Glasgow & West Scotland

Crown defends Graham Morrison 'display knives' trial

Prosecutors have defended the trial of a man who was arrested after buying ornamental knives to hang in his home.

Graham Morrison, 35, was detained at a bus stop in Kilmarnock in January.

A jury at the town's sheriff court later found him not guilty of having the blades without reasonable excuse.

Sheriff Elizabeth McFarlane expressed doubt over whether the case should have been prosecuted. The Crown Office said there was "sufficient evidence" for the sheriff to allow it to go to a jury.

Speaking after the case, Mr Morrison said: "I had just bought the ornamental daggers and a plaque from my brother for putting up on my living room wall.

'No statement'

"They were inside my jacket wrapped up in two plastic bags. I told the police they could call my brother to verify this and they actually spoke to him on the phone.

"But they still arrested me and what's even worse is they never bothered taking a statement from him."

Following his arrest in January, Mr Morrison spent three nights in custody.

His case went before a jury at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court last week, where Mr Morrison could have faced a custodial sentence if found guilty.

After being cleared unanimously by the jury, Sheriff Elizabeth McFarlane expressed doubt over "whether this case should have been prosecuted in the first place".

She added: "But nobody asks me these things."

A spokesman for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said: "We note the decision of the jury and comments of the sheriff.

"COPFS takes knife crime very seriously. There was sufficient evidence in this case for the sheriff to allow it to go to the jury which she would not have done if she did not think in law there was a case to answer."

Case stress

Mr Morrison collapsed shortly after leaving court last Thursday and was taken by ambulance to Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock, before being discharged to rest at home.

He added: "The police said I had no reasonable excuse and I think that's why the sheriff was so annoyed.

"I'm a 35-year-old man and I think I know when it's safe enough to carry something wrapped inside my jacket.

"I could have been looking at two years in prison for something I wasn't even guilty of. This was hanging over me for nine months and it's left me with so much stress."

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