A former advocate on trial accused of indecently assaulting two schoolboys has strongly denied the allegations, saying he was working “flat out” at the time.
Mark Strachan, 64, is facing charges that he molested two brothers who believed they taking part in a “teenage growth study” at an address in Aberdeen more than 20 years ago.
Both children, now adults, were aged between 13 and 25 at the time of the alleged sexual assaults.
It is claimed within the charges that the 64-year-old instructed one boy, aged 13 or 14, to remove his clothing before taking measurements of various parts of his body, including his penis.
The charge also alleges that Strachan, of Leslie, near Insch, then handled the boy’s penis.
Strachan, who worked as a lawyer for an Aberdeen firm at the time, is further accused of an additional charge involving a second boy, then 14 or 15, at two addresses in Aberdeen between August 1999 and March 2001.
Accused loses cool in witness box
As Strachan gave evidence at Aberdeen Sheriff Court he repeatedly denied the incidents ever took place, even losing his temper at one stage as he was cross-examined by fiscal depute Rebecca Thompson.
He told the fiscal he was working so hard at the time that he couldn’t have sexually assaulted the two boys.
“I was working 80 to 90 hours a week. I was working Saturday and Sunday. I was absolutely flat out,” he said.
Strachan also claimed sheets, used by solicitors to account for their time with clients, would have shown how many times he had gone to the house where the alleged incidents took place.
It is understood those time sheets have since been destroyed by the Aberdeen law firm he worked for at the time.
When faced with the suggestion by Ms Thompson that he could have simply altered the time sheet, Strachan became angry, forcing Sheriff Ian Wallace to interject.
“I was a bloody good solicitor and I worked bloody hard for my clients,” he told Ms Thompson in a raised voice, before going on to describe the idea that he might alter documents as “a disgrace”.
At that point, the sheriff halted the cross-examination and ordered that Strachan calm down – and stated that what he was being asked by the fiscal depute was “in no way disgraceful”.
‘It’s been absolute hell’
While being questioned by defence solicitor Kris Gilmartin about the alleged assaults, Strachan made repeated denials that the incidents took place.
“Was there ever an occasion where you were in a bedroom with those boys,” Mr Gilmartin asked.
“No,” he replied.
“Did you touch their naked body in any way?”
Strachan again replied that he had not.
The former advocate became emotional when asked by Mr Gilmartin about the impact these accusations had had on his personal life, describing the day he was arrested as “horrendous”.
He went on to describe the months between his arrest to the day of trial as “absolute hell”.
Accused told police allegations were ‘absolute rubbish’
The jury was also shown footage of Strachan’s police interview following his arrest on January 25 last year.
In it the former advocate again denied any involvement in the alleged incidents, branding the accusations “nonsensical”.
Asked by Detective Constable Craig Scott whether he had gone to the house in the Middlefield area of Aberdeen under the pretence of carrying out a study on children before indecently assaulting the boys, Strachan stated: “I completely deny it.”
“I was working my arse off, why would I want to get involved in something like this?” Strachan added.
He went on to describe the allegations as “absolute rubbish”.
During final speeches to the jury, fiscal depute Rebecca Thompson characterised Strachan as a “man of power” who perpetrated a “gross breach of trust” by carrying out “insidious abuse” upon two boys.
While defence solicitor Kris Gilmartin focused his speech on the witness accounts, which he said were “littered with inconsistencies” and reminded the jury that they were being “asked to make a life-changing decision”.
Sheriff Wallace then requested that the members of the jury retire to consider their verdict.
The trial continues.
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