Charlotte Thomson – The Scotsman, Edinburgh July 28, 2004
Edinburgh—A pensioner who flew a foreign flag in the window of his home ended up in the dock yesterday accused of "racial aggravation."
A neighbor complained to police that the flag was the eagle emblem of Imperial Germany, which offended her Jewish roots.
But Ebenezer Melville, 65, claimed it was the double-headed eagle of the Albanian national flag, which he flew to pay tribute to his new son-in-law.
After his trial was adjourned at Banff Sheriff Court, he protested: "This is the most stupid thing I have ever heard in my life. The flag is Albanian, and I can't understand why anyone would be offended by it."
The neighbour, Christina Foster, had called in the police believing the emblem represented the German Imperial army. Officers seized the flag, and Mr. Melville was charged with acting in a "racially aggravated" manner.
When he appeared in the dock, he pleaded not guilty to deliberately trying to offend his neighbor by flying the flag "in direct sight" of her house.
As he left the court after the trial was adjourned without evidence being called, Mr. Melville said: "For some reason, I'm being accused of being a racist. It's ridiculous, considering I've got Croatians, Albanians and Germans in my family."
Mr. Melville told how he erected the flag in the window of his Banff home after the marriage of his daughter, Deborah.
He thought the Albanian flag would provide the perfect welcome on his son-in-law's first visit to Scotland. It was placed in his first-floor window, which looks directly on to Mrs. Foster's house.
Mr. Melville will appear in court again in September.
Last updated 03/08/2004