A SOLDIER who operated in the Special Forces has asked for a closed court when he next appears in the dock to answer charges of storing live ammunition at his home.
Paul Pattie is accused of possessing quantities of live rounds, drill rounds and marker rounds at his home in Musselburgh, East Lothian, last year.
Mr Pattie, 36, who was a member of the Special Forces based at Hereford, England, but has since been transferred to One Scots regiment, denies the charges and is now considering representing himself after his solicitor withdrew from acting on his behalf earlier this week.
The soldier told Haddington Sheriff Court: “The case that is going to go ahead is sensitive and if the public was to hear what I wanted to talk about it would affect national defence.
“A lot of the Special Forces [potential witnesses] would rather have a closed court.”
But Sheriff Michael Wood told him: “That has not been raised previously, but courts are extremely reluctant as justice has to be seen to be done, and it is in very limited circumstances that a court is closed.”
Pattie, who gave his address as Dreghorn Barracks, Edinburgh, is accused of possessing, without holding a firearm certificate, ammunition including quantities of live rounds, drill rounds, marker rounds and a 50 calibre round at a residential address in Musselburgh, East Lothian, 29 November last year.
Sheriff Wood told Mr Pattie he was facing a “serious” charge and any sentence if he was found guilty would “carry the risk of imprisonment”.
Sheriff Wood added: “You would be well advised to be [legally] represented and I will fix a date for your trial.
“I would encourage you to seek further help from the authorities in the Army, and to consider instructing another solicitor.”
Mr Pattie will return to court to face trial in December.