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Racial tension charges against editor are dropped

A newspaper owner who faced accusations of stirring up racial tension has had the charges against him dropped.

Alan Buchan, who owns and edits the Peterhead-based North East Weekly, was charged under the Public Order Act.

He was accused of publishing potentially racially inflammatory comment after police received complaints about a front-page story in his free weekly newspaper.

A report was sent to the procurator fiscal, but the Crown Office has now confirmed that no action will be taken.

The article, published on June 16, contained details about plans for a 5,000-capacity complex in Peterhead which the editor claimed would be used to house immigrants.

It was supported by editorial on potential detrimental effects to the area of such a move.

Alan said the decision not to prosecute was a “victory for free speech and commonsense”.

He said: “I am delighted as I expected this to drag on for at least a year.

“Nobody I have spoken to thought there was any problem with the article and, had the case gone ahead, I would have fully defended my right to freedom of speech.”

A Crown Office spokesman said: “After careful consideration of the available evidence, the fiscal has decided not to take proceedings in this case.”

The North East Weekly, formerly known as the Buchan Advertiser, distributes around 10,000 copies to homes and businesses in Buchan, Gordon and Aberdeen.