Thursday, 26 February 2015

Lockerbie Air Disaster Group lawyer suspended as part-time sheriff

[What follows is taken from an article in today’s edition of The Wall Street Journal:]

Scottish legal authorities have suspended a part-time judge with a former connection to collapsed hedge fund Heather Capital.

Sheriff Peter Watson was suspended from office at the start of last week, according to a statement on the Judicial Office for Scotland’s website. (...)

Mr Watson offered not to sit as a judge on a voluntary basis, according to the statement. However, having read the summons, the Lord President, Lord Gill, concluded that in the circumstances a voluntary de-rostering wasn’t appropriate and that suspension was necessary to maintain public confidence in the judiciary.

A spokesperson for Mr Watson referred to comments he gave to a Scottish newspaper, in which he said that he welcomed the suspension and said it is “not appropriate” for him to sit as a sheriff while civil litigation is ongoing.

Mr Watson is one of Scotland’s most high-profile lawyers and has been involved in some of the country’s best-known legal issues. According to the website of his firm PBW Law, he represented the families of 16 pupils in the massacre at Dunblane primary school in 1996 and played a key role in the Lockerbie Air Disaster Group, following the bombing of a Pan Am flight from London to New York in 1988.

[RB: The Lord President, Lord Gill, as Mr Brian Gill QC, represented the bereaved relatives who were members of the Lockerbie Air Disaster Group at the Fatal Accident Inquiry into the Lockerbie disaster held in Dumfries in 1990/1991.]

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