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Walker fails in bid to overturn his conviction

FORMER MSP Bill Walker has failed in his attempt to quash his conviction for domestic abuse offences.

DISGRACED: The former SNP MSP was released from prison in March after serving six months. Picture: PA
DISGRACED: The former SNP MSP was released from prison in March after serving six months. Picture: PA

Walker, 72, was jailed for 12 months last September after being found guilty of 23 assaults and one breach of the peace against three former wives and his stepdaughter that spanned decades.

Judges at the Appeal Court in Edinburgh refused his appeal against his conviction for two assaults on his first wife, Maureen Traquair, in 1967 and 1969.

They rejected a submission that argued these offences were not sufficient in terms of "time, ­character and circumstance" in order for mutual corroboration - where one victim's evidence can be used to back up others - to be applied.

The rest of the offences took place from 1978 onwards, meaning there was a "large gap" between these offences and later ones, the Appeal Court heard.

The Lord Justice Clerk Lord Carloway, Lady Dorrian and Lord Bracadale took a short adjournment to consider their decision.

Lady Dorrian said: "The only issue which arises in this appeal is whether there was sufficient circumstances of similarity between evidence in charges one and two for the doctrine of mutual corroboration to be applied.

"Leave to appeal on other charges was refused at the first sift."

Lady Dorrian said the judges took the view that "it was entirely artificial to seek to compartmentalise evidence" in relation to the two earliest offences.

Sheriff Kathrine Mackie, who heard the two-week trial at ­Edinburgh Sheriff Court last year, found Walker guilty of assaulting Ms Traquair on three separate occasions in the 1960s and 1980s.

On one occasion he punched her in the face, giving her a black eye two weeks before they married in January 1967.

He was convicted of assaulting his second wife, Anne Gruber, 15 times between 1978 and 1984. On various occasions Mrs Gruber was punched, slapped, kicked and pushed to the ground.

He spat on her face, threw items at her, threatened to pour coffee over her and pulled her hair.

Walker, of Alloa in Clackmannanshire, was also found guilty of assaulting and injuring Mrs Gruber's 16-year-old daughter, Anne Louise Paterson, by repeatedly striking her on the head with a saucepan in 1978.

The disgraced former SNP MSP was also found guilty of four assaults on his third wife, Diana Walker, three of which involved slapping or punching her on the face, between June, 1988, and January, 1995.

Walker's crimes were committed at addresses in Edinburgh, Stirling, Midlothian and Alloa between 1967 and 1995.

He was released from prison last month after serving six months. He was not in court for yesterday's hearing.

Walker, who was expelled from the SNP after the allegations surfaced, denied all the charges.

He claimed he was the victim of "smearing" and his ex-wives colluded to accuse him of domestic violence. Following the rejection of the appeal, Walker said in statement saying he was "disappointed" by the decision.

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