Self-styled independence campaigner Stuart Hill has been freed from prison following his latest appearance at Lerwick Sheriff Court.
Hill, 69, of Cunningsburgh – who has repeatedly insisted the court has no jurisdiction over Shetland – had previously been remanded after failing to turn up for an appearance relating to a breach of a community payback order, which was imposed for driving offences in December.
Appearing from custody today, Hill was told to carry out 15 hours of unpaid work after Sheriff Philip Mann said he did not want to send him back to prison.
Entering the court, Hill insisted he did not consent to going into the dock and was doing so under “protest and duress”. He introduced himself to the court as “Stuart, of the Family Hill”.
However he later maintained he would be willing to carry out unpaid work.
“I’m placed in a position where I am forced to do these hours. I have a tremendous reluctance to going back to prison,” he told the sheriff.
The court heard that Hill had completed 42 out of 100 hours of community service.
Insisting that he wanted to be fair, Sheriff Mann said he was reluctant to send Hill to prison because he did not want to put an elderly man in jail “as a result of his own stupidity”.
He added: “You have 58 hours remaining. You have served the equivalent of 24 days in jail. I can vary the community payback order by reducing the number of hours. If you were to carry out a further 15 hours that would be the end of the matter. I could fine you for the breach, but I am prepared not to do that. This will draw a line under it.”
He added his understanding that Hill had “strong-held beliefs”, but thanked him for his co-operation.
“I hope I don’t have to see you in these circumstances again,” he said.