THE JURY tasked to decide the fate of a sixty four year old man who has been on trial accused of sexually assaulting two girls under the age of 16 in the north mainland of Shetland over a four-year period has been sent home for the weekend.
Basil Beatty, who lives in North Roe, denies nine charges allegedly committed from December 2010 until October 2014, including one instance of intentionally causing one of the girls to participate in sexual activity.
He is further accused of sexually assaulting two girls by placing his hands under their clothing and touching them on the body, and exposing his genitals in a sexual manner.
The 64 year old is also charged with attempting to penetrate a young woman’s vagina with his fingers, kissing her on the lips and placing his hands under her clothing and handling her buttocks and breasts in August 2014.
The jury trial got underway on Monday with one of the girls giving evidence in court via video link claiming Beatty had grabbed her by the wrist and forced her to perform a sexual act on him.
On Tuesday, the second girl told the court that she was touched by Beatty during what he was said to have called “tickle time”. She said she was too scared to tell anyone at the time.
The girl told the court that she and her friend once locked themselves in Beatty’s bathroom when they saw him naked after he had a shower. She said they climbed out the window to escape.
However, defence solicitor Gregor Kelly suggested that the two girls actually were playing “tricks” on Beatty at the time by emptying shampoo on the bathroom floor and setting his shower to the hottest setting.
He added that the girls also placed condoms through his letterbox, as well as putting clothes pegs in his hair, which the girl denied.
A third alleged victim gave evidence on Wednesday, saying that Beatty sexually assaulted her by putting his hands under her bra and down her trousers after she went to his house to acquire cigarettes from him.
Believing he should have something in return, Beatty allegedly embraced her for “five to ten minutes” and tried to kiss her before the young woman went home and vomited in the bathroom.
Items of her clothing were sent for DNA tests and the results were inconclusive. Mackenzie said the findings did not rule out that the incident happened and may have suggested Beatty’s DNA wasn’t picked up by the test.
On Thursday the jury was shown video footage of Beatty’s police interviews, with the 64 year old repeatedly denying the accusations and stating the accusations were a “concocted story” chiefly created by the girls who liked to cause mischief.
After all the evidence had been heard by Thursday afternoon, the Crown dropped three of the original 12 charges, leaving a total of nine.
On Friday morning both procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie and Kelly gave their closing speeches to the 15 members of the jury, with the fiscal questioning why all three females would “put themselves through this” if it was all made up.
He added that any discrepancies in what the alleged victims said in police interviews and in evidence in court didn’t detract from the “crucial facts” and would have been the result of natural forgetfulness.
Defence agent Kelly, however, contested the veracity of the alleged victims’ evidence by suggesting there were “glaring inconsistencies”.
He said dissecting the evidence was like a game of Jenga. “If you start taking away blocks then the whole edifice comes crumbling down,” he said.
The jury began deliberating the charges on Friday afternoon but had not reached a decision by close of business.
The case will resume on Monday morning.
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