Trial set after Hill denies vandalism charge

Outspoken Shetland independence campaigner Stuart Hill has appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court accused of vandalism.

Hill, 72, of Ocraquoy, Cunningsburgh, denied wilfully or recklessly destroying the closed property at North Bridge Stores in Cunningsburgh.

He is accused of forcing open the side door of the shop on 23rd September, thereby causing damage to the door-frame and the door itself.

Trial was set for 18th February with an intermediate diet on 20th January. But that was not before Hill, who has for long claimed Shetland is not technically part of Scotland or the UK, stressed he did not recognise the court.

Sheriff Philip Mann insisted arguments presented in a large number of papers sent in by Hill had already been deliberated over by himself, as well as his predecessor Graeme Napier and the Court of Session.

“It seems to me your issue is not with jurisdiction, but with the right of this court to exist. It’s quite clear Scotland and the UK have exercised sovereignty over these isles without challenge – until you came along.”

He insisted Hill had “no mandate” to speak for the people of Shetland.

The sheriff also drew on figures from the independence referendum.

“It can be seen it is the settled will of the people of Shetland that they be part of the UK.”

He said Hill’s arguments were of interest to historians but to lawyers they were “simply nonsense.”

The sheriff noted that members of the press were “scribbling down” what was being said, but stressed he was not going to give Hill the “oxygen of publicity”.

He added it “beggared belief” that the press were prepared to publish advertisements relating to Hill’s “nonsensical legal position”.

Hill was granted bail – which he accepted “under duress” with special conditions attached.

Hill said he would no longer pursue the matter of jurisdiction during further court appearances.

He told the sheriff: “As far as jurisdiction is concerned, the court has made quite clear its position, and I see no value in pursuing this in future in the courts.”


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