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Hill stirs up trouble in court again

SELF-styled Shetland independence campaigner Stuart Hill is heading for another confrontation with the Scottish legal system after launching an appeal against last year’s sentence for driving offences.

On 15 December the 69 year old from Ockraquoy, Cunningsburgh, was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and fined £1,400 after being found guilty of driving without tax, an MOT and insurance on two occasions. He was also banned from driving for six months.

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Hill claimed the vans he was driving when he was arrested were consular vehicles for the independent state of Forvik, an uninhabited island of Shetland’s west coast where he has based his energetic campaign to challenge Scotland’s jurisdiction over the isles.

Since being sentenced the Englishman, who arrived in the islands 11 years ago after a boating accident during his circumnavigation of the British Isles, has launched an appeal against his conviction.

On Wednesday he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court charged with failing to comply with his community payback order.

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When Sheriff Philip Mann asked him to go into the dock, Hill only did so under protest, saying he did not admit the jurisdiction of the court.

When asked if he admitted breaching the order, Hill refused to make a statement. The sheriff took that as a denial and ordered a hearing on the 17 May.

Hill kept trying to refer the sheriff to the ruling by Sheriff Graeme Napier on 15 December when he found him guilty of road traffic offences.

However Sheriff Mann lost patience, saying that if he failed to agree to appear at the hearing he would remand him in custody. “I am prepared to come under protest and duress,” Hill said, to which the sheriff replied: “That’s good enough for me.”

Hill left the court saying: “I believe there has been a miscarriage of justice here today. Your refusal to listen to me constitutes a miscarriage of justice.”

Sheriff Mann advised him to take that up with “a higher authority”.

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