A rape-accused Highland man who allegedly failed to appear for trial after travelling to America failed in a bail bid today.
Kim Avis, 56, from Inverness, who appeared at the High Court in Glasgow via a videolink from prison where he is on remand, was refused bail by judge Lady Stacey.
His counsel Lorenzo Alonzi argued that Avis should not be kept on remand during the coronavirus pandemic when there is no indication of when a trial can be fixed.
Mr Alonzi said: “He has already been on remand for almost a year and since March has spent 22 and a half hours each day locked in his cell.”
Referring to the alleged failure to appear for trial at the High Court in Edinburgh on March 11, 2019, Mr Alonzi said: “It was always his intention to appear for court.
“He travelled to the States for a holiday and was involved in a distressing incident.
“He went for a swim and was swept out on the current and had great difficulty getting back to shore.
“He was swept away quite a distance.”
Advocate depute Owen Mullan opposed bail and said: “He is accused of very serious matters.”
Avis was reported missing in the US on February 27 last year after he went for a swim but was later traced.
Lady Stacey told Avis: “I’m not prepared to grant bail.
“During this pandemic lots of people are in custody for longer.”
Avis faces 25 charges relating to offences alleged to have taken place between January 1997 and March last year, mainly at addresses in Inverness.
The accusations include claims he raped three women.
He is also alleged to have attempted to rape one of them when she was 12.
Avis is further charged with sexually assaulting a girl when she was 11.
Prosecutors also claim he failed to appear at court “without reasonable excuse”.
Avis denies all the charges against him.