John Leslie, the former TV presenter, has been cleared of sexually assaulting a woman in a nightclub after the charge was found not proven.
He was accused of putting his hand down her trousers and touching her bottom as they danced at her hen night in the Atik nightclub in Edinburgh last June. Appearing under his real name, John Stott, he denied the charge and was acquitted after a two-day trial.
Leslie, 53, a former Blue Peter host, told Edinburgh Sheriff Court he danced with the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, before making his excuses and wishing her well.
He said there was “no sexual assault”, adding: “I did not put my hands down her trousers. It’s something I would never do and have never done.”
The court was told earlier yesterday that he had been a “perfect gentleman” while dancing with the bride-to-be.
Nicholas Mowat, 50, the club DJ and a friend of Leslie, said he saw him dancing, adding: “John was just pirouetting. John had his hands on the back of the bride and he was a perfect gentleman, dancing around the dance floor as normal. I didn’t see any signs of her being distressed with him or being anxious to get away from him in any way.”
He said he had a good view of the dance floor from his elevated DJ booth and when the song ended Leslie kissed the woman on cheek and walked off.
The court also heard from the woman’s friend, who said she felt the way Leslie was touching her friend was “inappropriate” and she looked “scared”.
Cross-examined by Derek Ogg QC, the defence lawyer, she denied having any prejudices against Mr Leslie, saying she did not know who he was. The woman told the court on Monday that Mr Leslie put his hand down her trousers and that she had nothing to gain from making up the allegations.
However, Sheriff Adrian Cottam found the case not proven. He said it was a difficult decision as the evidence from the woman appeared on its own to be credible, but all the evidence added up to a combination of factors that caused reasonable doubt.
Mr Leslie said outside court that he had been through “a year of hell”, adding: “I know I did nothing wrong that night and I’ve said so from the beginning. CCTV and DNA prove that no assault took place. It’s now time to move on from this year of hell. I’d like to thank my mum and dad and my brother and those close to me for getting me through this ordeal.”
Responding to a question on the verdict of not proven, an option open to the Scottish courts which leaves the accused innocent in the eyes of the law, Leslie’s father, Les Stott, said: “It doesn’t leave any doubt. He is innocent.”