Charges dropped against film-makers accused over Donald Trump documentary

Men accused of entering and filming without permission at US business magnate's office at proposed golf resort in Scotland.

Two documentary film-makers arrested and held by police as they investigated complaints about Donald Trump's proposed golf resort in Scotland have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors and police have dropped all charges against Anthony Baxter and Richard Phinney after they were accused of entering and filming without permission at the US business magnate's office at the proposed resort in Aberdeenshire.

The pair were arrested, held for four hours and had their photographs, fingerprints and DNA taken and their equipment confiscated after the incident on 30 July last year.

They were charged with breach of the peace.

The arrests led to a formal complaint by the National Union of Journalists, which accused Grampian police of "a blatant example of police interference aimed at stopping bona fide journalists doing their job".

The force said it had no intention of preventing journalists from carrying out their duties. Grampian police have told Phinney his formal warning, arrest records and personal data have been deleted.

The Crown Office, Scotland's prosecution authority, said: "After full and careful consideration of the facts and circumstances in this case, crown counsel instructed there would be no proceedings."

The Trump Organisation called the police after the two men, who have made award-winning films for the BBC and Channel 4, visited Trump's home and office on the estate.

They were investigating an incident when Trump's contractors had left local residents without water supplies during their long-running project about the controversial £750m resort.

The film-makers denied the company's allegations, saying a senior member of Trump's staff had allowed them into the building and had voluntarily given them an interview.

Trump Organisation officials also alleged to a local newspaper that the two were members of the anti-golf resort campaign group Tripping up Trump. Baxter said this was untrue.

He said he felt "totally vindicated" by the decision to drop the charges, adding: "At the time, we were astonished at what happened.

"Essentially, we were just carrying out our jobs as journalists and here we are, several months later, finally getting the response that we should have got in the first place."

Paul Holleran, the regional organiser for NUJ Scotland, said: "Our concern was that Mr Trump's staff could complain to the police about being interviewed about the work being carried out on the golf development and then local police were taking their side without exploring all the facts.

"It is essential for a democracy that journalists are allowed to question people in power without facing arrest and seizure of equipment.

"I'm delighted the Crown Office has come to this decision both for the two individuals and the broader issue of press freedom."

A spokeswoman for the Trump Organisation said: "This has nothing to do with us – it's a matter between Grampian police and the individuals involved."

Full Story:

Watch Tripping Up Trump on YouTubeJoin Tripping Up Trump on FacebookJoin Tripping Up Trump on TwitterGet Tripping Up Trump T-Shirts!