A POLICE officer accused of groping a female colleague while sitting in a room packed with fellow officers has been cleared – despite a sheriff criticising his evidence.

PC Brian King was said to have touched the woman as the pair sat in the Muster Room at Police Scotland’s Fettes police station during a shift changeover.

Mr King was seen to motion for the woman to sit next to him by rubbing the seat but as she approached the chair he was said to have turned his hand over and wiggled his fingers in a provocative manner.

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The female PC, who is in her 30s, said she believed Mr King would pull his hand away but as she sat down she found his hand still underneath her bottom.

She said the PC’s stunt, in front of around 15 fellow officers, had left her “humiliated and embarrassed”.

Mr King had denied making any gesture and claimed he was only spinning the seat round for the woman to sit on during the incident on January 18 last year.

The woman said she believed Mr King had assaulted her but the case against Mr King was found to be not proven following a trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last week.

However, in clearing Mr King, 52, of assaulting the woman, Sheriff Adrian Cottam told the officer he was “rejecting your explanation of how things happened” and he was accepting “almost entirely the evidence of the complainer”.

But he added: “I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt there was an attack on the complainer.

“I am not satisfied it would be an assault for a person to leave their hand on a chair for a clothed person to sit on - it might be reckless at best.”