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Court / Trial postponed again after weather affects flights

A TRIAL at Lerwick Sheriff Court was scuppered on Thursday due to weather disrupting a solicitor’s transport to Shetland – the fourth time it has been postponed as a result of travel related issues.

Dan Inkster, of the town’s Fort Road, was due to appear on a number of charges including assault which were alleged to have taken place in Lerwick in October 2022.

However, the court heard that the 37-year-old’s defence agent’s morning flight from south had to turn back to Aberdeen due to the windy weather in Shetland.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said the trial was similarly twice previously postponed due to weather affecting transport, and once due to industrial action.

But he said these issues can often be foreseen.

Although the NorthLink ferry service is currently running to a reduced dry docking schedule, and there are also impending weather cancellations, Mackenzie said: “It’s not a huge ask to look at a weather forecast a few days before.”

Defence agent Tommy Allan, who was representing Inkster on the day, suggested the solicitor may have been looking to economise proceedings, as it was a privately funded case, by avoiding a night’s stay in Shetland and taking cheaper flights.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said there was little the court could do other than to adjourn the case if there was no defence agent present.

He also suggested that visiting solicitors should think about travelling the day before a trial in the future rather on the morning it is due to call.

Inkster’s case was given a new trial date of 9 May, with an intermediate diet hearing set for April to allow the court to hear about the defence agent’s travel plans.

There was also another trial which did not happen on Thursday due to the same defence agent being unable to attend.

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