Man ‘mocked and ridiculed’ - solicitor

Scales of justice
Scales of justice

A SOLICITOR representing a man cleared of committing a lewd act with a horse says he and his family have been left devastated by the allegations.

Robert McLaughlin (64), of Sunnyside Drive, Maghera, was found not guilty by the jury at Londonderry Crown Court after a two-day trial which ended on Friday.

Afterwards, Mr Stephen Atherton said Mr McLaughlin had received letters of a threatening and poisonous nature, as well as being verbally abused in the street and mocked and ridiculed, “even within the solemn setting of a public Courthouse.”

“Mr McLaughlin would like this opportunity to thank his wide family circle and close friends for their unwaivering support throughout this traumatic time”, said Mr Atherton. The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for just over two hours before returning the not guilty verdict.

The incident was alleged to have occurred in a field owned by the local Riding School for the Disabled.

The main prosecution witness had been a man who said he was accompanied by his seven-year-old daughter when the alleged offence happened.

Mr McLaughlin was represented at trial by Michael Forde BL and Stephen Atherton of John J McNally & Co Solicitors.

You can follow Stanley Campbell on Twitter