A FORMER Port Glasgow optician who was found guilty of sexually abusing two girls has had his conviction overturned.

Appeal court judges ruled there had been a ‘miscarriage of justice’ in the case as they cleared Boo Seng Khoo of any wrongdoing.

Mr Seng Khoo, 63 — who worked at an optical practice on King Street — received a three-year prison sentence in 2015 after a jury found him guilty by a majority verdict.

Prosecutors had alleged that Mr Seng Khoo, who was also a foster parent, had preyed on the youngsters over a period spanning eight years from 2003 to 2011 in his home.

But his appeal to the High Court highlighted a number of failings.

The appeal also heard that the sheriff who presided over the trial said he had ‘not expected such an outcome’ in the case.

Sheriff Alan McKenzie said that he had been ‘anticipating a verdict of acquittal’ from the evidence placed before the jury, adding that the testimony of one girl to having been abused almost daily for seven years in a living room with other adults and children coming and going ‘might have seemed extraordinary’.

Mr Seng Khoo’s appeal focused on failings by his defence lawyers to ‘properly prepare’ the case and said that certain records relevant to factual matters were not obtained and placed before the jury.

The appeal also pointed out that there was a ‘strict protocol’ within Mr Seng Khoo’s home that he would not be left alone with one of his accusers after ‘concerns had been identified that false allegations might be made’.

An official report regarding the appeal states: “The protocol was observed in relation to the two complainers because they displayed sexualised behaviour and in addition were known to be dishonest.

“Evidence of these concerns, including that one of the complainers was previously sexually abused by a family member, is likely to be contained in the records, which the previous representatives failed to obtain.”

Mr Seng Khoo — who was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely following his unsafe conviction — had been a foster carer with his wife for many years and had looked after 30 children without any complaints ever being raised.

Appeal judges Lord Menzies, Lord Brodie and Lord Drummond Young quashed the conviction against Mr Seng Khoo.

In their ruling they state: “It was the responsibility of the appellant’s legal representatives to carry out adequate investigations and preparations before the trial to see that his defence was properly presented at trial.

“It does not appear to us that without more detailed precognitions as to the rules enforced in the household, and without a properly argued attempt to persuade the court to order disclosure of social work records, the appellant’s defence was properly investigated and prepared.”

The judges declared: “The conduct of the defence has deprived the appellant of his right to a fair trial, and there has accordingly been a miscarriage of justice.

“We shall allow the appeal and quash the appellant’s conviction.”