Skye boat war assault charge dropped

A Skye tourist boat war between two skippers ended up in court this week after claims of violent behaviour.

But 55-year-old David Brown walked free after the case was dropped.

During Monday’s trial at Portree Sheriff Court the fiscal threw out the assault charge against the owner of Bella Jane Boat Trips.

It had been alleged that last June Brown pushed 60-year-old Roderick Downes, a helper with rival boat firm Misty Isle Boat Trips, on to the hard concrete surface of a pier, injuring his hand.

After claim and counter-claim by the Bella Jane boss and Misty Isle owner Seumas MacKinnon (64) about behaviour at the council-owned pier in Elgol, Highland Council installed a CCTV camera on the jetty in 2008.

Both boat firms were competing for the lucrative tourist market of taking holidaymakers into Loch  Coruisk.

Mr Downes told defence lawyer Duncan Burd he was aware of the antagonism between the two boat operators. He said he had remonstrated on the pier with Brown for one of the Bella Jane boats not keeping to its time slot.

However, CCTV footage of the incident was inconclusive.

After hearing evidence from Mr Downes, Sheriff Richard Davidson told fiscal Stewart Maciver he had acted “wisely” in abandoning the case against Brown.