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Case collapses after ex-Fife policeman refuses to testify against his wife

A disgraced former police officer’s vow of silence in court stopped a drink-driving charge against his wife proceeding further.

  • By Dave Lord
  • Published in the Courier : 07.05.10
  • Published online : 07.05.10 @ 11.48am
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Susan Catignani walked free from Perth Sheriff Court after her husband Nicholas refused to give evidence for the prosecution at her trial.

Mr Catignani exercised the rarely used right of a husband to refuse to give evidence against his wife during criminal proceedings.

The case against Catignani collapsed as a result and she was formally acquitted of a charge of driving while more than two times over the legal limit.

Former Fife police constable Mr Catignani, who left the force in shame after being caught with drugs, was called first to give evidence at Perth Sheriff Court.

When depute fiscal Lucy Keane asked if he was aware of his wife being arrested on May 1 last year, he confirmed they had been on holiday in Pitlochry at the time.

Miss Keane then asked, "Are you willing to give information?"

Mr Catignani replied, "Can I exercise my right not to give evidence against my wife?"

After a brief discussion of the law, Sheriff Robert McCreadie ruled that Mr Catignani was entitled to say nothing further in the case if he chose.

"Since he is the husband of the accused, in common law he cannot be compelled to give evidence," the sheriff said.

"If he wishes to exercise his right, neither you nor I can compel him."

Mr Catignani was allowed to leave the witness box and Miss Keane said that, in light of what had happened, she had no plans to lead any further evidence.

Sheriff McCreadie concluded that, since no evidence was led, there was no case to answer and Catignani was formally acquitted of the charge.

The 41-year-old had been arrested for allegedly drink-driving on various roads in Pitlochry in May last year.

The charge stated she had been more than two times over the legal limit (a breath sample was recorded at 73 mics, the legal limit is 35).

Mr Catignani lost his job with Fife police last summer after being caught with cannabis resin during a disturbance at his then estranged wife's home.

He was fined £325 after he admitted a breach of the peace and possession of the class B drug.

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