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Court / Trial postponed due to lack of accommodation

Lerwick Sheriff Court.

A JURY trial due to take place in Lerwick later this month has had to be postponed because of a lack of accommodation for the accused and a defence agent.

Steven Hazel, 40, of Fallin, and Craig Donaldson, 40, of Glasgow, were due go on trial on 25 September, which is during the popular Shetland Wool Week festivities.

They are facing charges including assault to severe injury and behaving in a threatening or abusive manner, with the offences alleged to have taken place in March last year.

The accommodation issues were discussed when the case called at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Another hearing was then held on Thursday morning where the trial was ultimately postponed to 20 November.

There is also an order currently in place for new jury trials in Scottish islands having to take place on the mainland due to staffing challenges with prisoner escort provider GEOAmey.

However, in this instance the postponed trial is due to still take place in Lerwick.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said if the trial had to be moved to Aberdeen then it could have incurred a delay of around eight months.

The Sheriff said he hoped the situation around jury trials would resolve itself as “soon as practicably possible”.

Sheriff Cruickshank said island groups should not just “expect” jury trials to be held locally – but said they are “entitled” to them.

ANOTHER trial scheduled to take place at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday was postponed after the accused’s defence agent was unable to make it to Shetland after their flight was cancelled due to fog.

Dan Inkster, of Lerwick’s Lyndhurst Place, had been due to appear on a number of charges including assault. The 36-year-old’s trial has been postponed to 21 December.

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