POLITICS
04/09/2013 18:18 BST | Updated 04/11/2013 05:12 GMT

Eric Joyce Trial Delayed As Falkirk MP Is On Holiday

PA
MP Eric Joyce did not appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Wednesday

A criminal case against Falkirk MP Eric Joyce has been delayed until later this month to allow him to return from holiday, a court heard on Wednesday. Joyce, 52, faces two charges of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner and a third charge of resisting police at Edinburgh Airport earlier this year.

The former Army major was not present when his case was called at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Wednesday. Fiscal depute Calum Darling told the court: "I have here a letter from the accused in which he indicates that he is presently out of Scotland on a walking holiday and he indicates that he wishes to return and consult with his solicitor in person."

But Joyce later claimed on his website the letter was actually a month old and was written in relation to an earlier date. Sheriff Alistair Noble continued the case without plea until September 26. Joyce is ordained to appear in court on that date.

He is accused of threatening or abusive behaviour at Edinburgh Airport on May 19. He repeatedly shouted, swore and made offensive remarks, it is alleged.

Joyce is also charged with resisting constables Alan Hazelwood and John Miller at the airport and on the way to the city's St Leonard's police office. The MP, from Stirling, is said to have struggled violently and tried to kick the officers.

A third charge of threatening or abusive behaviour alleges that he shouted, swore, made offensive remarks and noises and uttered racial remarks at both the airport and police station. The independent Falkirk MP is stepping down from his role in 2015.

A statement on Joyce's website posted following the court hearing read: "In fact, the fiscal depute clearly mixed up his paperwork and erroneously read out a month-old letter which related to a previous date, 7 August. "Of course I made no such request in relation to today."

A spokesman for the Crown Office said: "We will look into the point that Mr Joyce has raised and deal with it before the case next calls in court."