Street licence for Fife man charged with threatening behaviour

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A Fife man has been granted a street trader licence despite a court appearance for threatening and abusive behaviour.

Mr Alfred Petrie, an artist from Newport on Tay, was granted a licence to deal art in St Andrews Church Square at weekends.

His appearance before Fife Council’s regulation and licensing board sparked comments of concern from some councillors who described him as “aggressive” – a claim he denied.

In January, Mr Petrie admitted using threatening and abusive behaviour on a train to Edinburgh on July 11, 2018.

Sentence was deferred for one year for him to keep the peace.

The background to the incident dominated his application for a street trading licence.

Sergent Gordon Hood told councillors Mr Petrie was on a train last July when he struck up a conversation with a young woman sat opposite.

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He said he started to draw pictures of her in a sketch pad, making her feel uneasy.

“She told him she was 24 years old but it is alleged the applicant told her he thought she was 14 or 15-years-old,” said Sergeant Hood – a claim Mr Petrie strongly denied.

According to the police report, the artist showed the woman an image of two females hugging and told the female it was her and her sister. This, said Sgt Hood, caused the female to feel panicked and sick.

The applicant then drew an image of a naked female looking in a mirror as seen from behind.

As the journey terminated in Edinburgh, he gave the sketches to the woman, who reported the matter to transport police.

Mr Petrie refuted most of the narrative, and told councillors he had pleaded guilty to lesser charges because the statement wasn’t correct.

In his court case he said that a different narrative was accepted.

Mr Petrie said: “My sentencing was deferred for one year to make sure I kept the peace. I think that speaks volumes about what actually happened. At no time did I say to a young lady that I thought she was 14 or 15 years of age. That is absolutely untrue. That has an inference that I was trying to groom a teenager. It’s nonsense.

“I was in conversation with someone and I gave her a sketch book that contained a relatively inoffensive picture of a nude lady from the back. That picture was not drawn on the train it was already in the book.”

Councillor Carol Lindsay, convener of the board told Mr Petrie he came across “quite aggressive” – a charge he denied.

He said: “I’m nervous, I’m not an aggressive person. It was a hot summer day and I might have been in high spirits.”

She was supported by Councillor Lea McLelland who noted: “When Sargent Hood was reading out the complaint, your behaviour was erratic, I never took my eyes off you.

“You were taking things out and putting them on the table fast, moving things. I do believe you reacted like this on that train that day and that would cause that girl to be in fear.“

Cllr McLelland proposed that Mr Petrie be refused a licence.

Councillor David MacDiarmid proposed an amendment to grant it, adding: “The most important thing is that he is an artist by trade which would explain why he was drawing in the first place.

His amendment was passed by eight votes to three.