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Ex-Scottish laird who was jailed for twice plotting to murder woman is ordered to stay away from her

Malcolm Potier (pictured at a previous hearing) was described by a judge as 'a serious danger to women' after he tried to overturn a court order banning him from contacting a woman he plotted to kill

Malcolm Potier (pictured at a previous hearing) was described by a judge as 'a serious danger to women' after he tried to overturn a court order banning him from contacting a woman he plotted to kill

Malcolm Potier (pictured at a previous hearing) was described by a judge as ‘a serious danger to women’ after he tried to overturn a court order banning him from contacting a woman he plotted to kill

A former Scottish laird who was jailed for twice plotting to murder a woman has been told he must stay away from his intended victim who is now in worldwide witness protection. 

Malcolm Potier, 69, was jailed for six years in Australia in 2002 for soliciting a hitman to murder the woman who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Potier paid a fellow detention centre inmate £4,600 to kill his intended victim and her boyfriend, but would-be assassin Alessandro Basso fled to his native Italy with the money.

Potier’s sentence was extended by 12 years in 2006 when he plotted against her life for a second time while in prison in Long Bay, New South Wales

The former multi-millionaire, who acquired the title of baron when he bought the Hebridean island of Gigha in 1989, is forbidden from contacting the woman and her family.

Potier was made the subject of a Violent Offender Order brought by the Metropolitan Police after he landed at Heathrow following his release from jail in December 2015.  

The order states that the woman is now in a worldwide witness protection scheme after Potier’s conviction for incitement to murder in Australia. 

Describing him as a ‘serious danger to women’, a judge renewed the court order and ruled that Potier must not contact his victim or her family for at least another five years, when the order will be reviewed again. 

Representing himself at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today wearing a black suit, Potier insisted the victims have ‘lied’ in his latest challenge.

The order, brought under section 100 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, states that Potier’s ‘persistent and obsessive behaviour, with regards to establishing contact… has left all concerned suffering from severe anxiety and being in constant and grave fear for their safety.’

An interim order preventing Potier from making contact with the victim and her family was imposed on the day he landed in the UK.

The former multi-millionaire, who acquired the title of baron when he bought the Hebridean island of Gigha (pictured) in 1989, is forbidden from contacting the woman and her family

The former multi-millionaire, who acquired the title of baron when he bought the Hebridean island of Gigha (pictured) in 1989, is forbidden from contacting the woman and her family

The former multi-millionaire, who acquired the title of baron when he bought the Hebridean island of Gigha (pictured) in 1989, is forbidden from contacting the woman and her family

Potier, originally from Sevenoaks, Kent, was first arrested in Sydney in early 2000 after immigration authorities found he had entered Australia on a false passport. 

The former baron was sent to a detention centre where he met the would-be assassin and solicited him to murder the victim.

Potier, who continues to maintain his innocence, now claims the victims have made ‘false’ statements to the police to keep the violent offender order in place.

He told District Judge Michael Snow today: ‘They have lied, they have a strong motive to lie.

‘Not in any way shape or form do I represent any danger to those persons and there is significant evidence and the most telling evidence… this when I cross-examined the police officer about the incidents complained of by the persons.

What is a violent offender order? 

Violent offender orders were introduced by the Government in 2009.

The aim was to empower courts to manage violent offenders even after they have been released from prison.

They are classed as ‘civil preventative orders’ which can be obtained from the courts on application by a chief officer of police.

If granted, they will contain restrictions, prohibitions or conditions that will be imposed on the offender.

These restrictions must be viewed by the court as necessary for public protection.

Restrictions include banning the offender from a specific address, from contacting certain people or attending a specific event. 

They can last up to five years unless renewed or discharged.

Breaching the terms of a VOO, or failure to comply with the notification requirements of a VOO, constitutes a criminal offence punishable by 5 years imprisonment. 

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‘Allegations involving a shotgun and knives.

‘She said she was concerned about strange cars being parked outside, there is not evidence to support it other than what she said.

‘It is fiction, they should not receive protection for what is demonstrably lies.

‘There isn’t anything.’

Potier blamed the police for bringing the order forward and told the court the victim statements were ‘forged.’

He claimed: ‘If there had been these terrible things which are said to have happened, there would be records, there are none.

‘There is evidence of forgery, in some of their statements. If you compare handwriting you will see that they are dramatically different.’ 

The judge told Potier the order would remain in place after hearing about his ‘disturbing’ behaviour.

Judge Snow said: ‘This is a necessary renewal, it is proportionate to the very risk which has been identified.

‘What leaps out of the pages of this case, is how frankly disturbing this case actually is.

‘The behaviour in Australia wasn’t in isolation – it includes extreme violence including firearms.

‘Subsequent to the order there was a series of attempts by Mr Potier to overturn it, again demonstrating obsessive behaviour on his behalf.

‘He is someone who has not confronted his past behaviour and the risk that he poses.

‘And my concerns have deepened during this specific hearing, first his attempts to force victims to come to court to give evidence against him.

‘The second factor is the revelation by Mr Potier that he has searched for (the victims) in the last three years whilst being subject to two orders imposed against him, a violent offender order and non-molestation order.’

The judge granted the renewal of the violent offender order adding that Potier ‘presents a serious danger to women.’

The order will remain in place for five years before a new application to renew the order is brought to the court.

Judge Snow renewed the Met's Violent Offender Order for a further five years during a hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court today, describing Potier as 'a serious danger to women'

Judge Snow renewed the Met's Violent Offender Order for a further five years during a hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court today, describing Potier as 'a serious danger to women'

Judge Snow renewed the Met’s Violent Offender Order for a further five years during a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today, describing Potier as ‘a serious danger to women’

Potier earlier told the court the victims told a ‘litany of lies’ and claimed they should be ordered to court to give evidence.

He said the woman was also happy to live a public life with a ‘wide internet presence’ despite claiming to be in fear of her life.

He said: ‘She has a wide internet presence and she has posted pictures under her new name.

‘People under witness protection are happy to live public lives.’

Judge Snow asked: ‘How do you know that? When did you make these searches?’

Potier replied: ‘A couple of years ago.’

Robert Cohen, on behalf of the applicants, said Potter’s claims were ‘startling and appalling’.

Mr Cohen added: ‘There are very good reasons why these witnesses should not come to court.

‘There is clear evidence that they remain in a state of absolute fear of Mr Potier.’

The former property magnate, who beat Mick Jagger to purchase Gigha for £5.4million in 1989, also owned landmark buildings in Glasgow.

He was declared bankrupt in 1994 and the island was repossessed by a Swiss bank.

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