Court / ‘Sovereign citizen’ Irvine released on bail awaiting trial

Lerwick Sheriff Court.

A WOMAN from Shetland’s South Mainland who attempted to challenge the jurisdiction of the court is set to face trial later this month.

Sandra Irvine, of Boddam, appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday from custody after spending the night in the town’s cells.

She was taken into custody following an appearance on Wednesday after refusing to accept bail conditions.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank had also ordered a mental health assessment.

But at Thursday’s hearing a doctor specialising in psychiatry said he had been unable to carry out an assessment of the 60-year-old because she was not willing to engage.

“She felt that whatever she might say to me, that the information, once it was passed onto you, could be misused in some way against her,” Dr Morgan said.

He used the example of her being taken into a psychiatric institution – but the doctor said the assessment could have been used to reassure the court.


Irvine is accused of shouting and swearing at two people on roads in Boddam on 28 November last year, and behaving in an aggressive and intimidating manner towards them.

At Thursday’s hearing Sheriff Cruickshank then referred to a ‘statement of uncontroversial facts’ which Irvine had presented to the court.

This had formally been challenged by procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie.

The court heard that Irvine’s statement was effectively designed to challenge the competency of proceedings, and that a “false court” was in operation.

Mackenzie, however, said what was in the statement was a repetition of what has been dealt with previously in court.

He said Irvine was alleging that he was effectively acting “corruptly”.

“There’s nothing novel in these tactics,” Mackenzie said. “They are adopted by so called sovereign citizens or free men of the land in virtually every Western jurisdiction.”

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However, the court heard that Irvine had entered a plea of not guilty on her first appearance in March.

Mackenzie said law states that objection to the process should be lodged before any plea is entered.

To put it colloquially, he said, “that boat has sailed”.

Speaking from the dock, however, Irvine questioned when Shetland and Orkney became part of Scotland and challenged the court’s jurisdiction.

Sheriff Cruickshank said Irvine’s statement of uncontroversial fact could be regarded as the quite the opposite.

He ruled that he would repeal Irvine’s application.

“That means that any fact related to the case would still need to be proved by you,” the sheriff said.

The case was continued to trial on 29 August, with Irvine released on bail in the meantime.

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