It may be around 144 years since Andrew was arrested and the trial of the little brown mare took place, but I find it endlessly fascinating. Here is a young boy, 19 years old, having to face up to the consequences of his actions. It's impossible to find the truth of what happened but I can't help feeling that Andrew was stitched up for some reason by Margaret McRae. Andrew was not blameless, I'm sure, and possibly some youthful drinking and high jinks were involved but he could never have imagined how his life and destiny was about to change forever.
Here's his second statement where he tries to answer his accuser -
In presence of George Cameron Esquire, Sheriff Substitute of Ross and Cromarty Shires.
Compeared: Andrew Ballantyne present prisoner in the Jail of Dingwall another declaration emitted by him at Dingwall upon the eleventh day of June current having been read over to him and he being interrogated he Declares that he adheres thereto as truth.
Declares that the animal taken by him from Bottacks as mentioned in the said declaration was a small brown mare. Declares that he was in the habit of getting the loan or use of the said mare from the family of Kenneth MacRae the owner. Interrogated. Declares that he did not offer the mare for sale on his way to or at Fort Augustus to John Fullarton or any other person. Declares and adds that whenever he wanted the mare in course of his residence in Strathpeffer he had only to go and take her and none objected to his doing so. All which he declared to be truth.