Falkirk police officer cleared of sexual assaults

A police officer has been acquitted of sexually assaulting a schoolboy and an adult male at a wedding in Fife.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 15th May 2018, 9:23 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th May 2018, 4:25 pm

This was despite a sheriff accepting the evidence of the 15-year-old boy that Craig Heron had groped him and grabbed his penis in a field at the open air reception.

The sheriff rejected the claims of the second alleged victim and the case involving the boy failed because of lack of corroboration.

Heron (34), a police sergeant from Falkirk, was cleared after a five-day trial at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

The allegations followed a wedding reception which took place at Balgownie Smithy, Culross, on June 17 last year.

Heron was accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy by placing his arm around his body, repeatedly touching his genitals over his clothing, seizing his penis, touching and rubbing his body under his clothing.

It was also alleged he sexually assaulted a man in his late 20s by repeatedly touching his genitals over his clothing.

Sheriff Charles MacNair said of the schoolboy’s evidence, “I’m satisfied that he was telling the truth about this allegation.”

However, the sheriff did not accept the evidence of the second complainer saying it was “inconceivable” that he would have been posing for photos with the accused after the alleged sexual assault took place.

Heron told the court both the boy and the other male had been telling lies.

Depute fiscal Dev Kapadia asked Heron about the schoolboy’s evidence: “Is he simply making it up?”

“Absolutely he is. Alcohol may have been a factor,” said father-of-one Heron.

“Not only had you groomed him and sexually assaulted him but you also asked for his phone number did you not?” asked the depute.

“That conversation only lasted about 30 seconds or a minute,” said Heron.

The depute asked, “Why would he turn chalk white when you came back and touched him?”

“It strikes me he was probably suffering from the effects of alcohol,” said Heron.

“Nobody describes him as being drunk but they describe him as turning chalk white when you touched him later,” the depute stated.

“I would put it down to other factors. It’s not because I sexually assaulted him. 100 per cent not,” answered Heron.

His wife, Jemma Heron (32), was also at the wedding.

She said that during the course of the night she had received a text from her husband saying the boy was showing him planes on his phone. The text had read, “I love this wee guy.”

Mrs Heron said the first she knew of any allegations were when she told her husband their lift home had arrived and he said he had to go with the police.

Earlier in the trial, which has taken several months to complete and was subject to reporting restrictions until the verdict, the schoolboy gave his version of what had happened.

He said he did not know Heron before the wedding but had been sitting in his company at a table with others.

They had been speaking about aeroplanes and other interests during the day and the boy was told by Heron he was a policeman.

“Craig was at the bar in the marquee and he kept saying, ‘Have a drink you’re here to enjoy yourself’,” said the boy, who gave evidence from behind a screen.

Later, he said Heron had asked him to go to the toilet with him and he had done so. “I thought it was slightly weird. I trusted him because I knew what his job was.

“He said, ‘It’s noisy, do you want to go over here so I hear you better.’

The boy said they had then gone to an area away from the other guests.

“It went through my mind that if I shouted nobody would hear me. He was very edgy looking around. He put his arm around me and starting touching me,” said the boy.

“His hand came around towards my penis. He was grabbing, kind of squeezing. I was trying to move away. I was really scared and didn’t know what to do.

“He put his beer down and put his hand under my top and was feeling my skin.

“It wasn’t just a touch. It was a minute to two minutes each time. That happened twice. He was feeling around. I was trying to move away. I was going to try to text my dad to try to help me.”

The boy said he was touched twice on the penis and once under his shirt and Heron was saying to him, “You’re such a good guy.”

“He put his hand on my flies and said, ‘Do you want me take that down?’ I said ‘no’.”

Asked about how he felt during the incident, he said, “I was terrified. I didn’t know how to react. I was thinking: should I tell somebody or should I not.”

After he returned to the main area of the wedding, the boy said he was shaking. “I felt really threatened because of what had happened,” he added.

He told a female guest about what had taken place and the police were eventually called and detained Heron at the party.

Sheriff MacNair found Heron not guilty.