A CROWN prosecutor has lamented an 'unbelievable' delay that has held up the case of a man facing blade attack and class A drug charges for nearly three years.

Paul Harper is accused of knifing a man on the body to his severe injury at Greenock's Rook Road on March 19, 2021.

The indictment charge claims that 47-year-old Harper committed the alleged serious assault 'having previously evinced malice and ill-will' towards the other man.

Harper is also said to have been in possession of cocaine at Greenock police office the day after the first reported incident.

It is further claimed that he failed to appear at a court hearing on December 6, 2022 without reasonable excuse.

The court was told that prosecutors ordered that a VIPER (video identification parade electronic recording) procedure to be carried out 17 months ago and that this had still not been done in order to allow the prosecution to proceed.

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Harper, whose address is listed in court papers as the Inverclyde Centre, pleaded not guilty through solicitor Aidan Gallagher at a calling of the indictment case at Greenock Sheriff Court last week.

Procurator fiscal depute Kirstin Brierley told Greenock Sheriff Court: "It is unbelievable that despite the passage of time the Crown is still awaiting a VIPER [video identification parade].

"This was instructed in September 2022.

"I appreciate we are clogging the court up with continued first diets."

Sheriff James Spy continued the case to a further preliminary hearing scheduled for February 27 for the Crown to deal with the outstanding VIPER issue.

The sheriff continued Harper's bail meantime.