GP and wife convicted of intimidating neighbour speak out about row that changed their lives

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A DOCTOR and his wife who were convicted of intimidating their next door neighbour in one of Edinburgh’s wealthiest areas have spoken out about the row they say changed their lives.

Dr John McCallum, 50, and Michele McCallum, 44, were fined a total of £5,000 in September 2009 for breach of the peace, following a six-minute dispute with their neighbour Rosaline Kinder.

The incident took place outside the couple’s house on Napier Drive, in the wealthy Merchiston area of Edinburgh, which boasts Harry Potter author JK Rowling, rugby star David Johnston and crime writer Ian Rankin as residents.

At the time Mr Rankin was on the original witness list for the case, which was heard at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, but was not called to give evidence.

The doctor, who has been a GP for more than 20 years, was handed the conviction for putting Mrs Kinder in a state of fear and alarm, following claims she had almost knocked down his children.

During the case, Mrs Kinder, 49, told the court she was confronted by her “very drunk” GP neighbour and his “wild animal” wife.

Mrs Kinder said she had been to collect her son, then aged five, and returned at about 6pm and noticed Dr McCallum “hanging around”.

As she reversed towards her electric gates and pressed a key fob for the gates to open, she says he “sauntered behind her car” and positioned himself between it and the gate.

She then sounded her horn to alert her husband, film-maker Guy Kinder.

But Dr McCallum said the row, which has earned him a criminal record, started as an argument between neighbours but escalated into a “worst nightmare” scenario.

He claims the day before the incident took place; Mrs Kinder had almost knocked over his children while she was reversing, and that he had come out to speak to her about it.

He said: “It was all over in six minutes.

“I stood in the driveway to talk to her and she started tooting her horn.”

He admitted that he and Mrs McCallum, a mother-of-four, should not have acted the way they did, but claims the case was a disproportionate use of public time and money.

Rosaline Kinder

Dr McCallum and his wife have moved from their £1.5 million villa into another residence in the capital, and last week had their combined fines reduced to £1,150 after a judge ruled them excessive.

However, they failed in their appeal against the conviction.

Dr McCallum, who is still waiting to hear if he will be disciplined by the General Medical Council, said they would not challenge the conviction any further as it would be “too consuming”.

He said: “This has been going on for two and a half years now.

“The publicity and the extended nature of this have been incredible.

“To continue at this stage would be too consuming,

“Michele and I want to say that it is very regrettable that we got involved in a completely unseemly situation.

“We would apologise for this thoroughly wasteful use of valuable public resources taken up by the process that followed, and by that I mean the police time and the court time.

“We clearly should not have conducted ourselves in the manner we did.

“This was completely uncharacteristic.

“The initial complaint, concerning our neighbour and in our view the endangerment of out children by her driving, should have been left to the police to deal with.”

Three appeal court judges said Sheriff Graeme Warner, who convicted the pair, was wrong when he described the incident as the “worst breach of peace” in his career, and that he had taken an “overly severe” attitude.

Dr McCallum’s £2,500 fine was reduced to £750, and Mrs McCallum had her £2,500 fine reduced to £400.

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