Argument over garden shears ends in court

editorial image

An 82-year-old man has had a charge of assaulting his pensioner neighbour in a bizarre row over a pair of garden shears not proven.

Douglas Eglan faced an allegation of repeatedly spitting on neighbour Frank Cation (67), repeatedly pushing him and causing him to fall the ground to his injury.

But a sheriff found the case not proven after he described one of Mr Cation’s falls, caught on CCTV, as a “dive that would earn a Premiership footballer a yellow card.”

John Adams, depute fiscal, added: “Cristiano Ronaldo would have been proud of it.”

Dundee Sheriff Court heard the rowing neighbours had begun arguing on May 29 last year after Eglan saw a pair of garden shears sitting on a wire mesh fence between their gardens that he had installed.

The row escalated with Mr Cation and Eglan standing eyeball to eyeball over the fence - where Mr Eglan allegedly spat on him and pushed him over twice.

But the 82-year-old claimed he had simply blown in Mr Cation’s face to scare him off because he couldn’t move - and that he only lifted his hand to prevent Mr Cation pushing him.

The CCTV footage showed Mr Cation then taking a backwards fall moments later and lying flat on his back with his leg raised for several seconds.

He then jumped up and again confronted Eglan, before again taking a tumble on to the lawn.

Mr Cation’s wife, Davina Cation, told the trial: “Frank never touched him, there was just verbals.

“The shears had been pushed off the fence with his [Eglan’s] walking stick and that started it.”

Cheryl Wallace, defence solicitor, said: “Mr Eglan walks with two sticks – he is not in great physical health. His position is he did not push your husband.”

Mrs Cation replied: “Frank walked away two or three times but Mr Eglan kept shouting and he went back to remonstrate.

“There was definitely a one-handed push.”

Miss Wallace said: “The fall looks exaggerated to me. A fall is a fall.”

Mr Eglan later gave evidence in his own defence.

He said: “His face was half an inch from mine. I am as weak as a kitten - I couldn’t push him over.

“The CCTV camera had been put in a couple of days previously.

“I wanted his face away from me so I blew on him.

“It was all stage managed from the word go - that’s what made me angry.”

John Adams, depute fiscal, said: “You are saying there were theatrics?”

Mr Eglan replied: “He did it deliberately just to incriminate me. I prevented him from pushing me and I had very good reason for doing so.

“His wife is a liar.”

In his closing argument Mr Adams accepted the second fall caught on CCTV was “theatrical” but said: “For a 67-year-old man to throw himself to the ground twice would be bizarre.”

Eglan, of Stratheden Place, Auchtermuchty denied a charge of assault on summary complaint at Dundee Sheriff Court.

Sheriff John Rafferty found the charge against him not proven.