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Last Updated: Friday, 14 March 2008, 12:30 GMT
Soldier denies 1994 Orkney murder
Shamsudden Mahmood
Mr Mahmood's murder sparked a major investigation
A soldier has denied murdering a waiter in an Indian restaurant on Orkney almost 14 years ago.

Michael Ross, 29, of Inverness, is accused of entering the building in Kirkwall with his face masked and shooting Shamsuddin Mahmood, 26.

Defence counsel for Ross, who was 15-years-old at the time of the alleged murder in 1994, lodged a plea of not guilty at the High Court in Glasgow.

A five-week trial is expected to start in May.

Ross also faces other charges for offences alleged to have happened at the time of and before Mr Mahmood's murder on 2 June 1994.

He is accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by changing his clothing and disposing of the weapon.

Serving soldier

He is also charged with, while acting with others whose identities are unknown, committing a breach of the peace outside the Indian restaurant by shouting, swearing, uttering threats of violence and racist abuse.

Ross was further accused of crouching behind a wall and trees and committing a breach of the peace.

His defence counsel Donald Findlay QC lodged a plea of not guilty to all the charges Ross faces.

He told judge Lord Hardie: "The man I represent is a serving soldier."

The murder of Mr Mahmood, originally from Bangladesh, was the first to happen in Orkney for 25 years and sparked one of the Northern Constabulary's biggest ever investigations.

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