Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Change for the better at the top of the Crown Office

[What follows is excerpted from a report just published on the website of The Herald:]

Scotland's new Lord Advocate has been named as senior lawyer James Wolffe.

The QC - currently dean of the historic Faculty of Advocates - will replace Frank Mulholland, who stood down at the Holyrood election to become a judge.

Mr Wolffe, one of the country's most respected legal thinkers, has been nominated by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon but still must be formally approved by parliament and the Queen.

He will be backed up as head of the Crown Office by a new solicitor general, Alison Di Rollo, currently a senior advocate depute pursuing rapists and one of the prosecutors who successfully convicted Marek Harcar, the murderer of businesswoman Moira Jones in a Glasgow park.

Ms Di Rollo replaces Lesley Thomson, who has told Ms Sturgeon "she wishes to pursue new challenges".

The two law officers complete Ms Sturgeon's cabinet and are, like the rest of her government, gender-balanced.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I am extremely pleased to recommend the appointments of James Wolffe and Alison Di Rollo as Scotland’s senior law officers.

“James has an outstanding legal background and extensive experience at all levels, including the House of Lords, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union.

“Alison led the work of the ground-breaking National Sexual Crimes Unit (NSCU) for three years, having previously held the role of deputy. Her outstanding leadership in this most sensitive of areas has inspired confidence in all connected to it.”

Mr Wolffe said: “I thank the First Minister for nominating me to the office of Lord Advocate. If I am appointed, it will be a great privilege to serve Scotland in that role.”

Ms Sturgeon thanked Mr Mulholland and Ms Thomson for their service. She said: "In his time as Lord Advocate, Frank has made a substantial contribution to both the law and to Scottish society.

[RB: I am delighted that the First Minister has departed from the recent practice of appointing a Lord Advocate from within the ranks of Crown Office civil servants. This was an experiment that was constitutionally inappropriate and contributed greatly to the low esteem in which the Crown Office has come to be held by the practising profession. It is, however, slightly disappointing that the new Solicitor General is someone who has been a Crown Office employee for over thirty years. 

It is to be hoped that one of the first priorities of the new Lord Advocate will be to consider all of the evidence now available about the Lockerbie case and the conviction of Abdelbaset Megrahi.]


  1. "It is to be hoped that one of the first priorities of the new Lord Advocate will be to consider all of the evidence now available about the Lockerbie case and the conviction of Abdelbaset Megrahi."

    There's a problem there as I have heard they quite some time ago changed the oath to be:
    “I do swear that I will well and truly serve our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth II and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or illwill, with the sole exception that I at all times will remain dedicated to suppress justice in the socalled Lockerbie case. So help me God.”

    Of course I could be misinformed, but really, what other possible reason could a man or woman have, to year after year stand out as a utter disgrace for his profession among those who have any reasonable insight in the matters around the conviction of Megrahi?

    I recall once reading in a novel that a landscape was so beautiful and colorful that a completely perfect photograph would have anyone saying "Fake!"

    So is the Lockerbie case. The trial was absurd enough. Adding the knowledge acquired since then should have any fresh viewer saying "This of course cannot be true".

    I still count 1 (one) occasion where the system did anything else than expected from it: the first SCCRC finding.

    If it really let James Wolffe in without taking the oath as given above it would be nothing short of a miracle.

  2. Well said SM. They dare not let the truth come out about Lockerbie. Collusion between 2 criminal countries to frame a man for a crime they knew he hadn't committed
    on behalf of Corporate Oil interests could well become a bestseller in the book world not to mention the compensation they would have to pay if they should ever be brought to account. Robert Black could well be the man to expose the truth here. He has the legal knowledge and the backing of some very good people (JFM) but will it be enough? I do hope so.