Glasgow & West Scotland

Prisoner cleared of assaulting girl, 9, in jail visit

Barlinnie Prison Image copyright PA

A prisoner has been cleared of assaulting a nine-year-old girl during supervised visits at a Glasgow prison.

Andrew Ballard, 45, was accused of carrying out the abuse on two occasions last year at Barlinnie Prison.

Prison officers raised concerns about what they claimed to have seen on August 4, 2015 and he was monitored on September 3 during another visit.

After viewing CCTV footage of the alleged assaults, the jury at Glasgow Sheriff Court found Ballard not guilty.

In evidence, prison officer Lorraine Andrews, 31, said she monitored the small visit room in Barlinnie prison on August 4.

She said the way Ballard was interacting with the child who was visiting him caught her attention.

Miss Andrews said: "It made me feel uncomfortable."

Piggy-back

She told the jury that around 20 minutes into the visit something came to her attention.

The witness said: "The first thing that caught my eye was the wee girl sat on the prisoner's knee but it was almost up towards his groin area as opposed to on his knee."

Miss Andrews said Ballard gave the child a piggy-back and had his palms facing up the way and moving them up and down to touch her bottom as he carried her.

She also described him lying on a slide in the soft play area of the visiting room and the little girl "sliding up and down him so her body was lying flat on his, face to face with his".

Miss Andrews said it "made her feel uncomfortable". She added: "It just seemed a bit flirtatious, a bit unusual."

The jury was shown CCTV and Miss Andrews described what she saw at various points including Ballard giving the girl a piggy back and them playing in the soft play area.

CCTV cameras

During cross examination defence lawyer Lyndsey Jefferson asked the witness about the "piggy-back".

She referred the witness to a statement she had given to the police earlier this year.

Miss Andrews read a sentence from the statement that said: "At the time it looked as if his hands were patting her bum cheeks."

The lawyer asked: "Do you see that on the CCTV?"

She replied: "I can't see it on the CCTV, no."

Miss Jefferson asked: "When did you see him patting her?" The witness said she "couldn't remember specifically".

It was put to her that "four cameras missed it" and Miss Andrews said "Obviously".

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