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Hill faces trial after claim dismissed

Stuart Hill

SELF-styled independence campaigner Stuart Hill may appeal to a Scottish court after his claim that Scotland had no legal jurisdiction in Shetland was dismissed by the local sheriff.

The 68 year old, who has spent the past nine years researching Shetland’s constitutional history, refused to answer 12 motoring charges and two further charges of obstructing the police and will now go to trial in November.

Mr Hill, of Bard View, Ockraquoy, Cunningsburgh, was arrested twice in vans he claimed were consular vehicles for the island of Forvik, off Shetland, for which he claimed independence three years ago.

He is charged with driving defective vehicles without a licence, tax, insurance or an MOT in Lerwick on 15 June and 5 July this year.

The former blacksmith and keen sailor has long been looking for a forum to challenge the authorities over his assertion that Shetland was never formally handed over to Scotland or the UK.

He is also involved in a civil case against the Royal Bank of Scotland in the Court of Session over their rights to impose charges upon him.

On Wednesday at Lerwick Sheriff Court, Sheriff Graeme Napier spent almost two hours debating Shetland history with Mr Hill, despite describing the entire affair as “a pantomime”.

This followed a similar 90 minute session on Tuesday, prior to which Mr Hill was locked up for 20 minutes after he refused to answer the initial charges.

At the end of the hearing Sheriff Napier said that Mr Hill was “deluded” and “seriously misguided”, despite presenting a 71 page submission in support of his claim that the court had no jurisdiction in Shetland.

Dismissing his claim, the sheriff said: “Eloquent and as heavily researched as his submissions may be I consider that Mr Hill is deluded by a rather romantic and unrealistic view of the way the relationship between Scotland and Shetland developed from before, around the time of and after the time of the pawning of Shetland to the Scottish Crown in 1469.

“It seems to me that Mr Hill has seriously misguided himself as to the inferences to be drawn from the various historical events.”

Mr Hill requested leave to appeal the case, which the sheriff refused, saying he had “absolutely no doubt about the cogency of my decision”.

However Mr Hill continued to refuse to answer the original charges and a trial date was set for 16 November.

After the hearing Mr Hill said he was not surprised by the court’s decision and he would be considering whether he would appeal to a higher court.

“I don’t think that the sheriff was ever in a position to say that he had no jurisdiction. I can still apply for leave to appeal even though it’s not been granted here and as I recognise the jurisdiction of the court in Scotland I am quite happy to deal with them in Scotland.”

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