Falkirk MP denies missing court date

Mr Joyce said he was never scheduled to appear and the prosecutor had an old letter
Mr Joyce said he was never scheduled to appear and the prosecutor had an old letter

Falkirk politician Eric Joyce rubbished claims he was a court no show this week because he was on a walking holiday abroad.

The 52-year-old MP’s case had been listed to call at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today on allegations that he breached the peace and resisted arrest in May.

The incident is alleged to have happened at Edinburgh Airport.

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However, the former Army officer was not in attendance and the court heard Mr Joyce was out of the country.

It was explained that the independent MP had written a letter to explain the reasons behind his absence.

Depute procurator fiscal Calum Darling asked Sheriff Alistair Noble to continue the case without plea until a hearing later this month.

Mr Darling told the court: “He is presently out of Scotland on a walking holiday.

“He wishes to return to consult with a solicitor.”

But last night the MP told The Falkirk Herald he was never expecting to appear and the prosecutor read out a letter which related to a previous court date in August.

He said: “It seems he went to court with old paperwork relating to August 7. Reports I failed to appear are wrong.”

A Crown Office spokesman confirmed that yesterday was a continued pleading diet with no requirement for a personal appearance.

According to legal documents, Mr Joyce, of Stirling, faces three charges.

The first alleges that on Sunday, May 19, this year, at Edinburgh Airport, he shouted, swore and uttered offensive remarks.

The second alleges that, on the same date, during a journey between Edinburgh Airport and St Leonard’s Police Station in the city, he resisted, obstructed, hindered and struggled violently with two police constables.

The third alleges that on the same date, he was shouting, swearing, making offensive noises and uttering racial comments.

Mr Joyce has not yet entered a plea to the charges, but it is expected that he will do so at some point in the near future.

The case will next call on Thursday, September 26.