The trial of 11 people accused of taking part in a child sex ring involving witchcraft, attempted murder and serious sexual violence is estimated to last up to seven weeks, a court has heard.
Seven men and four women are facing a 14-page indictment over alleged crimes said to have happened between January 2010 and March 2020 at various addresses in Glasgow.
Some charges claim the alleged victims, two young girls and a young boy, were forced to kill animals and made to use a ouija board, or similar object, “to call on spirits and demons”.
One of the young girls was said to have been shut in a microwave, a fridge, an oven and a freezer in an attempt to kill her, according to the charges.
There are also claims members of the group “did clap, cheer and verbally encourage” as well as video record the children being sexually abused.
The accused are further alleged to have forced the children to take part in satanic “seances” where they were told they were drinking blood and eating a heart.
Iain Owens, 44, Elaine Lannery, 38, Lesley Williams, 41, Paul Brannan, 40, Marianne Gallagher, 38, Scott Forbes, 49, Barry Watson, 46, Mark Carr, 49, Richard Gachagan, 45, Leona Laing, 50, and John Clark, 46, deny the charges they face.
Maureen Goudie, Steven McHendrie, Robert Brown, James McLean and Douglas Gachagan are also mentioned as being involved in a number of the charges, but court papers said they are now deceased.
At a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday, Judge Lord Beckett estimated the full trial could take up to seven weeks, with several of the defence lawyers agreeing this was “realistic”.
The judge told the court: “There are so many people in the case there could be an unusual level of disruption.”
Advocate depute Kath Harper estimated the Crown case alone would last up to three weeks.
At Friday’s hearing – where none of the accused were present – several defence lawyers raised concerns over a video posted on social media in relation to the trial hours before the case was called.
Gary Allan KC described the content as “accusatory” and having “derogatory terms” directed towards the accused, and said it was “potentially prejudicial”.
Brian McConnachie KC told the court: “We need to speak to this person and tell them to stop what they are doing… There will be some future video uploaded.”
Lord Beckett responded to the lawyers’ concerns, saying: “The Crown has the resources to tackle this and I would encourage the Crown to do so.”
The case was continued to the full trial hearing in September.