The Naked Rambler, Steve Gough, and his likewise naked companion Mel Roberts were arrested on the A701 at Bilston near Edinburgh on 1 September 2005, and charged with breach of the peace. The following day Roberts, who appeared clothed, pleaded guilty in Edinburgh Sheriff Court and sentence was deferred for six months. Gough, unclothed, pleaded not guilty, was remanded in custody, and will make another court appearance on 9 September.
Labour MSP Mike Watson (Lord Watson of Invergowrie) pleaded guilty to one of the two fire-raising charges against him in Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 1 September 2005 (see Nos 404 and 486 for background). Sentence has been deferred for three weeks; Watson has also announced that he will resign as MSP for Glasgow Cathcart. A not guilty plea to the second fire-raising charge was accepted by the court. As a life peer he will remain able to sit in the House of Lords at Westminster; but he has been suspended from the Labour Party since he was charged.
On the same day Rosie Kane, an SSP MSP, appeared in Helensburgh District Court in connection with her non-payment of a £150 fine imposed after a conviction for breach of the peace while participating in an anti-nuclear protest at Faslane in 2004. A warrant had been issued for her arrest, but she surrendered herself into police custody on 31 August. She will appear again in court on 12 September.
The Naked Rambler Steve Gough reached Scotland again on 25 August 2005, crossing the border south of Jedburgh. His plan now appears to be to go by Edinburgh rather than by Glasgow and the west. Gough and friends were arrested in Shropshire and again in Yorkshire en route north, the latter occurrence after a naked shopping spree in a village supermarket at Gargrave near Skipton in mid-August, but after a court non-appearance – the woman magistrate refused to allow Gough to come before her in the nude – they were allowed to continue on their way. Further details at http://www.nakedwalk.org.
Kindly if belatedly brought to our attention, a dictum of Sheriff R A Davidson (Scots Law News sheriff of the year 2004) in Laudanska v University of Abertay, Dundee Sheriff Court, 4 November 2003 (on Scottish Courts website at http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/a213.html): She [the party litigant] referred .. to something which she described as Johnston on Prescription and Limitation, with which I confess to being unfamiliar, though I now understand it to be an English textbook and I would have considerable hesitation before considering the law as stated in an English textbook on the Scots law on prescription and limitation.
David Johnston is of course an advocate of the Scots bar, and his book about prescription is indeed one on Scots rather than English law, published in the Scottish Universities Law Institute’s well-known series. We can only assume that the sheriff was misled by the fact that at the date of publication (1999) the learned author held the Chair of Civil Law at the University of Cambridge.
On 28 August 2005 Glasgow District Court convicted Subhaan Younis of breach of the peace by using his mobile phone to show Charlotte McClay video images of a hostage beheading in Iraq. Sentence was deferred for background reports. A case for the times indeed.