News / 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.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News


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.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.