- Syrian Fahd Al Shrayteh, 40, arrived in Scotland from Syria in January 2016 2015
- Three months later he tied up and whipped a boy, now 11, with an electric cable
- Al Shrayteh was back in court for a series of new assaults last winter
- Boy's sister - who told police of attacks - changed her story and case collapsed
A Syrian refugee convicted of tying a ten-year-old boy to a bed and threatening to whip him has walked free from court after fresh charges against him floundered.
Fahd Hussein Al Shrayteh, 40, who arrived in Scotland in January 2016 with the first group of Syrians escaping the war in his homeland, was on trial for alleged assaults on the same child from October and November last year.
But the refugee escaped conviction yesterday after the boy’s sister withdrew the claims she had made to police about the alleged assaults.
Al Shrayteh was charged with repeatedly seizing, pushing and striking the boy with a belt, grabbing and pulling him by the ear and punching him repeatedly on the head.
In the dock: Fahd Hussein Al Shrayteh, 40, left and right, was on trial for alleged assaults on the same child he was convicted of hurting the same child he tied up and whipped
The boy’s sister told Kilmarnock Sheriff Court she had given three statements to police at her secondary school in Ayrshire.
Speaking in Arabic through an interpreter, the 18-year-old woman said she had witnessed Al Shrayteh shouting at her brother, now 11 and whom he had been looking after, to come to the dinner table.
Katy McColl, prosecuting, asked: ‘Did you tell the police he [Al Shrayteh] was angry that night?’
The teenager, who wore a hijab and smiled broadly throughout her testimony, said: ‘I informed the police he shouted at him to come and have some food, that’s all.’
Miss McColl asked: ‘Did you tell the police that he hit him?’
She replied: ‘I talked to the police three times. The second time I changed my speech and the last time I told the police the truth and exactly what happened.’
Miss McColl: ‘Why did you tell the police you saw [Al Shrayteh] hit him?’
The witness replied: ‘I just wanted to help him. It was a matter of helping my brother.’
Miss McColl reminded the teenager she had sworn to tell the truth but she replied: ‘The weather was cold outside and he would not allow him out. That’s all that happened.’
Sheriff David Hall told Al Shrayteh the prosecution was not offering any other evidence and accordingly found him not guilty.
Al Shrayteh covered his face and left without speaking.
He avoided a jail term at the same court last June, when he admitted two counts of assault after tying the boy to a bed with a skipping rope and threatening to whip him with a cable.
Allegations that he struck the boy repeatedly with a piece of wood, seized him and forced his fist into the side of his head were dropped in an agreed plea with prosecutors.
The attacks happened three months after Al Shrayteh’s family arrived in Scotland around new year 2016.
At the time, Sheriff Alistair Watson said: ‘This is perhaps not culturally unusual or extreme as it may seem and I do regularly see worse cases involving Scottish persons.
‘You have undertaken an enormous struggle to keep your family together, I recognise and am aware of that, but this conduct is completely unacceptable in Scotland.
‘You need additional guidance and support and I also need you to give me your word that you will not behave in this unacceptable way again.’
Al Shrayteh agreed. His conviction was believed to be the first against one of the 400 Syrian refugees who had arrived in Scotland.