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by Staff reporter
20 October 2022
Ex-SNP councillor sentenced for sexual assaults on women

Ex-SNP councillor sentenced for sexual assaults on women

A former SNP councillor who carried out sex attacks on three women has been sentenced at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

A two-day summary trial heard how Lewis Ritchie forcibly kissed one woman after an SNP event, touched the buttocks of another, and tried to get into bed with a third woman after a political event.

The 38-year-old was previously planning convenor on City of Edinburgh Council, where he represented Leith Walk. He left the SNP in 2018 following complaints about his actions and served as an independent councillor for a short period.

The incidents happened April 2016 and October 2019 and cafe owner Ritchie has now been sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard how Ritchie forcibly kissed one woman after demanding a "proper kiss" and touched the buttocks of another woman who worked for him several times, slapping her so hard it left bruising on one occasion.

A third victim told how she was sharing an Airbnb in Glasgow with several other women after a political event when Ritchie "invited" himself to stay and turned up drunk. The court heard that she awoke to find him standing over her wearing underwear and trying to get into bed with her, saying he wanted to "cuddle and sleep".

An investigation began after a complaint by Ritchie's former employee.

Peter McClelland, procurator fiscal for Lothian and Borders, said: "This man was in a position of some public standing. The witnesses showed considerable courage in giving evidence against him. We encourage people to come forward and report crimes of this nature."

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