Former South Mainland doctor cleared of rape at High Court in Glasgow
Former South Mainland doctor Christopher Rowlands walked free from court on Tuesday after being cleared of rape.
He had been accused of a brutal sex attack on a 39 year-old woman at a house in Bothwell, Lanarkshire, two years ago.
Dr Rowlands, 53, denied the allegation during a week-long trial at the High Court in Glasgow. Prosecutors withdrew the rape accusation at the end of the Crown evidence and instead sought a conviction for assault.
However, judge Norman Ritchie QC threw out the case when he said there was “not sufficient corroboration” after hearing legal arguments.
He told the jury: “I have to look and see if there was enough evidence in law for you to convict and it seems to me plainly there was insufficient evidence. That is my responsibility and it is my decision.”
Dr Rowlands muttered “thank you” as he left the dock. Outside court he said: “I am just relieved by the decision. I have spent five months on remand in Barlinnie, so you can imagine what that was like.”
It is believed that the doctor – who claims he retired in 2004 – is returning to stay with his mother in County Cork, Ireland.
The trial heard how his alleged victim – who cannot be named – claimed she was attacked on 15th September 2007. She claimed Dr Rowlands had “floored” her with a punch before dragging by the hair upstairs and then raping her.
The woman went on: “I wanted to call the police. I was frightened for my life. I had never come in and out of consciousness before and never had a beating like that . . .”
Dr Rowlands denied the attack and claimed it was the woman who had come at him with a knife. He said he had fled upstairs and the woman followed him before she fell down the stairs and injured herself.
Dr Rowlands told the jury that he left the house that afternoon before going on a driving holiday across Europe then moving to Ireland.
The jury heard he sent a text to the woman asking had she contacted “P” – thought to be a reference to the police. He denied claims that he had been “evasive” or that he was a man with a “short temper”.
Dr Rowlands was awarded an MBE for his work during the Chinook helicopter crash off Shetland in 1986 and he became Lanarkshire GP of the Year in 2000.
In recent years, however, he has been no stranger to the courts. He was fined £1,100 for an assault on his wife Anne Marie in 2004 at their luxury home in Bothwell. He was given community service at Glasgow Sheriff Court after he stabbed a love rival in the face with a set of keys in 2005.