Brother jailed for intimidating witness in Wishaw murder trial

Intimidation: Mark Hart tried to get a key witness to lie
Intimidation: Mark Hart tried to get a key witness to lie© STV

A man who threatened a prosecution witness in a bid to get him to lie in court has been jailed five years.

Twenty-two-year-old Mark Hart, whose brother David Hart was due to stand trial for murder, demanded that witness William Brown should give false evidence in the case. Hart threatened Mr Brown on various occasions between August 2008 and January 2009 in Wishaw town centre.

Despite this intimidation, Mr Brown gave evidence in court last October which helped convict David Hart. Just days after the conviction, Mark Hart was part of a mob which gathered outside Mr Brown's Wishaw home and shouted abuse, threw stones at the windows and door and tried to force entry to the property.

On Thursday, after a trial at the High Court in Glasgow, Mark Hart was convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice and committing a breach of the peace.

Jailing him temporary judge Rita Rae QC said: "The proper administration of justice depends on witnesses giving evidence in court without interference from people like you.

"You attempted to to get Mr Brown not to give truthful evidence  in a murder trial. You also, along with others ,attacked Mr Brown's home in a most disgraceful fashion. This took place in the background of a murder trial in which your brother was convicted and Mr Brown was an important witness."

The murder trial of 21-year-old David Hart heard that he watched Mr Bean on TV while his dying victim Christopher Rooney, 39, groaned in agony for hours in the garden outside. Hart is serving life in prison and must spend at least 15 years behind bars before being considered for parole.  

He repeatedly punched, kicked, stamped and jumped on Mr Rooney, who suffered 79 separate injuries in Ryde Lane in the North lanarkshire town in April, 2008. At the time of the offence, Hart was on bail for four charges, including carrying a knife. He and was wearing a tag.

Hart carried out the attack with another brother Ryan, 19, who was later ruled insane and sent to the state hospital at Carstairs.  

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