Farmer found guilty of homophobic abuse

Lanark Sheriff Court
Lanark Sheriff Court

A same-sex couple from Carstairs Junction were successful at Lanark Sheriff Court in claiming their farmer neighbour made a homophobic insult to them during an argument.

At court last Wednesday the trial was held of 55-year-old Peter Brown, of Newbridge Farm, who denied that, on October 23 last year, at the home of his neighbours William Armstrong and Paul McFarlane at 6 Station Road, he behaved in a threatening manner likely to cause alarm by repeatedly shouting and swearing and uttered a homophobic remark, behaviour aggravated by prejudice against sexual orientation.

Both 61-year-old window cleaner Paul McFarlane and his long-time partner, 57-year old asset surveyor William Armstrong, gave largely identical accounts to the court of the events of the evening in question.

Both testified that they had been neighbours of Brown for 16 years and, after initial confusion over access to his farm through their property when they first purchased the house, relations had been generally co-operatve.

However, this changed when the couple thought that Brown was planning to erect a wind turbine on his farm and use their road to bring in heavy plant.

Brown went to their home on the evening of October 23, he claimed in court to assure the two men that no windpower development was planned but the conversation between the three became heated.

Both Mr Armstrong and Mr McFarlane claimed that, in the course of the argument in their home, Brown had used the phrase “You are a pair of poofs”, along with other more general insults.

Both men claimed they had become scared by Brown’s behaviour and called the police.

Brown, a Children’s Panel chairman, strongly denied making the homophobic remark but Sheriff Scott Pattison said he disbelieved him, fining him £500.