33-year-old man accused of “doing his best” to avoid court appearance

Jedburgh Sheriff Court.
Jedburgh Sheriff Court.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a 33-year-old man accused of “doing his best” to avoid appearing for trial at Jedburgh Sheriff Court.

James Harding was due to stand trial in relation to two fraud offences and a theft, but he asked for an adjournment through his lawyer due to mental health problems caused by the breakdown of his marriage although no medical vouching could be produced.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser

However, that submission was opposed by the crown.

It pointed out a warrant had been issued for the 33-year-old’s arrest after he failed to appear for a trial date in September.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser said in the past Harding had claimed he was unable to get away from work as he was calving and on another occasion said an abattoir he worked at would have to close down if he was not there.

The fiscal added: “Now he is saying he is unfit to appear in court. It appears he is doing his best to avoid coming to court.”

Harding, formerly of Selkirk but now living in Lowestoft in Suffolk, maintained his not-guilty plea in relation to two fraud offences and a theft.

He is alleged to have pretended to the owner of Armstrong’s Garage in Mansfield Road, Hawick, that he had permission to have four tyres, other parts and labour costs invoiced to the account of Hoscote Estate and obtained goods and services by fraud on August 1.

Harding is also charged with the theft of a fridge, cement mixer, two firearms cabinets and an extension hose from the estate, near Hawick, on September 29.

He is facing a third charge of obtaining goods to the value of £107 by fraud at a shop in Sandbed, Hawick, on December 24, by using a cheque he knew would not be honoured.

Sheriff Kevin Duffy refused the motion to adjourn the trial and granted a warrant for Harding’s arrest.