Four high-profile QCs, including the former Lord Advocate Colin Boyd and Tommy Sheridan's former defence counsel, Maggie Scott, are about to become high court judges.
Mr Boyd, now Lord Boyd, who led the prosecution of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, was recently criticised by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission for failing to disclose crucial information to Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi's defence. He rejected the claim. [RB: An account of Colin Boyd QC's conduct at one stage of the Lockerbie trial can be read here.]
Ms Scott, who was sacked by Mr Sheridan during his perjury trial in 2010, and led Megrahi's recent appeal case and the defence in many high-profile cases, including Ice Cream War murderer Thomas "TC" Campbell and more recently Nat Fraser, as well as Luke Mitchell, who was convicted of murdering teenager Jodi Jones in January 2005.
The Herald understands Michael Jones and David Burns have also been recommended for the appointments.
A source close to the process said: "Colin Boyd and Maggie Scott are two of the people the Judicial Appointments Board has recommended to the First Minister. It would be highly unusual for ministers to reject such a recommendation. Their appointments are expected to be confirmed shortly."
Lord Boyd resigned as Lord Advocate in 2006. His decision was seen as unusual and triggered speculation he was concerned about the inquiry into the Shirley McKie case, in which a police officer was wrongly accused of leaving a fingerprint at a murder scene and lying about it.
Another potential reason raised was the imminent decision on whether the Lockerbie case would be referred back for a fresh appeal.
Lord Boyd denied he was leaving because of the McKie fingerprint investigation or any other case and said it was simply "time to move on".
Jim Swire, whose daughter died in the Lockerbie bombing, said: "I understand the limited personnel and resources of the Scottish criminal justice system but I am surprised that Colin Boyd would have been put forward as a potential judge.
"In support of his colleagues on the prosecution team, it seemed to me that Boyd made a statement to the court [at Zeist] which was later shown by the revelations in the CIA cables to be untrue. It was over a matter of extreme importance because it concerned the credibility of the prosecution's star witness." (…)
Maggie Scott has described herself as "relatively rebellious". Following her sacking by Sheridan in 2010, the former MSP represented himself and was convicted of perjury in his defamation action against the News of the World in 2006.
Mr Jones, QC, acted for the News of the World in the Sheridan case and the owners of the Rosepark care home in South Lanarkshire after 14 residents died in a fire. Mr Burns recently acted for Craig Roy, who was convicted of murdering Jack Frew. [RB: David Burns QC was second senior counsel for Abdelbaset Megrahi at the Zeist trial and at the first appeal.]
Maggie Scott, QC, said last night that she could not comment. Lord Boyd could not be contacted.
[Two other members of the prosecution team, Alastair Campbell QC and Alan Turnbull QC have already become High Court judges. The principal procurator fiscal at the trial, Norman McFadyen, has become a sheriff. A commentary by Lucy Adams in the same newspaper headlined Judges are no strangers to controversy focuses particularly on Colin Boyd’s controversial role in the Lockerbie trial.]