Motherwell FC manager found not guilty of assaulting partner

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Motherwell FC manager Stephen Robinson has been cleared of domestic abuse.

The 45-year-old was accused of assaulting his partner Robyn Lauchlan by grabbing and pinning her against a fence and acting in a threatening or abusive manner towards her on Waverley Bridge, Edinburgh, on December 13 last year.

Following a two-day trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Sheriff John Cook found him not guilty.

She said: “In no shape or form have I ever been a victim of domestic abuse.

“At no stage did Stephen push, shove or frighten me. He did not do the things he was accused of.

“But it has taken until today for anyone to listen to these facts. It has taken us going to court to be heard.”

She added: “Despite being the alleged victim of domestic abuse, I was not interviewed by the police at any point.

“I was never approached by the Crown Office at any stage to give my version of events.

“It is only in the witness box today that I have finally been listened to and been able to show this flawed case for what it was.

“The authorities have wasted their time on this, when there are people out there who really need this law and the protection it provides. Others should not suffer in the way that we have.”

Edinburgh’s Waverley Station
The incident was alleged to have happened on Waverley Bridge (David Cheskin/PA)

Announcing his verdict, Sheriff Cook hailed the witnesses who came forward and said the Crown was properly able to proceed with the case, notwithstanding Miss Lauchlan’s views that it should not have been prosecuted.

In evidence, Miss Lauchlan said moves to prosecute in domestic abuse cases regardless of whether the alleged victim wants to press charges are “incredibly damaging to innocent people”.

She told the court she sparked the incident on December 13 by becoming distressed after Mr Robinson did not defend her when a man in an Edinburgh bar told her to “shut the f*** up”.

She said “I thought: ‘Why is (Stephen) not saying anything to this man who has just ridiculed me in front of everyone and Stephen has allowed him to do it?’”

Miss Lauchlan said she was drunk and stormed off through Edinburgh’s Christmas Market, shouted and swore at him, but he was not aggressive to her and only put his hands on her to try to calm her down and get her to go home.

She said she accused him of not being loyal and wanted him to apologise.

Miss Lauchlan said he refused, saying: “I’m not going to fight some guy in a bar. If you want someone like that you need to go for somebody younger, that’s not me.”

Northern Ireland Manager Contenders
The Motherwell manager said the allegations made against him were ‘absolute lies’ (Jeff Holmes/PA)

He told the court he did not assault his partner, adding: “I think it’s disgusting. It’s absolute lies.”

He said he was “exasperated, not angry” and did not act aggressively, raising his voice but not shouting.

Earlier, witness Felicity Underdown, 19, told she saw the couple outside the market on December 13 and the woman looked “terrified” as Mr Robinson “caged” her against a fence with his arms, “screaming in her face”.

She alerted security guards who called police.

Under questioning, she agreed if Miss Lauchlan disagreed with her version of events she could be “mistaken” and Miss Lauchlan’s version would be the truth.

Security guard Dawn Webster also gave evidence, saying Mr Robinson got a crying Miss Lauchlan “up against the railings”.

“We note the decision of the court and the presiding sheriff’s view that the case had been properly brought to Court by the Crown.”

A Motherwell FC spokesman welcomed the verdict, adding: “The decision is entirely in line with our expectations, having been fully aware of the circumstances from the very beginning.

“Stephen has had our unconditional support throughout and will continue to do so.”

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