100 days – Day 12: sausages are the boys (in blue)
THE case against a barman accused of serving one roll and sausage too few to undercover police ordering an early-morning pint collapsed in chaos yesterday.
Allan Gallacher, 59, walked free when a sheriff rejected the Crown’s request for another continuation – after the witnesses involved in the “sting operation” once again failed to appear at what was the sixth hearing.
It’s estimated £25,000 of public money was wasted on the criminal prosecution over a 30p roll and sausage.
Speaking at the end of his 19-month ordeal, which also included a High Court appeal, Allan said: “The whole thing has been a nightmare.
“Each time I appeared in court, I had to tell myself it was because I was short of one roll and sausage for a guy who turned out to be an undercover cop.
“I made an honest mistake on a busy day when the chef was off ill and I ended up being dragged through the courts.”
The dad of three from Blantyre, Lanarkshire, was snared for serving pints to two undercover officers – known only as Archie and Davie – at 8.15am at the Empire Bar in Glasgow with one roll and sausage instead of two.
Licensee John Longeran, a football agent, was also arrested and both men were charged for allegedly breaching the city’s licensing laws by serving alcohol without a breakfast.
The Empire had its breakfast licence revoked by Glasgow City Council after the incident on September 25, 2012, which meant Allan lost his job.
John also walked free from Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday after the men were formally cleared of two charges under the Licensing Scotland Act 2005.
The case called in the sheriff court on February 7, November 13 and November 26 last year, April 16, April 30 and yesterday.
But a video ID parade still hadn’t been carried out – and the Crown weren’t even sure whether one of the anonymous officers, who were due to give evidence from behind screens, was in the country.
Prosecutor Derek Buchanan called for the case to be continued as the witnesses weren’t present.
But Bob McCormack, defending, who earlier failed in a High Court bid to have the case thrown out, strenuously opposed any further proceedings.
Sheriff Neil MacKinnon agreed, saying: “Given the proceedings’ history, it will not be appropriate to grant the motion from the Crown.”
The accused, who were both standing in the dock, were told they were free to go.
Allan said: “If it wasn’t so serious, I’d call it a pantomime.
“I’d never seen the inside of a court until this farce began. I thought the police were meant to chase murderers.”
The outcome is particularly embarrassing for Police Scotland at a time when resources are stretched and when the old Strathclyde police region has at least 33 unsolved murders.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “We’re aware of the court’s decision. We will continue to take action where alleged breaches of licensing and conditions are found.”
The Crown Office said: “We will give careful consideration to the decision of the court.”
(from the Daily Record)