Tayside and Central Scotland

Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker in court over assault charges

Bill Walker MSP
Image caption Bill Walker is facing 24 charges of assault on four women

An MSP has appeared in court on 24 charges of assaulting women over a period of three decades.

Bill Walker, 71, appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court accused of physically assaulting four women between January 1967 and January 1995.

The former SNP politician, who sits for the Dunfermline constituency, did not enter a plea to the charges.

Sheriff Katherine Mackie continued the case to a procedural hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in June.

Mr Walker, from Alloa, was elected as an SNP MSP in 2011

He was expelled from the party in April, but has appealed against that decision.

Prosecutors allege that Mr Walker abused the women at addresses in Edinburgh, Stirling, Midlothian and Alloa.

Holiday cancelled

The women are named in court documents as Maureen Traquair, Anne Walker, Anne Louise Paterson and Diana Walker - their addresses were given as care of the police.

The court heard that Mr Walker, from Alloa, is trying to instruct a solicitor advocate called Gordon Martin to conduct his defence.

The court also heard that the Independent MSP is cancelling a holiday that he was intending to take in July so that he can appear in court during that time.

Sheriff Mackie also ordered that Mr Walker's trial be heard in July 2013.

It is expected to take Sheriff Mackie four days to hear the evidence.

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