Trial of former councillor accused of racist texts pushed back again

© DC Thomson
Dundee Sheriff Court.

The trial against a former Dundee SNP councillor accused of sending racist text messages has been pushed into the new year.

Former convener of Dundee City Council’s neighbourhood services committee, Craig Melville, has been ordered to appear for trial at Dundee Sheriff Court in January.

Melville, who quit his post in 2016, is alleged to have sent threatening and abusive remarks regarding Muslims to a former party colleague following the Bataclan terrorist atrocity committed in Paris in November 2015.

The case, which called as a pre-trial at Dundee Sheriff Court on Tuesday, was adjourned because of difficulties obtaining phone records.

Melville, 36, was excused from Tuesday’s diet because he is currently in full time employment.

Defence solicitor Kym Samson said: “Mr Melville maintains his plea of not guilty.

“I make a motion to adjourn, as we are still waiting to receive a full phone report.”

Depute fiscal Marie Irvine made no opposition to adjourn the trial and said her office had only just received the records.

Sheriff John Rafferty noted the case had already taken some time to come to trial, with the case being continued without plea on June 16 and that two other pre-trial diets had now been held, the first on September 29.

The trial had originally been due to go ahead on Friday October 19, but will now be delayed again until January 10 2018, more than two years after the alleged offence is said to have taken place.

Melville, of Marlee Road, pleaded not guilty at an earlier date to one charge that between November 13 and 15 at his home address he behaved in a threatening and abusive manner likely to cause a reasonable person fear or alarm by sending a number of text messages to Nadia El-Nakla containing threatening, abusive and derogatory remarks regarding Muslims, aggravated by religious prejudice.

The Bataclan atrocities in Paris were a series of coordinated terrorist attacks which took place on Friday November 13 2015.

Gunmen clad in suicide vests killed 89 people at an Eagles of Death Metal concert in the Bataclan theatre and 130 people were killed in total following shootings at restaurants in the French capital.