A man appeared in court charged with sending messages to someone he believed to be 'a child', aged 14, then allegedly attempting to meet them outside the same building. 

A warrant was issued after David Hunter failed to appear to face allegations of indecent communication and attempting to meet someone he thought was a child. 

The 57-year-old had been arrested outside the same building on Wellington Square following a reported 'sting' involving members of the Ayrshire-based Team Shades 'paedophile hunting' group. 

Mr Hunter was told to arrange himself legal representation due to the nature of the charge when he appeared in court last week. 

A warrant was issued previously, after prosecutors told that the accused never told his doctor about legal proceedings when sending his former solicitor a 'work sick line'. 

It's alleged he attempted to send messages of a sexually explicit and indecent nature - also requesting images of her from his address in Minnoch Crescent, Maybole - between March 14 and March 28, 2022. 

The Crown's indictment alleges he believed he was talking to girl called Layla, aged 14, who was in fact an adult, sending the texts to obtain sexual gratification, or for humiliating, distressing or alarming - what he believed to be - a child who had attained 13 years, but not 16.

He faced a second charge of attempting to meet the same 'child' with the intention of engaging in unlawful sexual activity involving said person or in presence of said person, during or after the meeting. 

The Advertiser reported last year the accused was arrested and charged on March 30, 2022. 

When he was due to return to court for a pre-trial first diet hearing [Wednesday, August 9], Procurator Fiscal depute Craig Wainwright said: "The accused was being represented by 1st Legal, who are no longer acting.

"They emailed on August 4 that they had withdrawn due to funds and lack of any engagement. 

"He is not here today, I spoke to Mr [Tony] Currie yesterday who stated in a phonecall he [Hunter] said he was unwell and not fit to attend. 

"He provided a document, a doctors line for work. The letter stated he was suffering anxiety and depression. 

"They [the GP] advised this was in no way a Soul and Consience Letter [excusing him from legal proceedings on health grounds] and that his conditions did not prevent him attending court. 

"Interestingly the accused did not raise court proceedings with the doctor. The accused knows full well he should be in court today.

"Given the lack of engagement the Crown would be seeking a warrant." 

Sheriff Shirley Foran said: "We need to get him here given the nature of the charge."

The warrant was issued on 11.09am that morning. 

When he returned to Ayr Sheriff Court last Wednesday [October 4] Fiscal Depute Alasdair Millar stated the Crown was prepared for trial, while Mr Hunter was again appearing without a solicitor.

Sheriff Mhairi MacTaggart said: "You are going to have to get one, in this type of case you are not allowed to cross-examine witnesses. You are indicted on serious allegations. I will continue the diet.

"Do your upmost to secure alternative representation."

He will return to court to face the allegations at a further pre trial hearing at a later date, with his bail continued.

He previously appeared in private at Ayr Sheriff Court last year, after his arrest, on the allegations. 

He made no plea to either of the charges, and was committed for further examination and released on bail.