Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Mistakes by Scottish legal system should be exposed

[The following is an excerpt from a letter by William Forbes in today's edition of The Herald:]

Once a case from any jurisdiction reaches the Supreme Court they are all treated the same – there are no “additional” powers and all have to satisfy the test that there is a case to answer, in accordance with rules and statutes. If anything, greater care is exercised with Scottish cases to ensure the sovereignty of the Scottish courts. What appears to upset Alex Salmond and his supporters is that Scots appear to have better access to the Supreme Court than fellow UK citizens, but arguably this is illusionary. The idea that the Scottish legal system can be improved by further restricting access to justice is flawed and can only suit who would have our mistakes kept quiet. Whether mistakes are made in Camp Zeist, London or Edinburgh it is of the utmost importance that they are exposed and our system is improved as a result.

Justice without fairness is the justice of the lynch mob. (...)

There is a great need to consider how the Scottish legal system copes with the notion of basic human rights. The opposing attitude of who cares if there has been a mistake, as long as it was a “Scoattish wan” does little to advance hope that the law in Scotland will mature.

[The Scottish Government has a golden opportunity to show that it is just as serious about investigating, rectifying and learning lessons from possible mistakes by the Scottish criminal justice system as it is about "protecting Scots law's independence" from a predatory Supreme Court. It should immediately announce the establishment of an independent inquiry into the conviction of Abdelbaset Megrahi. Until that happens, the Scottish Government can with justice be accused of being more concerned with political posturing than with securing the rights of those who have been ill-served by Scotland's criminal justice system.

The above comment has been picked up in a news item on the website of Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm.]


  1. The problem with the "supporters" of Alex Salmond is that even while he was behaving absurdly they have screamed their backing without even thinking about what he was saying. That isn't good, especially when you're talking about a fair justice system.


    *After opening of the Scottish Criminal Cases Reappeal Commission files:

    Now: Great Britain's 'News of the World' Phone Hacking Scandal !
    * Next one: Great Britain's & Scotland's - 'Lockerbie Evidence and Justice-Media Scandal' against Libya --- much larger political earthquake...

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd, Telecommunication Switzerland. URL:

  3. A festering sore of a scandal: The Scots legal establishment needs to or must be forced to reform itself (if needs be, by an international commission of jurists under the auspices of the UN/ECHR.

    This bantustan-colonial/provincial mentality needs surgically excised and an appropriate place to kick start this process of fundamental reform and updating of first principles might be a ruthlessly open enquiry into Mr Meghrahi's conviction: A Truth and Justice Commission of our own cross-fertilised in its composition by judges, prosecutors and ethics specialists drawn from Scotland and the international stage and all independent of vested, political interests.

    This dripping pustule pre-dates even the legal-political establishment's fitting-up and legalistic destruction of Fletcher of Saltoun and requires lanced now from the base of its pyramid unto its apex (with its associated law enforcement apparatuses put, dragging and screaming if necessary, under the spotlight of international, best practice).

    This current state of affairs has gone far beyond appalling - and one might wonder, bordering on criminal?

    The private bar's present performance seems to add credence to the whole, rotten, exhausted tour de force of the system as it lingers spasmodically spasming at death's door.

  4. Someone I know who isn't that interested in the Lockerbie case said that as far as he could see it was the biggest fit-up job since the trial of James of the Glen.

    I think he had a point.