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History-making trial for Highland justice centre

By Andrew Dixon

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Inverness Justice Centre passed a new milestone yesterday with its first trial to have witnesses and accused present in the flesh.

Since lockdown began at the end of March, only essential staff, solicitors and press have been allowed into the £32 million building due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Some hearings have been conducted via video link using the internet and previous scheduled trials did not go ahead due to the absence either of witnesses or accused.

But history was made when 37-year-old Alan Ewing, of Craigard Terrace, Inverness stood in the dock of court three and denied charges of threatening behaviour and vandalism.

Sheriff Margaret Neilson was on the bench, Rowena Carlton was the fiscal depute and Neil Wilson defending.

There were two witnesses, Ewing's former partner Claire MacBean (40) and her 65-year-old father John.

They told how Ewing arrived drunk at their home in Planefield Road, Inverness on May 15.

He was banging on and kicking the glass door, dislodging a letter box, threatening Mr MacBean.

After a short trial, Ewing was found guilty. He admitted previous convictions, some of a domestic nature, but Sheriff Neilson was told his last court appearance was in 2018.

He was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid community work.

Related: Scotland's first purpose-built justice centre opens

Three new courts in operation for first time

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