"Top cop admits attacking boys" screamed the headline on the front page of this newspaper last week.
Crikey, I thought, sitting down to read the Herald on Sunday. Must be serious. A punch-up perhaps? Or inappropriate use of a truncheon or a Taser?
But no. The story of Richard Wilkie is one that would be familiar to many parents of teenagers. Inspector Wilkie was rung late one night several months ago after police found his daughter drinking in a local park with several other teenagers.
He and his wife raced to the scene and once his daughter was in the car, Wilkie went up to two youths sitting on a grass verge, kicked one of them in the shin and the other in the thigh, with a bare foot.
He swore at one of the boys, asked him his name and told him that would be the last time he expected to see his face. He then thanked the officers and drove home.
As a consequence of his actions, he was forced to appear in court on assault charges, has resigned as chairman of the board of trustees of Macleans College, where his daughter and the two boys are students, and he may well face disciplinary action from police bosses.
For heaven's sake. When Wilkie showed up at the local park, he wasn't a top cop. He was a distressed, concerned dad.
Kicking somebody in the shin with your bare foot hardly constitutes assault - and yes, I'm well aware that you're not allowed to touch anybody on any part of their body. But assault for this? Seriously?
At the age of 7, when I met a man with a "mouse" in his pocket, then regaled my Dad with the story, his face turned puce, then scarlet, then thunderous.
"I'll kill the bastard!" he bellowed, and I have no doubt that if Dad had been the first one to find that bloke, he would have received a serious thumping. Certainly, the mouse man would have got far more than a kick in the shin with a bare foot. He'd have been lucky to escape with his mouse intact. That's what dads do when they feel their daughters are unsafe. They over-react.
To the sanctimonious parent of one of the youths involved in this case, who said that Wilkie should reconsider his police career and that he should have known better given his high rank and extensive training, I would say that it is precisely because of his job that Wilkie reacted the way he did.
How many times in his long career with the police would he have had to knock on somebody's door to deliver news of a child's death that would shatter a family irrevocably? He would know exactly what dangers lay in wait for silly young girls mixing alcohol and late night rendezvous.
A thousand different scenarios would be playing through his mind and it was probably a mix of fear, anger, frustration and relief that prompted his outburst.
Whatever happened to common sense? Why is this even before the court?
And without wishing to bite the hand that feeds me, why in God's name was this a front-page story?
I hope that common sense will finally prevail when Wilkie is sentenced in September.