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Hill vows to take the sheriff to court

Stuart Hill

INDEFATIGABLE Shetland independence campaigner Stuart Hill has vowed to take legal action against law officers who put him in jail for refusing to accept his punishment for driving offences he claims he never committed.

The 69 year old from England was jailed for 12 days in July for refusing to carry out the remaining 58 hours of a 100 hour work order he received last December.

He had been convicted for driving two vehicles around Lerwick without the proper paperwork the previous summer, claiming they were consular vehicles for his state of Forvik, an uninhabited islet off Shetland’s west coast.

On Wednesday he appeared again at Lerwick Sheriff Court to explain why he had still failed to complete his work order, now reduced to 15 hours following his period on remand during which he went on hunger strike.

As previously, Hill, who lives at Bard View, Ocraquoy, Cunningsburgh, refused to enter the dock as that would be accepting the jurisdiction of the court.

Sheriff Philip Mann called him “a stupid old man” and when he still refused to comply, sent him to the cells for contempt of court.

When he reappeared an hour later the sheriff told Hill it would be a waste of public money to send him back to jail or order a psychiatric report “to tell me what’s going on in your head”.

Instead he said that his hour in custody could make up for the uncompleted work order and admonished him, saying he wanted to draw a line under the case.

“I have taken a decision that this nonsense has to stop and I am not going to give you any further platform to put your views about independence in this court,” the sheriff said.

“You are free to say what you like anywhere else, within any publication…but I am not interested in your views on sovereignty and jurisdiction, because your views are totally wrong.”

Afterwards Hill was furious with his treatment, insisting the court had to demonstrate its authority before it could sentence him.

He insists the court has based its entire argument for its powers in Shetland on a magazine article by Shetland archivist Brian Smith, which he described as “ludicrous”.

“I sent (the sheriff) a long letter before the hearing and also a statutory declaration, which is something he really can’t ignore, but he didn’t want to go into either of them. They are absolutely damning and what he did today was the best he could do to save face.

“I am now going to have to seek redress to clear my name because the jurisdiction has not been proved.

“There has been no crime and I have been wrongly imprisoned, wrongly detained, wrongly arrested.”

Hill said that he would be pursuing the sheriff and every other law officer involved in his case in the Scottish courts, because he does not believe the Lerwick court has any legitimacy.