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Court / Court left frustrated after accused has trial date set for spring 2024

Lerwick sheriff court.
Lerwick Sheriff Court.

A FORTY seven year old man who is accused of committing an assault more than three years ago is not likely to face the charges in court until spring 2024.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday that William Mays, who denies three counts of assault between May and October 2018 including one that allegedly left the victim with “severe injury and permanent impairment”, would face a jury trial in Aberdeen on 17 April 2024.

The delay, to the obvious frustration of those in court, means almost six years will have elapsed since the first offence by the time Mays takes his place in the dock.

He was 44 at the time of the alleged offences and will have passed his 50th birthday by the time the trial is now due to proceed.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank noted the date and said it would be inappropriate for him to make any comment other than that the court system is “still faced by the rules imposed on us by the [Covid-19] pandemic”.

“I have no power to do anything other than assign this trial for the date given,” he said, stressing that no blame could be attached to either the crown or the defence.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said the crown would have to make a motion to extend the normal time bar of 12 months for the case so that it does not expire until 21 April 2024.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said he would note a formal objection.

Shetland News has approached the Scottish Court Service for a response.