept of the “swearing in” process.
The usual how did you know he was salmon fishing and how couldn’t what he was doing be confused with pike fishing was negotiated without a hitch.
Sammy was in the witness box and appeared pugnacious and feisty, just desperate to tell his story and play his part. Just what he’d been told by his two bosses to engender such hostility cannot be surmised, but it was obvious from the start that he was just itching to stick it to me. For my own part, for some reason I couldn’t get the image of the Sammy false faces many of the Leven fishers wore to their last day bash out of my mind. I pulled myself together and listened as the PF finished her by now fairly standard opening gambit, albeit with minor alterations depending on the expected useful performance as a crown witness.
Then she finished with a no other questions m’lud, and then it was my turn.
Start off easy, lull the witness into a sense of security and belief that this is going to be a doddle, then go in for the killer blow
Q. Mr McBreearty, before you set out in the bailiffs boat that day had you been told to head straight for me because of info already received from J Bell?
A. Yes, we had information leading us to believe you were out fishing and you were the target of our visit. But we’d been out on the loch the previous five days in a row because we have a constant loch presence keeping poaching in check.
Q. Did Mr Raeburn not tell you I’d been texting him with the days, dates times and exact locations when i was out fishing, and had been for some considerable time.
A. He didn’t tell me.
Q. Did you also check the boat of Mr Bell, a fellow crown witness, LLAIA Committee member and professional salmon angling guide also out on that day and who had phoned in the report about me?
Q. Why not, because he also was out fishing with another angler in his boat without written permission. Why did you only single me out and ignore him? Is that not blatent victimisation and favouritism not in accordance with the principals of equality and equal rights.
A. We were too busy dealing with you and can’t be everywhere at the same time
Q. You knew the confrontational history of the case having already been involved in the previous July’s false caution and false notification to the police and procurator fiscal which I’d been subjected to by the chairman and secretary. You knew this because you yourself issued that false caution is that correct?
A. Yes, I knew you’d been cautioned.
Q. You remember the incident clearly then, The one where after 3 months waiting and after being notified in writing of an ongoing police and PF investigation I phoned the police and PF myself only to find they knew nothing about it, didn’t have my name on file and were not investigating anything.
A. I knew you’d been cautioned but wasn’t informed by the committee of anything about a police investigation or the PF.
Q. So you never thought to ask about what was happening about the future progress of the highest profile capture of your entire bailiffing career. It just slipped your mind?
A. I knew I’d be told whatever the bailiff supervisor thought I needed to know.
Q. This time the handling of the incident was different though and Robert, the most inexperienced bailiff took the lead role. Why was that do you think? Was it because you’d already made a mess of things the previous July and couldn’t be relied on not to get it wrong this time again?
A. No, it just happened that way.
Q. So you hadn’t been told to sit quiet and let Robert do the hard stuff.
A. No.
Q. Apart from me how many boats have you caught without tickets on the loch and issued immediate cautions and confiscations of gear? Ball park figure, last season say, ten, twenty, none? Is it not standard operating procedure not to issue cautions but to issue a warning, instruct anyone caught to get a permit today or else, and to use cautioning, charges or confiscation as a last resort? So why different in this case? So this is an extremely rare occurrence, bordering on the unknown.
A. We never issue warnings or instructions to get a ticket next time. We are instructed to proceed immediately to caution, charges and confiscation of gear in every instance.
Q. What happened to the bodycam evidence you took at the time of the whole caution and confiscation pantomime . I’ve produced in evidence my written account of what happened that day which has been questioned by the evidence of the previous witness. This can be cleared up by reference to the bodycam footage and matching against my written statement made at the time of the incident.
A. I haven’t seen the bodycam footage. It goes straight to the bailiff supervisor, Mr Bourhill, and what happens to it thereafter I have no idea.
Q. You took a secondary role in the Balmaha incident, even though you were the senior bailiff. Why.
A. I told you, it just happened that way.
Q. You don’t have a good reputation as a bailiff amongst LLAIA Members and especially anglers on the Leven do you?. You are regularly accused of fabricating stories, making up the most incredible fantasies, and some almost unbelievable descriptions of your own prowess and previous experiences? [ At this point the sheriff intervened and warned me about direct attacks on witnesses. I’m to restrict myself in future to asking recognisable questions, not make statements about witnesses character.]
Sheriff. Mr Lyons you are badgering the witness and making statements not asking questions. Do not proceed down this line of questioning or there wil be consequences.
PL I apologise and withdraw the question.
Q. On that day i specifically refused to be cautioned by you again after the last fiasco and insisted you get the police to charge me and take my rods. Is that the case?
A. I don’t remember.
Q. But the bodycam footage would confirm that if true wouldn’t it.
A. I don’t know
Q. Would it surprise you to know the bodycam footage you took of the whole incident is mysteriously missing?
A. It would. The bodycam evidence was handed to Mr Bourhill immediately following the incident.
Q. And that included everything that was said by myself and others at that time.
A. I would expect so.
Q And therefore missing for some reason is the only verifiable evidence that I did in fact refuse to be cautioned, refused to have my gear taken except by the police, etc. And in fact missing is the only verifiable evidence that corroborates my own written statement of what actually happened on the day. That seems a coincidence bordering on the incredible
A. I don’t know.
Q. Was I abusive, aggressive or violent at any time during the incident, or was I calm, collected, polite and courteous.
A I can’t remember all of the time, but you were angry.
Q. I refused repeatedly to surrender my rods and gear to you after the last caution fiasco and demanded that the police attended to formally charge me and confiscated any gear they wanted. Do you remember that?
A. No
Q. And yet for some reason you were unable to comply with that. Why were the police not in attendance?
A There was another more serious incident and they were diverted to deal with that from memory
Q. Mr McBrearty I contend that you let your previous unsuccessful attempts caution me the previous year colour your evidence and behaviour in this instance and that you deliberately targeted me and imposed sanctions far in excess of those normally used in conjunction with and as directed by, the chairman and secretary. And that further you have a reputation as an unreliable fabricator of stories that makes anything you say suspect and open to question for accuracy and honesty.
A. That is not the case.
I have no further questions for this witness.
**************
The PF had no further questions and the sheriff told Sammy he could leave. He practically sprinted out the door desperate for his first fag for three hours.
There was no smile and wave this time and he looked like he’d not enjoyed the experience one little bit.
On the other hand I’d landed a few blows, mostly around the failure to challenge John Bell and especially the missing bodycam footage. That was an obvious loose end that was hard to explain away except by the deliberate intention to prevent sight of something that weakened the crown case and strengthened mine. I didn’t think then, and still don’t now, that either Robert or Sammy had anything to do with the suspicious dissappearance of this. But I thought i did know who knew
Truth be told I hadn’t expected much to be revealed by cross-examining the two bailiffs involved. Both were only sacrificial pawns directed by others to do their dirty work for them, and like most other employees everywhere did as they were told or ran the risk of a sacking. I used both opportunities as experience to gain confidence and to make what inroads I could into the expectation that this would be an easy mornings work, a bit of fun at my expense, and with a conviction at the end.
I hope they all realised now I was serious about this and at least capable of making an arguement and instilling a reasonable amount of doubt into the proceedings.
I’ve often wondered since what the individual prosecution witnesses reported to their fellows after their meeting in the witness box, and how that translated later into the final verdicts. How many came out saying it was as they expected, predictable and they’d taken it in their stride, and how many came out and said I didn’t expect that and this could go either way.
Next up was to be John Bell, The Lomond Dangler, the only professional angling guide on Loch Lomond and crown witness number three. I had a bit of fun with this one and still chuckle to myself daily at some of his posturing and indignant demeanor. If only bodycams were allowed in court it would have gone viral.