MARION Millar, the Scottish feminist charged with a hate crime, has made no plea in her first court appearance, as the case was continued to consider human rights issues.

The 50-year-old accountant from Airdrie appeared for a preliminary bail hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court this morning, where she was met by a crowd of vocal supporters.

She arrived alongside her lawyers, the SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC and junior counsel Paul Harvey, who have been instructed by solicitors Beltrami & Co.

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Ms Millar had been accused of posting allegedly homophobic and transphobic material on social media, including a tweet showing a ribbon in suffragette colours.

The complaint alleges she directed threatening or abusive behavour at three people, including a police officer, via social media between October and June, contrary to Section 38(1) of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010.

It is claimed she posted a photograph on social media of a sign where a named Scots actor was working at the time.

The charge also alleges Ms Millar wrote personal and false information relating to a female police constable on social media.

The complaint said the conduct was aggravated by prejudice relating to sexual orientation and transgender identity.

In court, Ms Cherry said: "I would like to go ahead to continue without a plea due to three reasons.

"The first is practical. Miss Millar only saw the complaint, with charges from the Crown, 10 minutes prior (to this hearing)."

"The second is that the communication charges are not compatible with guidelines, so it's not appropriate to plead with.

"The third is it raised serious questions about Miss Millar's European human rights."

She asked for a date to be set for a further hearing.

Prosecutor Lesley Chambers said: "I have no objection to this."

Sheriff Shona McKie set a further hearing for October. Miss Millar was granted bail.

After her appearance, one of Ms Millar’s supporters read out a statement on her behalf.

It said: “Today Marion Millar attended court and for the first time received a copy of the Crown's complaint setting out the charges against her.

"She was represented by Joanna Cherry QC and Paul Harvey advocate instructed by Beltrami & Co solicitors.

"She made no plea and the case was continued for a hearing on 4th of October, so that the court can consider a number of preliminary legal issues, including the compatibility of this prosecution with Ms Millar’s human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

“Since this case is sub judice, Marion Millar will not be making any statements at this time.”

Ms Millar later tweeted she was "overwhelmed" by the support, adding: "I am struggling with today's outcome and will need a little time to come to terms."

Earlier, Ms Millar was cheered by scores of women chanting “Women won’t wheest” and “I stand with Marion Millar” gathered outside the court ahead of the hearing.

Many wore clothes and waved flags in the purple, white and green of the suffragette movement, while the hashtag #IStandWithMarionMillar briefly trended on Twitter.

The TV comedy writer Graham Linehan, one of Ms Millar's most prominent supporters, was also at the demonstration.

A supporter of sex-based rights for women who opposes transgender self-identification, Ms Millar is seen by her critics as a trans-exclusionary radical feminist, or Terf.

The crowd outside court also chanted the definition of woman as “adult human female”.

Ms Millar’s case has already attracted international attention on free speech grounds.

She has received messages of support from Canada, Spain, Italy, France, Finland and Japan, as well from all parts of the UK.

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One women-only group in America’s Washington state sent a video message of themselves chanting Ms Millar’s online rallying cry “Women Won’t Wheesht”.

The For Women Scotland group, which also supports Ms Millar, plans a demo outside Holyrood on Thursday against plans to reform gender recognition law to make it quicker and simpler for people to obtain a gender recognition certificate. 

Ms Millar’s case has already attracted international attention on free speech grounds.

The American legal analyst Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Chair of Public interest Law at George Washington University, calls it part of a “free speech fight brewing in Scotland”.

Gender-critical feminists such as Ms Millar disagree with those LGBT activists who think gender identity should be prioritised over biological sex in government policy and the law.

The former fear the advance of transgender rights is at the expense of hard-won women’s rights, while the latter see the focus on biological sex as transphobic.