Piper jailed for sexual assault / Europeans on for 2022 / Mòd piping entries / Pipe down!

John Nicholl. (Photo: Otago Daily Times).

A piper in New Zealand has been sentenced to 12 months’ intensive supervision after committing a roadside sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl. He was also given a ‘first-strike warning’ under New Zealand’s three-strikes legislation.

John William Nicholl (54) of Outram, a rural suburb of Dunedin in the South Island, is also a teacher and part-time church pastor. He pleaded guilty at Dunedin District Court earlier this week to indecent assault and conducting an act of indecency. The judge declined his application for a discharge without conviction.

Nicholl [pictured] has resigned from his local pipe band, his church and his teaching post at Taieri College near Dunedin.

As reported in the New Zealand Herald, the court heard how on November 1, 2020, his first victim, a 50-year-old woman, was walking her dog in South Dunedin and when she rounded a corner she saw Nicholl standing beside his car. He was wearing his traditional Scottish garb and asked the woman if she could help him tuck in his shirt, saying that it was most effective if she reached under the kilt and pulled the shirttails down. The victim told the court she suspected Nicholl he may not have underwear on, and was hesitant but that Nicholl urged her on. When she hitched up the kilt, her fears were realised and she walked away.

The court further heard that on December 6 — the day of the Dunedin Santa Parade — Nicholl drove through the district and approached two women on the street, asking for assistance in a similar fashion. A police summary said it was unknown whether they acquiesced. Following the parade, Nicholl targeted a 13-year-old girl. This time he was more forceful. Court documents say he “grabbed hold of the victim’s left hand and put it under his kilt” before moving the girl’s hand across his genitalia.

A psychologist’s report put Nicholl’s acts down to elevated stress due to his work and various extracurricular pursuits. He has committed to continue counselling. As well as the sentence and first-strike warning, he was ordered to pay his first victim $200 and the teenager $1,800.

The date for the 2022 European Pipe Band Championships has been confirmed as June 25. The venue is once again Bught Park in Inverness.

Isle of Islay Pipe Band marches into the circle at a rain-soaked Bught Park in 2019.

In confirming the date, organisers, LCC Live said it had also negotiated with the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) an extension for a further two years, which will see it deliver the championships in 2023 as well. Its original contract would’ve ended with the 2021 event, which, like the 2020, fell victim to the on going pandemic.

Les Kidger of LCC Live said: “We’d like to thank The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association for extending our agreement, and we look forward to working closely with them, as well as our partners at Highland Council, Highlife Highland and Event Scotland, to ensure we deliver successful events in 2022 and 2023.”

Kevin Reilly, chairman of the RSPBA, commented: “We can’t wait to get to back to Inverness! LCC Live delivered one of the best piping events we’ve ever hosted, and we’re extremely excited to announce that the European Pipe Band Championships are back in the Highlands in 2022. There’s no better feeling than seeing and hearing the hundreds of pipe bands that descend to compete in major competitions, including the European Pipe Band Championships – we’re so looking forward to it!”

The RSPBA has also released the following dates for the other major championships (excelt the British):

• UK Championships – June 11 at Lurgan, Northern Ireland.
• Scottish Championships – July 30 at Levengrove Park, Dumbarton.
• World Championships – August 12/13 at GLasgow.

royal national mod logo

The 2021 Royal National Mòd piping competitions will take place online.

Junior pipers should submit videos of their performances for the respective categories by the extended date of Friday, August 27. Their performances will be showcased online though the Mòd’s social media channels on October 9.

• More information.

• Online entry form.

And finally, it appears lockdown frustrations are boiling over in a part of Sydney, Australia.

A student in the city was so fed up of hearing a piper practice constantly for eight days straight that she penned a note and left it outside the piper’s home near the city’s Petersham Park.

Her note read: “Dear Bagpiper, I understand lockdown is hard and we all need a creative outlet. However, it’s been 8 days and I’m not sure how much more bagpiping I can take.

“Please consider taking a day off every now and then, it would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, a struggling Year 12 student.”

Our advice to the piper if he/she is reading this is to purchase a pair of earplugs from The Bagpipe Shop … and present them to this student.

Have a good weekend … and don’t forget to take in the shows happening during Piping Live as of tomorrow. Bagpipe.News will carry reviews for some of them in due course.