Man accused of sending threatening messages to Nicola Sturgeon to stand trial

William Curtis, and another man with whom he is also accused of abducting a sheriff, both previously said they do not want legal representation

Published

A man accused of sending threatening messages to Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and of abducting a sheriff is to stand trial in the New Year.

William Curtis, and another man with whom he is accused of the incident involving the sheriff, both previously said they do not want legal representation.

The 69-year-old told the court he would “always be legally advised” when asked by Lord Weir if he had appointed a solicitor, who said he would take that as he had not.

“You take that wrong,” Curtis replied, and told the judge that the constitution meant he had a “right to defend myself”.

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon
High Court, Inverness
High Court, Inverness

During the hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh on Tuesday, Phillip Michell, 60, the other accused man, read from handwritten notes for about eight minutes before he was stopped from continuing.

Lord Weir said he was not satisfied he had appointed a solicitor and appointed Gillian Simpson to the case, the 16-minute hearing was told.

He fixed the trial date for January 9 at the High Court in Inverness.

Curtis is accused of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner which was “likely to cause a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm” by sending emails and posting messages on social media in which he made threatening remarks towards Scotland’s First Minister on various occasions between February 27 and March 6 2019.

He is further accused of allegedly sending or causing a message to be sent through social media on March 9, 2019 to Stewart Stevenson MSP which threatened him and contained a link to a video relating to the murder of the MP Jo Cox.

And Curtis also faces two other charges of posting messages of a “threatening and abusive nature” on social media in October 2020 and June 2021.

Curtis and Mitchell are accused of assaulting and abducting a sheriff in a car park in Banff, Aberdeenshire, on June 29 2021.

It is alleged they seized Robert McDonald, sheriff of Grampian, Highlands and Islands, at Banff, pulled him to the ground, sat on top of him and detained him there against his will.

All the alleged offences happened in Aberdeenshire.

Curtis has pleaded not guilty to the charges while Mitchell has not yet entered a plea.