A Brighton OAP is to face trial for allegedly harassing a woman after becoming convinced she was working for MI5 or the city council.
Roy Morter, 74, denies the one charge of harassment without violence over 18 months in relation to Ellen Riddell.
He was due to stand trial yesterday, but the hearing was postponed after he sacked his lawyer, saying he wanted to represent himself.
However, after hearing that Ms Riddell is to give evidence behind a screen, the court appointed a new solicitor to defend him and ask questions of her on his behalf.
Prosecuting, Dominic Dudkowski said: “This case concerns an allegation of harassment over a period of 18 months in relation to a completely random member of the public.
“He met her on one occasion when he walked past her on the street and since then the allegation is that he follows her onto buses and has spat in her direction.
“She has been caused considerable distress and some fear by the frankly irrational behaviour of the defendant. Her son was with her on more than one occasion when she encountered him in the street.”
The court also heard that when Morter was arrested in February, he told the police he was being targeted by the state and that he thought Ms Riddell worked for MI5, Brighton and Hove City Council or the police.
When Morter was charged, he was living at flats in Upper Hollingdean Road, but has since been sectioned and is now resident at Mill View Hospital.
Speaking at yesterday’s hearing, he said that he had last been at Mill View five years ago, but after being discharged had slowly weaned himself off his meds as he believed there is nothing wrong with him.
He said: “I have suffered a lot of harassment by the police and local authorities. I’m not criminally minded but I’m a person that stands up for myself.”
The trial was rescheduled to June 17 in front of a district judge at Brighton Magistrates Court.