A leading legal prosecutor has appeared in the dock to deny a social media race row charge.
David Wilkie-Thorburn, who is an assistant procurator fiscal for Grampian Highlands and Islands for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), is charged with sending a Facebook message to a woman which was “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”.
It is alleged the 51-year-old lawyer messaged the woman in the early hours of April 7 in the context of an employment dispute between her and Wilkie-Thorburn’s husband.
Wilkie-Thorburn is alleged to have told her he was the “head of prosecution in Grampian” and that he was responsible for making prosecution decisions on HMRC, serious fraud and immigration cases.
And it is further alleged he told the woman he was responsible for making recommendations on deportation matters, leaving her in a state of fear and alarm that she was at risk of being deported.
The charge also carries a racial aggravation.
Wilkie-Thorburn denies the accusation against him, which is alleged to have taken place at an address on Willowgate Close, Aberdeen, or elsewhere.
A COPFS spokesman said: “We do not comment on individual staffing matters.”
It is understood Wilkie-Thorburn has withdrawn from his day-to-day decision-making duties within the COPFS but is not suspended.
Yesterday he remained silent as he appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court wearing a dark blue suit with a light-coloured shirt and red tie.
Defence agent Gregor Kelly entered the not guilty plea on his client’s behalf.
Wilkie-Thorburn, whose address was given in court papers as Harcourt Road in Aberdeen, was released on bail.
Sheriff Ian Anderson imposed special bail conditions preventing him from approaching or contacting the complainer, her husband and two potential witnesses.
He is due to appear again for a pre-trial hearing in October.
Mr Kelly had argued Wilkie-Thorburn had no previous convictions and that special bail conditions were unnecessary.
He said: “His husband does have a shop premises close to where the complainer also has a place of work – he’s concerned inadvertently there may be some contact.”
Mr Kelly added: “It’s one alleged message. It’s not a course of conduct.”