Aberdeen’s former deputy Lord Provost has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a man.
Councillor Alan Donnelly has resigned from the Conservative party and today faces calls to resign from the council after he was convicted of touching his victim’s face, hair and body and kissing him on the face.
He had denied the charge but was convicted following a trial that began at Aberdeen Sheriff Court back in August.
Sheriff Ian Wallace told the court he was “satisfied” there was a “sexual motive” behind the veteran politician’s actions.
Speaking outside court, Donnelly – who was elected to the council in 2007 – said he was “shocked and dismayed” by the verdict.
The victim – who cannot be named for legal reasons – previously told the court he was left feeling “sick” and “mentally disturbed” by the incident.
Donnelly told the man, who was working at an event in the city, “you’re too good looking to be working here”.
The man said Donnelly put his hands towards his hair and the Ferryhill-based councillor then gave him his business card just minutes later.
The man said: “He asked me to contact him on his personal number. While he was giving the card to me he used that to his advantage by getting closer, approaching my face and kissing me on both cheeks.”
Donnelly took to the stand yesterday and said he had met the victim and handed him a business card the week after the assault at another event in the same venue.
He also said the first he knew of the allegations was through a “nuisance” phone call and an email, which he reported to police.
Donnelly said: “I had been down in the Borders over Christmas and New Year. I returned home to Ferryhill on January 3 this year.
“I took what I would describe as a nuisance phone call. It was a male telling me he was going to make my life terrible and that I better watch out.
“I phoned the police because I was worried about it.
“I opened up my council emails and saw the headline ‘Alan Donnelly Sexual Harassment’. I opened the email at 11.50pm on January 3.”
In cross examination, fiscal depute Lynne McVicar asked Donnelly if the man was mistaken about the touching and kissing. He said yes.
Sheriff Ian Wallace said prosecutors had made a compelling case, with the testimony of their witnesses proving vital.
He added: “I have heard all of the evidence from the Crown and on your behalf from Mr Sutherland and I am satisfied of your guilt.
“The Crown evidence was clear and their witnesses were reliable. They are clear about the events of November 3.
“The procurator fiscal depute is correct in highlighting that one of the witnesses said he was 100% sure he saw you kissing this man on the face. You gave evidence to this court which is untrue.
“The nature of your conduct was sexual and you even gave the victim the business card asking him to call you.
“It easy to conclude that what was happening was a sexual advance. You were a guest at an event and the victim was left feeling uncomfortable while he was working. He was also angry and trembling.”
Sheriff Wallace deferred sentence for a social work criminal justice report and he is also subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
He will return to the dock next month for sentencing.
Speaking outside court, Donnelly would not be drawn on his political future.
He said: “I am shocked and dismayed. This been dragged out over eight court appearances. I can’t believe it.”
Tory group leader Dougles Lumsden said: “I can confirm Councillor Donnelly has resigned from the Conservative party.”
SNP group leader Jackie Dunbar said: “Councillor Donnelly must do the right thing and resign as a councillor.”
Lib Dem group leader Ian Yuill said: “Councillor Donnelly’s conviction for sexual assault makes his continued membership of Aberdeen City Council completely inappropriate and unacceptable. We have called on him to resign as a councillor immediately.”
An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said: “We are aware of the outcome of the court proceedings and note the verdict.
“It would not be appropriate to comment further.”