A senior sheriff has urged a 60-year-old woman to stop taking legal advice from a “dangerous” campaigner with “absurd notions”.
Sheriff Principle Derek Pyle today (Monday) warned Sandra Irvine not to be influenced by Stuart Hill, whom he recently convicted of contempt of court.
Irvine is accused of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner towards two people near her home in Boddam on 28th November.
Appearing via video link, Sheriff Pyle explained that while the proceedings were relatively “minor”, Irvine was risking herself greater harm by taking Hill’s “bad advice”.
She was previously remanded in custody after refusing to comply with bail conditions.
At a hearing earlier this month, Sheriff Ian Cruickshank also ordered Hill to be taken to the cells after he published a “statement of truth” regarding Irvine’s case, which included claims of “false courts”.
Hill also accused Sheriff Cruickshank of “impersonating a sheriff”, which meant Sheriff Pyle had to be called in for the contempt hearing.
Sheriff Pyle deferred sentencing until November and ordered Hill to stay away from Lerwick Sheriff Court.
However, Hill has continued to advise Irvine, who is representing herself in the matter.
And he was blamed for Irvine’s latest move, which saw her issue citations for Sheriff Cruickshank, court clerk Jan Hunter, procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie and Hill himself to be called as witnesses.
At today’s hearing, Mr MacKenzie asked Sheriff Pyle to rescind the citations, arguing the people named could not add anything to the facts of the trial.
He said the citations were “merely a vexatious exercise and an exercise in frivolity”.
Mr MacKenzie also noted that Hill had previously made similar witness citations, saying it was “boringly predictable” that such tactics had been employed again.
Sheriff Pyle referred to a case he had presided over in Orkney when Hill had cited various witnesses including the then prime minister.
After the sheriff questioned Irvine on the citations, she responded by asking Mr MacKenzie three times to “fulfil his duties” and state what “personal and territorial jurisdiction” the court had in this matter.
She also suggested it was “bizarre” that Mr MacKenzie was representing officers of the court service.
“This case is about much more than whether I had the right to tell people to get off my land,” she said.
“This is about shining a light on the truth of the Scottish justice system.”
Sheriff Pyle told Irvine that Mr MacKenzie was not representing officers of the court – he was arguing that it was not appropriate for them to be called as witnesses.
The sheriff also explained that Mr MacKenzie held his jurisdiction “under the law of Scotland”.
To which Irvine replied: “This is not Scotland, it is Shetland”.
Sheriff Pyle told Irvine he was not going to debate “absurd claims” about the law, which no doubt originated from Hill.
He advised Irvine to stop taking Hill’s advice.
“I’ve no idea what his motivation is for coming up with these absurd notions about the law of Scotland but you are doing yourself great harm in becoming involved with him,” the sheriff said.
The sheriff said Hill’s behaviour was “very dangerous” for Irvine, whom he had already “imperilled” leading to her spending time in custody.
“I would urge you to take legal advice from someone who is properly qualified about the law and not to be influenced any more by Stuart Hill because you are risking jeopardy and harm.”
In respect to the Crown’s application for the witness citations to be rescinded, he said the request was “entirely justified” as the citations were “utterly bizarre”.
The trial will proceed tomorrow.
Sheriff Pyle said that police would prevent Hill from entering the court, should he try to do so.