Two Whalsay men appeared in court on Wednesday charged with clubbing 21 grey seals to death nearly three weeks ago on the isle of East Linga.
Jimmy Stewart, 47, of Saltness, Symbister, and John Eunson, 44, of Symbister, had their case continued without plea until 15th January while their solicitors carry out further investigations.
The men were granted bail with the special condition they stay away from East Linga unless Mr Stewart’s solicitor, Tommy Allan, needs Mr Stewart to accompany him there during his research.
The pair face charges under the 1970 Conservation of Seals Act and the 1996 Wild Mammals (Protection) Act relating to events alleged to have taken place on 29th November.
On the first charge they are accused of mutilating, beating and crushing the seals with intent to inflict unnecessary suffering or the alternative of maliciously clubbing the seals to death.
The second charge is that they wilfully killed the seals during the close season for the species halichoerus grypus, which is from 1st September to 31st December.
Both were excused attendance at the next hearing after the court heard Mr Stewart was due to go to sea shortly after New Year.