Sunday, 17 May 2015

The disgrace that is Lockerbie

[What follows is the text of a letter from Iain McKie published in today’s edition of the Sunday Herald:]

Paul Hutcheon's article highlights my belief that judges have an inappropriate power and influence in relation to how the legal system operates that can be a barrier to receiving justice in Scotland (First Minister rejects call for register of judges' interests, News, May 10).

Similar issues arise with the Lord Advocate, who remains a power almost without limits.

I see the First Minister's decision not to support a register of judges' interests as philosophically and constitutionally wrong. This political reticence to become involved in judicial matters harks back to the dim and distant past when properly the independence of the judiciary and Lord Advocate had to be protected from political interference.

Unfortunately this has morphed into a complete failure by our elected representatives to hold these authorities to account. With few exceptions they have washed their hands of their duty to ensure that the exercise of power is fair and proportionate.

Perhaps all of this is embodied in the disgrace that is Lockerbie where for over 26 years a whole system has sat on its hands and failed to help right a massive wrong. In essence the promise and hopes inherent in the SNP's clean sweep in Scotland is that things will be different. This stands for justice as well as the economy and it is to be hoped that our politicians are listening at last and can be educated and persuaded in this regard.

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