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Shetland: Sovereign campaigner told in court to be of good behaviour

Publication: Shetland News

A Shetland sovereignty campaigner has been ordered to pay Lerwick Sheriff Court a £500 security which will be held against her future good behaviour.

Lerwick Sheriff | Photo by Shetland News | | Licensed for use on Scottish Beacon | All rights reserved

Following a 90-minute trial on Tuesday morning, Sandra Irvine, of Boddam, was found guilty of an amended charge of shouting and swearing at two people on roads near her home on 28 November last year.

Defending herself in court on Tuesday, 60-year-old Irvine claimed that there was no proof that her land at Boddam was part of Scotland, and hence, the outdoor access code did not apply to this part of Shetland.

The case had come to court after Irvine appealed a police warning that she had previously accepted and signed.

Irvine has on numerous occasions questioned the jurisdiction of the court in Shetland, but Sheriff Ian Cruickshank told her in no uncertain terms that as far as his court was concerned, that particular argument was now closed.

A motion by Irvine to postpone the trial was refused by the court.

Giving evidence, two witnesses recalled how Irvine had challenged them to get off her land after arriving in her taxi at the scene between the Clumlie junction and Dalsetter Wynd in the south end of Shetland.

Both described the encounter as “unpleasant”, “pretty abusive,” and “making us feel uncomfortable”.

Police were called after Irvine parked her vehicle in a manner that blocked one of the witnesses’ cars.

A police constable told the court that Irvine had immediately been controversial and “difficult to have a conversation with”.

She said Irvine had claimed that under udal law, the two people had been trespassing on her land.

During cross-examination, Irvine stated that as a sovereign woman, she was exempt from statutory law.

She was then given the opportunity to give evidence herself, but she declined as “all has been said.”

Sheriff Cruickshank found her guilty of the charge as amended and noted that Irvine did not challenge any of the evidence presented to the court. He also noted that the court had seen no evidence that Irvine owned the land in question.

However, speaking in mitigation, Irvine said that she did not accept the Scottish outdoor access code [the Land Reform Act gives the public responsible access to most land and water]. He insisted that there is no access for the public to her land.

Irvine then went on to deny that she had a previous conviction for a similar offence, claiming that she had appealed a sentence passed by the same court in 2022.

However, it turned out that the £300 fine had been paid in full.

Sheriff Cruickshank described Irvine’s offending as being at the lowest end of what sheriff courts were asked to deal with.

He ordered her to make a £500 caution, which will be held for her to be of good behaviour and which she can apply to get back after a year.

The sheriff said he would not make any further comment on the case and would be leaving it “to the people of Shetland to make up their minds”.

Speaking outside court later, Irvine announced that she would be appealing the sentence as “no justice had been done”.

Asked if, by appealing to a Scottish court, she would de facto be accepting the jurisdiction of the Scottish legal system, she said that she had to abide by the law, whereas it was Lerwick Sheriff Court that did not.