A prolonged legal dispute surrounding the poisoning of a herd of cattle with sewage is set to return to Scotland’s highest court next week for what effectively amounts to a 'best of three' ruling.

The case, initiated by Iain Scott of Stoneyfield Farm near Stornoway against Scottish Water, traces back to 2009.

After a staggering 12-year wait, Mr. Scott was granted £272,000 in damages by Sheriff David Sutherland at Stornoway Sheriff Court, a decision tarnished by what the Sheriff Principal termed as “unconscionable delay”.

Scottish Water challenged the ruling, leading to the Sheriff's Appeal Court overturning Sheriff Sutherland’s decision, referring to his failure to adequately address legal questions and explain factual findings.

However, the appeal ruling mainly criticised routine flaws rather than delving into the case's evidence. In a rare development, the Court of Session later granted Mr Scott permission to influence the Sheriff's Appeal Court’s decision, citing potential legal errors and overlooking of crucial evidence.

Lady Wade, the overseeing judge, emphasised the significance of the case's circumstances and the potential for success in Mr. Scott's appeal. She highlighted the failure of the Sheriff's Appeal Court to fully consider the consequences of the cattle poisoning, raising doubts about their decision-making process.

With the appeal scheduled to commence on Thursday, the legal saga originated when Mr. Scott discovered his cattle falling ill without explanation, leading him to point the cause to sewage discharges into a field drain by Scottish Water.

Subsequent veterinary and scientific consultations supported his claims, culminating in the initial damages award of £272,711.28 in December 2021.