Tuesday, 7 October 2014

This dreadful case demolished confidence in justice system

On this date in 2010, three items were published on this blog that perhaps merit a second glance. The first item is headed Lord Advocate condemned as ‘disastrous’. Here are a few sentences:

The appointment of Elish Angiolini as Scotland’s Lord Advocate was “a disastrous experiment which should never be repeated”, according to one of the country’s leading QCs.

Robert Black, Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Edinburgh, condemned Ms Angiolini — who announced her resignation last week — as “a Crown Office staffer” (...)

The criticism from such a senior legal figure is the first open expression of a wider discontent within some sections of the legal establishment, which has simmered since the appointment four years ago of Ms Angiolini, the former Solicitor General and a former head of policy at the Crown Office.

“She had never in her working life spent a day outside the Crown Office, when the whole point of a Lord Advocate is that he or she is not a Crown Office creature,” Professor Black said.

“That’s why she was the wrong appointment: not because she was a solicitor, not because she was a woman — she would have been [an] ideal Crown Agent [the civil service head of the Crown Office], but she was entirely the wrong person be Lord Advocate.”

He added: “It is to be hoped that it will be recognised that the appointment of a Crown Office staffer as Lord Advocate was a disastrous experiment which should never be repeated.”

The second item is headed The Lockerbie Trial - Dr Jim Swire questions the guilty verdict and reproduced in part an article written for Newsnet Scotland. Here are a few sentences:

I remain at a loss as to why their Lordships failed to see the weaknesses of the prosecution’s case. As usual it is easy to criticise them in retrospect, but this seems to me an unfair and unproductive exercise. Let us just mark their CVs with the phrase ‘could have done better’.

I believe we cannot leave it there: to do so would be grossly unfair to Mr Megrahi and his family, and an intolerable burden on the memory of those who died. Mr Megrahi himself now seems to wrestle with guilt feelings over having withdrawn his appeal.

Beyond that however I also believe that the outcome has severely damaged the previous good reputation of our judicial system in Scotland. That I think should concern us all, for our citizens need to be able to believe that their judicial system will act independently of political or any other improper external pressure. Indeed justice should be, and be seen to be a faithful bulwark for the citizen even against his own government should he feel unfairly treated by it.

I believe the fall-out from this dreadful case has demolished many thinking Scottish people’s confidence in the objectivity of their justice system, and that only an independent review of this case and the evidence for and against the verdict can restore that.

The third item is headed Doyen of Nationalist lawyers speaks out and reproduced a statement by Ian Hamilton QC:

"I don't think there's a lawyer in Scotland who now believes Mr Megrahi was justly convicted. The Americans were out for vengeance. Anyone with a darker skin would do. With their barrowloads of money to buy witnesses, aided by our police and prosecution, they hoodwinked our courts."

1 comment:

  1. AND she went on to make an arse of the Hollie Greig case tae