Councillor steps down from chairman's role

HAWICK councillor David Richardson has quit as chair of Teviot and Liddesdale Area Committee.

The move comes following a court case last week when the 47-year-old was found guilty of punching a teenage cerebral palsy sufferer in Diesels Nightclub earlier this year.

However, the Burnfoot representative told the 'News' yesterday (Thursday) he has no intention of resigning from his role as a councillor.

Confirming his step down from the chairman's position Mr Richardson told us: "I have informed Scottish Borders Council of my resignation as chair of the area committee, I feel it was the right thing to do.

"Obviously it is a position that holds respect and I feel I would not be able to have that respect after what has happened. I don't know who will take over the position, but I will be supporting them all the way."

He added: "My chairman's role got me more involved in Hawick as a whole, whereas before I tended to concentrate more on Burnfoot. "

Mr Richardson went on to say: "I have no intention of resigning as councillor. I believe I can still do a good job for the people of Burnfoot. I care for the community I live in."

And as far as SBC leader David Parker is concerned the matter is now closed.

He told the 'News': "Councillor Richardson has taken this action himself and the council has accepted it. No further action will be taken and we will try to appoint a new chairman at the earliest opportunity."

However, Mr Richardson may still have to face the Standards Commission for Scotland who may intervene if an official complaint is put to them.

He added: "I don't know what will happen if the commission becomes involved I will have to cross that bridge when it comes."

At Jedburgh Sheriff Court on Monday, Councillor Richardson was fined a total of 650 after he was convicted of punching 19-year-old Daniel Norman — who also suffers from epilepsy — leaving him bloodied and bruised and for causing a breach of the peace several weeks later when he called the victim a 'grass' in the same nightclub.

Richardson told the court he had spent the day at Carlisle Races before the assault took place on April 11. He had consumed around a dozen bottles of lager before going to Diesels Nightclub, where he occasionally worked as a bouncer.

He said: "Lots of people in the club suddenly piled into a corner, so I went to see what was happening. The bouncers were holding a man who was struggling violently. I went to help them.

"You can't just ask people to step aside – it doesn't work like that – you have to physically clear a space.

"It is possible Daniel Norman got injured in the melee, and it is possible I caused his injury. I may have pushed someone into him or knocked him over, but I never intentionally punched him."

But earlier evidence from the victim and witness Louise McKeown gave a different version of events.

Miss McKeown said: "David Richardson walked over and punched Daniel in the side of the face with his fist."

And Sheriff Alan Finlayson described Richardson's testimony as unreliable. The sheriff told the councillor: "Daniel Norman can be relied on and I believe him entirely.

"Louise McKeown explained that she had seen you punch Mr Norman. I was left with the view that her evidence was clearly true. Your evidence did not have that same ring of truth.

"I do believe you punched Daniel Norman and I don't believe that his injuries could be caused by a push or a fall."

He was fined 200 for punching the warehouse worker and 150 for breach of the peace, with a further 300 compensation to go to the victim.