Youths cleared of stabbing after CCTV shown in court

Two teenagers have been cleared of stabbing a man during a brawl inside a block of flats in Tannochside.

James Friel was stabbed in the foyer of this block of flats in Merrick Terrace.
James Friel was stabbed in the foyer of this block of flats in Merrick Terrace.

Graphic CCTV footage showed James Friel being knifed three times after he had battered two youths with a baton.

Three teenagers were accused of attacking Friel (25) at a common close in Merrick Terrace on January 31 last year.

One of them, Sean Banks, of Viewpark, died after being stabbed in Uddingston in September. He was 18 years old.

Christopher Cairns (18), of Laburnum Road, Viewpark, and a 16-year-old, who cannot be named, stood trial at Hamilton Sheriff Court. They denied assaulting Friel to his severe injury.

Cairns got a not guilty verdict while the jury returned a not proven verdict against his co-accused.

Imran Bashir, prosecuting, showed the jury CCTV footage of the alleged attack which happened shortly after 6.30 in the morning.

Cameras caught some sort of confrontation in the street. The footage then switched to a camera positioned in the common close inside the block of flats where the Banks family lived.

Sean Banks’s mother was seen going to the door of the close in her dressing gown. Her son was holding a baton, but Friel pushed his way into the common close, grabbed the baton and hit him with it despite the best efforts of Banks’s mother to keep the pair apart.

Cairns then appeared on the scene, saw Banks being attacked and struck Friel twice on the head with a bottle which smashed.

Friel retaliated by hitting Cairns with the baton which broke.

By this point Sean Banks had disappeared into the stairwell, but he returned almost immediately with the 16-year-old.

Each was armed with a knife and the 16-year-old could be seen stabbing Friel twice while Banks delivered one blow with his knife.

Cairns, Banks and the third youth left the scene and Friel, despite his stab wounds, walked out of the close.

Later he was taken to hospital for treatment. The court heard he was charged with assaulting Banks and Cairns following the incident.

Sean Banks was also taken to hospital with a head injury.

Further footage showed his mum outside - still in her dressing gown despite snow and ice - and others talking to a police officer.

Cairns and the 16-year-old claimed they acted in self defence. Their solicitors, Jim O’Dowd and Eddie Robertson, told Sheriff Thomas Millar neither youth would be giving evidence in the case.

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