A BUTCHER shop boss repeatedly sexually assaulted a female employee during a month-long campaign of workplace harassment, a court trial has heard.

Robert McFarlane is accused of feeling the woman's buttocks on various occasions, and private parts once, at the Gourock Butcher's premises on Shore Street in June and July.

McFarlane, 59, has admitted to touching her bottom on one occasion but says it was 'not sexual' as he was complimenting her on losing weight.

That incident, on July 7, was captured on a CCTV camera installed within the shop two days previously.

The other alleged situations are said to have occurred prior to the security equipment being set up.

Prosecutor Frankie Morgan put it to McFarlane: "What gives you the right to touch any staff member's backside?"

McFarlane, of Brodick Drive in Gourock, replied: "Apart from that incident, I've not."

He added: "I have no right to do it — it was done in all innocence. I made a mistake."

Asked why he hadn't paid the woman a compliment verbally, McFarlane acknowledged: "I could have."

Fiscal depute Mr Morgan went on: "The complainer in this case said it happened six times, another woman said it was five or six times."

McFarlane responded: "It was only once. I'd say they were mistaken."

He replied 'yes' to a suggestion that the alleged victim had told 'tall tales'.

Mr Morgan said: "You put £70 down in front of her and told her to take it to make an old man happy.

"You told her to pull the shutters down early so you could have some fun.

"You told her you wanted to have sex with her in the chill."

McFarlane replied, 'It never happened' to each of the three suggestions put to him.

A charge that he intentionally made indecent comments and suggestions to the woman was thrown out on a no case to answer basis.

He is still facing an allegation that he sexually assaulted the woman on various occasions between June 7 and July 5.

Mr Morgan put it to him: "It was persistent sexual harassment of an employee, and you are scrambling out of the hole you are in by denying it."

McFarlane said: "Definitely not."

The trial at Greenock Sheriff Court is due to resume and conclude on December 18.