The article in Scotland on Sunday by peter Laing, had struck a chord with many people who had been ripped off by lawyers in Scotland ..... and the BBC had of course, picked up on that for the Garry Robertson Show on BBC Radio Scotland .... it was a good theme for a show .. and there was a lot of publicity at the time about how crooked the Scottish legal profession had become, thanks to the efforts of myself, Stewart Mackenzie - a very good friend from Perth, and the likes of the aptly named campaign group "Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers".
Bruce McGregor called me, and invited me onto the show - of course, I said YES ! .. and the stage was set for me to go up against 2 baddies from the legal profession - who turned out to be none other than Austin Lafferty, the somewhat flamboyant Scottish media lawyer .. and Joseph Platt - a past President of the Law Society of Scotland.
For the morning of Tuesday, 6 March 2001, I was ferried from my house in Jedburgh, to the BBC Radio Studios at Selkirk, in the Scottish Borders, where my 'on location' appearance in the programme was to take place, on a very cold, and snowy March morning (the week previous, we had been deluged with the infamous spring 2001 blizzards in the Borders). I did my sound test, and had a short walk through as to what I could expect to be asked, and how, of course, I should behave .... good thing I am as diplomatic as ever of course !
The show got started, with the normal introductions to the mornings topics, by Garry Robertson, then of course, the issue of the Parliamentary inquiry into Scottish lawyers came up first, and the parties - myself, Platt, and Lafferty, were all introduced to the audience ..... Platt & Lafferty were in their own studios ... out of reach of any axe swings they may have wanted to take at me !
The show, for me, was fantastic. I would really have to commend Bruce McGregor, Garry Robertson, his staff, and those at the BBC who invited me that day to speak on the issue of the client versus the lawyer, and how poorly members of the public had been treated by the Law Society of Scotland.
Mr Platt and Mr Lafferty for their part, of course, stuck to the legal profession's point of view - there was no problem at all with self regulation of lawyers by the Law Society of Scotland - and that complaints were few and far between - all complainers were just naggers and should be grateful of getting a lawyer to do their work, etc ....but of course, when I got to say my piece - about some of the things I have written about in this blog - such as ... crooked lawyer Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso, raiding & ripping off my dead father's estate, faking up files, fiddling accounts, .. crooked senior Law Society officials interfering my case and fiddling my legal aid, fiddling the complaint, fiddling the Legal Services Ombudsman's report into my complaint & the Law Society handling of it, etc ... Joe Platt & Austin Lafferty reacted quite badly to that - dismissing of course, what happened, and trying to sideline me with tales of how great the Scottish legal profession was .. etc ... but all to no avail. Let's say .. Platt & Lafferty - despite their fame & position .. were .. 'unconvincing' !
What won my side of the argument that day, I think, was my quiet critisism of the way they were on the show, along with just how arrogant the Law Society of Scotland is, and, coupled with my chance to tell my own story, that won the day, and for me, showed Platt & Lafferty to be very anti client and single minded in their determination to keep regulation for themselves - lawyer investigating lawyer .. which has led thousands of cover ups over the years - all to protect crooked lawyers and their fat incomes, big houses, fancy offices, fancy cars, etc ...and of course, the show generated many many calls into the BBC, with many pointed questions on air from other ordinary people, just like me, who had been ripped off by their crooked lawyer - and weren't able to do anything about it due to the corruptness of the Law Society of Scotland and their crooked complaints procedures ....
I think, probably for me, the quote of the show came from Austin Lafferty - who said - his ideal client would be an old lady who came along to sell her house for £100,000 or something like that ... of course .. Garry Robertson quickly picked up on Lafferty's comment which sounded ..... shall we say .. stupid ?I thought ... along with, probably the whole audience, sure - an old lady with £100,000 to a Scottish lawyer must seem like an easy target .... and I can understand why then, he came up with such a thing .... because certainly from my own experience in the Borders - there has been many an old lady robbed by Scottish lawyers - while they were alive, and certainly after they died ... so, yes, a great quote to sum up the Scottish legal profession - let's rip off the old people ! - after all - he said it ! - the famous Austin Lafferty !
I'd say this Radio show that I did, was one of the best moments of my own personal campaign to get an inquiry into the Scottish legal profession, and also, be able to speak out to as many people as possible on what happened in my own case - to bring their story out too .. because that is what I am about and that is what this blog is all about - to get people to read the stuff - tell me if the same happened to them (which a few have done) and get the message out about just how bad corruption is in Scotland, when it comes to injustice and law - because of course, it affects us all.
Since there is now a Bill destined to be debated at the Justice 2 Committee at the Scottish Parliament, I hope to be invited back to have another go at the legal profession ! I have done a lot of work I think over the years to get to this stage, and in support of all those who have suffered the same difficulties as myself in their dealings with Scottish lawyers & the legal profession, I would hope that raising the issue again will do some more good, and bring out more maligned clients of lawyers to submit their experiences to the Justice 2 Committee for consideration .....
So, to BBC Scotland - thank you for this opportunity to discuss the issue of regulation of the legal profession in Scotland. The show contributed greatly to the debate on bringing improvements to the Scottish legal profession - and it also allowed other people like myself, to get in touch and do something about what happened to them at the hands of a crooked Scottish lawyer .... and that, has been one of the most difficult things to do over the years - bring people together ... because the Law Society has seen that for the main - we have all been kept apart .....
You can visit the website of BBC Radio Scotland at : http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/radioscotland/
The Garry Robertson Show is now known as "Morning Extra", at : http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/radioscotland/view/show.shtml?morningextra - and if you like - ask the BBC for a transcript of my show .. and read for yourself how the debate took place !
You can also visit Austin Lafferty's own website at http://www.austinlafferty.co.uk/ .. I wonder if he's up for more debate on the merits of lawyer investigating lawyer ? and any more old lady clients with £100,000 ?!!