Sunday, October 29, 2006

Scottish Labour Politician rents his own son's flat for £7000 a year, charging it up to taxpayers

I've been taking a few emails from around the world, particularly the far east, over the past few weeks, as people read my blog & the news articles I quote.

Principally, the questions asked are why has Scotland become so corrupt ? .. is it safe to do business here ? ... can you recommend me a lawyer who isn't crooked ? , questions like that .. and .. even ... can you tell me which politicians are corrupt and which are honest.

Well, these certainly aren't easy questions to answer ... and I received an email from one person whom I'm sure would make this blog quite newsworthy if I released his name, but I won't and have given my word on that.

I think, suffice to say, there are people in the world taking notice of how crooked Scotland has become .. but as I tirelessly say - it's not because of the ordinary people .. it's because of those who run the country and who have much greater influence than they should .. seedy secretive clubs such as the Speculative Society or others we all know of - membership of which seems to be a requirement for Scotland's Judiciary .. debating societies as some would wish to call them.. others might call them clubs for the boys, promoting each other over the heads of outsiders. Some say they have too much influence over legislation, vetoing anything which could be a threat to their little empires, or have holds on politicians to bring them to heel like a dog when it suits, or who even sometimes play pass the parcel .. with people .. just for sadistic pleasure.

We also have, of course, some of the crooked professions who wield so much influence in politics & daily life, nothing can be done without their say so, such as yes, of course, the legal profession - who are about to take the Scottish Executive to Court over the LPLA Bill to try and kill off the planned reforms to complaints against lawyers.

Such is the furore of the Judiciary and the Law Society of Scotland over the fact they will lose the ability to fiddle client complaints & investigations against their own members - they are intent on staging a court case against the Scottish Executive & even the Scottish Parliament, to thwart the pro-consumer reforms of the LPLA Bill, which are planned to stop Scotlands great gang of crooked lawyers from ripping off their clients.

Even, retired Judges have been resurrected to defend Scotland's legal thieves .. and we now have the spectacle of 'Chernenko' style political influence .. where the dusty old relics of the past have been brought out as hired assassins to murder the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill which myself and many others have long campaigned for.

A Policeman, recently said to me in an email - it's about, what you have on people - the dirt .. you can make a person - a politician - anyone, do anything, if you have the right kind of information on them .. so having people in power with secrets in the cupboard .. is a good thing .. for the likes of crooked lawyers .. crooked financiers .. etc.

He's right of course - that's one of the reasons Scotland has a lot of odd people in power - catch a Judge up a corner with a young boy (and I mean under 16) ... that's it .. you can get that Judge to do anything - he won't resign .. unless it appears on the front page ot a tabloid, of course.

Catch a politician claiming for something they'd rather keep secret, or maybe even fiddling their expenses claims or something a little more sinister .. fiddling local Council contracts for building work or whatever ... that politician is yours, for the rest of his life unless the scandal hits the media with enough force to make him resign ... that's how it works .. I've seen it myself, especially in the Scottish Borders.

Anyway, in a story quite appropriate to show how politics is regarded in Scotland today .. a story has come to light where long serving Labour MSP John Home Robertson, has been charging £7000 a year to rent his son’s appartment in Tytler Gardens, Edinburgh .. which his son, Patrick Home Robertson purchased in April 1999 for £72,000 when he was 17 years old. Not being satisfied with that, John Home Robertson also charges the taxpayer for the council tax on his son’s appartment, as well as 'other costs'.

From the details, t looks like we have yet another expenses claiming scandal inolving one of our MSPs in the grab it & run culture of Holyrood .. Rentalgate, perhaps ?

Is there any suggestion of 'wrongdoing' here ? well, no .. it seems to be the rules that you can claim expenses for living arangements, because of course, the same politicians voted for those rules who are now using them to claim what they want .. and the Parliament happily obliges with the cash.

Must be a rich family .. I don't know many 17 year olds who could pay £72,000 for a flat .. that's without a mortgage of course .. yes, NO mortgage .. then his dad goes and bills the taxpayer for £600 a month to rent a property bought by his own son days before his own election to the Scottish parliament.

Anyone sense something might be a bit iffy there ? a politician bills the taxpayer £7000 a year to stay in his son’s flat ?

Why doesn't his son let his good old dad stay in the flat for free ?

If I had said .. Dad .. I'm going to charge you rent for staying in my flat, I know what he would have said ! .. his response wouldn't have been printable !

How many 17 year olds rent out their homes to their parents ? .. kind of uncommon, wouldn't you say ? ... oh and guess what - the Scottish Parliament have decided to keep the rental invoice documents secret .. in the same vein they kept David McLetchie's taxi journey destinations secret .. because of course some of those destinations involved 'another woman' .. so maybe theres something more to hide .. which is yet to come out ...

Is it the Scottish Parliament's job to cover up for this kind of stuff ?

Well, maybe it is .. after all, just look at the absolute honesty which the likes of Paul Grice and the rest of the gang at Holyrood handled the building costs of the Parliament itself .. not to mention just about every other scandal which has hit the headlines involving the Parliament - whether that be Party leaders journeys into the unknown, expenses claimed for journeys while outside of the country - or even male msps being caught on cctv cameras in sexual acts with their own male members of staff (oh what a shame a famous Scottish tabloid's £12,000) offer for those camera stills didn't come off for a front pager)

As I said awhile ago .. I know of at least one Scottish Executive Minister, who has some preferential property deals from an Edinburgh legal firm I know has an appaling regulatory history regarding clients. Just because the purchase deal was made a bit more complicated .. didn't stop the details being leaked around (this is another one yet to break, remember, not related to the Home Robertson story in the Sunday Herald today.

It doesn't stop at Labour though .. oh no ... there are a few MSPs out there from other political parties, who need a little tug regarding their secretive dealings, expense claims .. and work for 'professions', companies, interference in local authority contracts & planning matters .. etc .. and I think it's quite right that sometimes, we step on these people, because after all, they have stepped on a lot of us .. .faking up claims they are doing things to help people when they aren't ... lying to constituents faces on life threatening issues ... I think such people are fair game .. but if they want to stop the fair game .. then why not just become honest ? .. nothing wrong with that, is there ? after all, it should be honesty which makes the world go round .. shouldn't it ?

Mr Home Robertson - I hope you vote for the LPLA Bill - these people in the legal profession can't be trusted you know .. they will turn on anyone to save themselves.

Well, just read the story to follow from the Sunday Herald - and of course, congratulations to Paul Hutcheon & the Sunday Herald team again for their excellent work in exposing things which really, just shouldn't be happening .. when everyone else is strapped for cash .. living day to day on huge debts, being thrown out of their holmes because of knowingly mis-sold mortgages ... etc .

UPDATE - The story has now been followed up in other media, and of course, The Scotsman newspaper, where you can read their version, along with readers comments, at :

Link to the original breaking news article, from the Sunday Herald Newspaper, at :

THIS MSP bills the taxpayer £7000 a year … to rent his son’s flat

By Paul Hutcheon, Scottish Political Editor

THE taxpayer is footing a £7000-a-year bill so that one of Scotland’s wealthiest MSPs can live in his son’s Edinburgh flat, the Sunday Herald can reveal.

Labour’s John Home Robertson bills the public £600 a month to rent a property bought by his son days before his election to the Scottish parliament.

The East Lothian MSP’s claim has prompted renewed calls to have the parliament’s expenses system overhauled.

It is the latest issue to stem from Holyrood’s Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance, which helps some MSPs pay the interest on a mortgage in the capital, or to pay rent on a property.

Home Robertson qualifies because his home, rather than his constituency, is classed as being beyond daily commuting distance. He has since used the scheme to claim £600 a month in rent allowances.

But the Sunday Herald can reveal the Labour MSP is billing the taxpayer for staying in his own son’s flat.

The Land Register shows that Patrick Home Robertson bought a £72,000 apartment in Tytler Gardens in April 1999 when he was 17 years old. Days later, his father became an MSP and has claimed rental on the property. The register discloses that there is no mortgage on the property.

The electoral roll states that a “John Home Robertson” has lived periodically at the Edinburgh address since 1999. The MSP also parks his car in the “private residents’ parking only” section of Tytler Gardens. The flat is seconds away from the new Holyrood parliament building.

Parliamentary figures show he claimed £8422 in 2001-02 in accommodation costs, and then £7200 in rent between April 2004 and March 2005.

Costs released earlier this year showed he had claimed £4463 in accommodation costs for the first two quarters of 2005, which was made up by monthly payments of £600.

He also charged the public for more than £3000 in mileage over the same period last year – the highest travel claim for any MSP in the Lothians – a clawback that raises questions about how often he uses the Edinburgh property.

In addition, Home Robertson charges the taxpayer for the council tax on his son’s flat, as well as for other running costs.

Full details of the Labour MSP’s Edinburgh living arrangements are secret as the parliament has declined to make rental invoices publicly available.

The Holyrood website, which contains a vast amount of detail about each MSP’s allowances, says of all his rent claims: “File not available due to Data Protection or personal security reasons or due to the poor quality of the original document.”

One resident in Tytler Gardens said of the MSP: “He’s here quite regularly. He seems to live here.”

It is the latest blow for an allowance that has been widely discredited in the eyes of the public. First minister Jack McConnell called on the perk to be reviewed earlier this year.

Home Robertson is a two-term MSP who used to convene the Holyrood Progress Group, the body created to monitor the new Scottish parliament building. He opposed calls to cap spending on the wayward project.

The Labour politician defended his rental arrangements: “It is a matter of public record that I lease a flat in Edinburgh and that the rent is paid under the Scottish parliament’s Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance Scheme.

“The Scottish parliament authorities have a copy of the lease of the flat, the rental was independently assessed and this arrangement was fully approved by the Allowances Office from the outset.”

Scottish National Party MSP Michael Matheson, who has spoken out in criticism of the Edinburgh accommodation allowance, called for urgent reform of the system:

“This is a further reminder why the Corporate Body needs to review the allowance as early as possible. There’s a danger that some of its workings will undermine the reputation of the parliament and further dilute public confidence in politicians.”

Friday, October 27, 2006

Scotland's Westminster Members of Parliament claiming £100,000 plus,in expenses. Are they worth it ?

Scotland's Westminster MPs are busy yet again, ripping off the public by claiming a whopping £100,000 plus in their annual expenses accounts.

Hands up who wants a £100,000 + expenses account ? .. it could be YOU, earning nearly £175,000 a year in expenses along, on top of a salary of almost £60,000 with pension, perks, company directorships, foreign travel & more .. now that's a job !.

What else can MPs take home ? well .. their expenses account is but the tip of the iceberg at both Westminster and at Holyrood.

Company Directorships, preferential property & land deals (where politicians have been slipped up the property ladder for doing favours), interest only, or even interest free mortgages & loans .. some never intended to be paid back ... such as what has recently been exposed in the loans & cash for peerages scandal affecting all the Westminster political parties ... 'fact finding' trips abroad .. which are anything but ... jobs for relatives & friends, you name it, it happens .... politicians in the UK can generally claim for whatever they want, and get away with it.

Hands up who believes all those declarations of interests by politicians ?

Well, I for one sure don't. I know for a fact some of these politicians have a lot more coming in than they declare .. and are tied to a lot more corporate or foreign funding than is ever declared in their returns to either the Parliament or even the Inland Revenue. Just look, for instance, at the recent revelations of political party funding in the UK ... where everyone from foreign dictators, to criminals who have flown abroad but are wanted in the UK on charges, to military conglomerates, to secretive international 'think-tanks' & finance groups bent on imposing their own politics & ideas in the UK .... Do I need to go on ? .. and don't leave any political party out of the debate .. they are all at it .. getting money from wherever they can .. and then have to bow down to their donors when it comes to giving out peerages, changing or improving the law in certain areas (especially pro consumer legislation), handing out contracts for supplying the Health Service .. etc.

Take for example what has recently happened to Labour Party funding, where the legal profession & the Banks have warned the Government that too much pro-consumer reform will dent any donations to the Labour Party .. and might even just see the Tories gain office next time around !

Look at some of the examples we have close to home, where Henry McLeish was caught out renting office space to a well known firm of lawyers - Digby Brown Solicitors .. who have some former partners at the very heart of Government .... and the likes of David McLetchie ... who famously fiddled his taxi expenses (and a lot more) ... but didn't declare it ... However McLetchie was caught nicely and had to resign as leader of the Tories in Scotland .. although the spectre of his re-appearance as Scottish Tory leader looms large over the party, with the current infighting & whispering campaign against Annabel Goldie started by allies of Mcletchie who want him back ... plenty of that support seems to come from his colleagues in the legal profession - who are well versed in political dirty tricks & rehabilitating some of the worst elements of society back into political life .. from fire raisers to fraudsters ... we sadly have them all.

How about some more examples ? well, look at who we got for the first Speaker of the Scottish Parliament - David Steel .. formerly an MP at Westminster, now Lord Steel of Aikwood ... but he took a significant donation from the Countryside Alliance .. about £93,000 and as you can see, Sir David was judged to have broken Parliamentary rules in his lobbying for the Countryside Alliance

The then Sir David Steel was subject to further complaints further complaints from a Labour MP, Mr Dale Campell Savours, also relating to his lobbying activities for the Countryside Alliance.

Sir David as he then was, 'retired' from the Westminster Parliament .. and we poor Scots ended up with him as the Scottish Parliament's first Speaker ... just going to show the quality of representation we have had in our Holyrood politicians since it began .. his involvement with the Corporate Body which 'controlled' the runaway $1billion expenditure on the Holyrood Parliament, is now legendary .. although any blame on him or anyone else in the whole Holyrood funding inquiry was never apportioned.. as is of course, traditional in inquiries into scandals in the UK .. no one gets the blame .. it was all a muddle .. not a fiddle .. but as we all know, when it comes to politicians & money .. it's always a fiddle and never a muddle !

As far as my own experiences with Westminster MPs go .. well, I can only attest to those I have used who represented the Scottish Borders. I was saddled with Archy Kirkwood .. who has now retired from Westminster, having been made Baron Kirkwood of Kirkhope .. being made a Knight Bachelor in 2003 and then being made a life peer in 2005.

I had to write to Kirkwood over the scandal of crooked Borders lawyer Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso and how he & his firm looted my deceased father's funds. Kirkwood was also supposed to be helping me with my efforts to bring the other crook in the affair - crooked Borders Accountant Norman Howitt of Welchs Accountants, Hawick & Galashiels who even stole my mother's pension & Bank books .. and tried to set up secret trusts to take the rest of the money for his own control.

Kirkwood wrote the usual letters one would expect from an MP helping a constituent .. you know .. oh .. I've had a constituent on to me .. he has problems with a lawyer .. blah blah .. but of course, Kirkwood, was a lawyer himself ... and was well known to Andrew Penman and Norman Howitt .. who's services I'm sure Archy Kirkwood valued much more than mine .. after all, I was just a constituent .. but Howitt & Penman it is rumoured, are great friends of Kirkwood .. so no wonder nothing was done to help me .. actually, I was told, Kirkwood would have a laugh when he received letters from me.

Kirkwood was involved in my case from 1994 - 2005. He did nothing for me. Nothing at all. The result of his involvement was actually a negative for me - as you can see ... and this is common to anyone like me who takes on the likes of crooked professionals and tries to use their elected representative to do something about it. I wonder how much by way of expenses goes on stuff like this ... messing a guy around for 11 years and getting nowhere .. that should rank high on the list of claimed expenses me thinks.

It got a lot worse though ... When the Scottish Parliament came into being, Kirkwood suggested I write to his MSP colleague Euan Robson MSP.

Euan Robson demanded that I drop any complaints I was making against the crooked lawyer Andrew Penman AND make sure the Law Society of Scotland ceased their investigations into Penman, BEFORE he did anything for me ... which I thought was, shall we say .. a wee bit crooked !

What business was it of Euan Robson to insist, even, demand, that I stop making complaints against a crook lawyer who had robbed me, robbed my family, defrauded a Bank, defrauded the Inland Revenue .. fiddled & faked up files, fiddled evidence - even to the Law Society of Scotland ... well ... no surprise again .. Andrew Penman was very familiar with Euan Robson .. and very familiar with the Lib Dems .. and of course .. Robson's colleague, Kirkwood.

I then tried Christine Grahame MSP.. yes, the SNP member for the Scotrish Borders .. she didn't want to know me .. perhaps . I just wasn't Scottish enough for her maybe .. and after all, she was Convener of the Justice 1 Committee of the Scottish Parliament .. and maybe couldn't be seen to be representing someone who was intent on bringing some much needed reform to the way crooked lawyers fleece their cleints in Scotland.

I then went to Murray Tosh MSP to help me with the fight against the hospital where my mum died.. a complete waste of time .. I remember he once claimed he had forgotten what was said in a meeting he allegedly had with Hospital officials on my complaint, and he utlimately turned against me, after I revealed the crooked dealings of one of his political party colleagues in the Scottish Borders - Councillor Hugh Wight who deamded I be run out of Jedburgh.

Finally I turned to Phil Gallie MSP- who was the ONLY politician at the Scottish Parliament who ever helped me .. Mr Gallie helped get the 2001 Parliamentary inqiury into regulation of the legal profession going .. and I would say played a major part in starting the process which has seen the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill proposed as a remedy to bring independent regulation and much needed pro consumer reforms to Scotland's legal profession. Thank you, Mr Gallie. So, one MSP helped me. Phew .. I'm lucky I think, considering what I have seen on other people's cases.

So, while these high expense claiming MPs get up to £3000 a week, and their Scottish counterpart MSPs are getting over £1000 a week, the rest of us rot in mortgage land, bereft of decent pensions, wages not matching the rise in property prices or the cost of living, not being able to get health care, dental care, etc .. while these politicians get whatever they want.

I say quite a few of them aren't worth it ... let's find out a lot more on what this gang of expense claiming MPs are up to .. and how big that 'wee bit on the side' has now become ... and it just so happens, I'm working on a political story which should rock some people's boats ... you can look forward to that appearing in other parts of the media soon ...

Read on for the article, from the Scotsman, at :

Scots MP tops Westminster expenses

* 55 Scots MPs out of 59 claim over £100,000 in expenses
* MPs claim £86.5m in total in expenses between April '05 and March '06
* Westminister does not release expenses details unlike Holyrood

Key quote "[I'll] do something about it"- Eric Joyce, Scottish Labour MP and the Commons highest expenses claimant

Story in full ERIC Joyce, the Labour MP for Falkirk, was yesterday named the highest expense-claiming MP in Britain, clocking up larger travel costs than colleagues who fly to far-flung Orkney and Western Isles constituencies.

Mr Joyce cost taxpayers nearly £175,000 - of which £45,000, or £865 a week, was for travel - on top of his salary of almost £60,000.

The travel claim is enough for two economy return tickets a week to Australia.

As a loyal ministerial aide, Mr Joyce attended 90 per cent of Commons votes in the past year but spoke in just 13 debates, well below average.

Last night he admitted that his travel costs were too high and vowed to "do something about it".

Three of the five costliest MPs are Scottish - mainly because of high travel costs - with Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat Orkney and Shetland MP, in second place and Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, in fifth.

Mr Carmichael, whose expenses were £161,815, attended 69 per cent of parliamentary votes - below average - but he asked more written questions and participated in more debates than the average MP.

Mr Salmond has attended fewer than one in three votes in parliament - Nationalists refuse to vote on matters that pertain to England and Wales only - but has participated in more debates than average.

Last night, he told The Scotsman he was "surprised and puzzled" that he was the fifth most expensive MP, at £157,844.

"I will get my staff to investigate. I can explain the travel costs, because it is expensive to fly to Aberdeen."

Mr Salmond added that he put all of the SNP's parliamentary staff costs under his expenses, bumping up his bill by more than £5,000.

Details of the expenses claimed by MPs, published today, show they claimed £86.8 million between April 2005 and March 2006. This compares with £80.8 million in 2004-5.

The increase this year is in part due to the inclusion of £5.8 million in winding-up allowances for MPs who retired or lost their seats at the last general election. Meanwhile, high staff costs for Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, were questioned. Her staff bill was £99,589. Ms Beckett employs her husband, Leo, as one of her assistants.

Sinn Fein's five MPs claimed £206,721 in expenses last year, despite never taking their seats in the House of Commons. The Irish Republicans' bill included £7,500 claims by each of the MPs for staying away from their main homes.

Unlike in Holyrood, where journalists and the public can scrutinise receipts and detailed breakdowns of expenses, Westminster authorities release the figures under broad categories, refusing to provide a "total".

Nick Harvey, the Liberal Democrat MP and spokesman for the Members Estimate Committee, which released the figures, insisted MPs represented "excellent value for money".

What your MP claimed

THE list of Scottish MPs and the expenses they have claimed is:

Eric Joyce, Falkirk, £174,811; Alistair Carmichael, Orkney and Shetland, £161,815; Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, £157,844; Ian Davidson, Glasgow South West, £155,521; Angus Robertson, Moray, £155,189; Nigel Griffiths, Edinburgh South, £153,570; Frank Doran, Aberdeen North, £152,852; Michael Connarty, Linlithgow & East Falkirk, £151,854; Jim Murphy, East Renfrewshire, £149,846; Mohammed Sarwar, Glasgow Central, £149,310; Russell Brown, Dumfries & Galloway, £148,136; Anne Moffat, East Lothian, £148,072; Anne Begg, Aberdeen South, £147,274; Malcolm Bruce, Gordon, £146,281; Charles Kennedy, Ross, Skye & Lochaber, £145,366; Jim Sheridan, Paisley & Renfrewshire North, £145,134; Brian Donohoe, Central Ayrshire, £145,014; Rosemary McKenna, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East, £144,899; Rt Hon John McFall, West Dunbartonshire, £144,336; David Mundell, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale, £143,159; Frank Roy, Motherwell & Wishaw, £142,948; Tommy McAvoy, Rutherglen & Hamilton West, £141,898; John MacDougall, Glenrothes, £141,773; Tom Clarke, Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill, £141,603; Tom Harris, Glasgow South, £140,831; Michael Moore, Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk, £139,621; Alistair Darling, Edinburgh South West, £139,105; Sir Robert Smith, West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine, £138,938; Gordon Banks, Ochil & South Perthshire, £138,885; John Robertson, Glasgow North West, £138,838;

Mark Lazarowicz, Edinburgh North & Leith, £137,360; Gordon Brown, Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath, £134,586; David Hamilton, Midlothian, £133,007; Pete Wishart, Perth & North Perthshire, £132,825; Danny Alexander, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey, £132,742; Des Browne, Kilmarnock & Loudoun, £131,187; Jim McGovern, Dundee West, £130,792; Mike Weir, Angus, £130,312; Jimmy Hood, Lanark & Hamilton East, £129,461; Douglas Alexander, Paisley & Renfrewshire South, £128,313; Gavin Strang, Edinburgh East, £128,247; Sandra Osborne, Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock, £128,225; John Barrett, Edinburgh West, £126,343; John Thurso, Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross, £125,217; Anne McGuire, Stirling, £124,400; Ming Campbell, North East Fife, £123,617; Ann McKechin, Glasgow North, £122,906; David Cairns, Inverclyde, £121,457; David Marshall, Glasgow East, £120,428; Katy Clark, North Ayrshire & Arran, £119,818; Stewart Hosie, Dundee East, £117,667; Jo Swinson, East Dunbartonshire, £116,382; Angus MacNeil, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, £113,101; John Reid, Airdrie & Shotts, £108,908; Alan Reid, Argyll & Bute, £107,096; Adam Ingram, East Kilbride, Strathaven & Lesmahagow, £103,613; Jim Devine, Livingston, £92,297

Michael Martin, Glasgow North East, £66,954; Willie Rennie, Dunfermline & West Fife, £37,670 (by-election winner) *Figures compiled by Bloomberg

Monday, October 23, 2006

Scottish Accountants get a General Counsel well versed in whitewashing the crimes of his colleagues

As if to prove in today's Scotland .. that the crooked go further than the honest in society... ICAS, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, have appointed none other than Dr Tom McMorrow, their in-house lawyer, to the position of General Counsel.

Dr Tom McMorrow has been the Director of legal services for ICAS, for several years .. then was made executive director, regulation and compliance ... but after having experienced his abilities first hand, his job title should read Chief of Cover ups .. because that's certainly what he did when I made a complaint against one of his crooked colleagues, Borders accountant Norman Howitt of Welch Accountants, Hawick & Galashiels

What did McMorrow do for my complaint against his crooked colleague ? well, he conveniently covered up a lot of evidence in his first investigation of Howitt .. which made no mention of Howitt stealing my mother's pension book & bank books ... and trying to take every penny she had in a dirty scheme involving a crooked Hawick lawyer - Nigel Hall of Haddon & Turnbull, Hawick ... and McMorrow made sure Howitt got off the hook ... making sure there would be no claim for damages against his criminal actions. McMorrow even covered up the fact that Howitt made fake claims to the Police to try and mask his thievery .. and the idiot Borders Police fell for it at the time .. only later realising they had been 'had'.

McMorrow has his own chequered history though .. and twice was thrown off the investigation into Norman Howitt for personal attacks on me, because of my inquiries into a former business partner, an Advocate, who embezzled tens of thousands of pounds of her clients money .. Jennifer Carpenter .. and Advocate who bought McMorrow's legal practice in Falkirk .. and McMorrow certainly didn't appreciate the likes of me inquiring into what happened ... and why the Law Society of Scotland exhonerated him of any involvement .. before anything had even been alleged it seems.

You can read more about how Tom McMorrow covered up for crooked accountant Norman Howitt of Welch & Co Accountants Hawick & Galashiels, here : Norman Howitt - A Crooked Borders Accountant strikes against my family .. and here's a warning on how the crooked accountancy profession in Scotland want in on the act of handling wills & probate services for clients ... after the example of Norman Howitt ripping off my dad's money & getting away with it :
Scottish Accountants try to amend LPLA Bill for their own benefit - but refuse independent regulation safeguards for the consumer

This says a lot for Scotland these days ... where crooked professionals are running key services & industries .. these people often being referred to by their colleagues as the 'great & the good' .. but they are very far from that .. they are nothing more than crooks put in place to save colleagues when they get caught with their fingers in the 'till.

Read the article, from the Herald Newspaper, here :

ICAS names regulatory guru McMorrow general counsel
PAUL ROGERSON October 23 2006

Dr Tom McMorrow, in-house regulatory expert at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, has been promoted to the position of general counsel of the Edinburgh-based body.

He will work closely with Anton Colella, the new chief executive, on all legal, disciplinary and contractual matters affecting the institute and its 16,000 members.

McMorrow takes up the position three years after being installed as executive director, regulation and compliance at ICAS.

The institute said: "The growing demands of regulators and the increasingly complex international relationships that ICAS is involved in has meant that the legal resources at the institute need to be supplemented."

McMorrow said: "There is no doubt that the legal demands on the institute are greater than before and the monitoring role we have is becoming ever more complex. I'm delighted to be working closely with Anton as general counsel, which allows me to advise him on every aspect of our legal responsibilities." Colella said: "It is fundamental that Tom and I work closely together and this new role allows us to do that.

"The institute needs to continue to be an effective regulator, operate our regulatory function with transparency and ensure that our statutory obligations are fulfilled to the satisfaction of the public and our members. Tom's experience and know-how of the legal obligations and requirements of the institute have never been more important."

Regulatory issues with which the institute is grappling include helping the Treasury to clamp down on unregulated "accountants" who may be involved in money laundering.

The 16,000-member body has been asked to consider sending its monitoring teams into practices staffed by people who call themselves accountants but are not properly qualified.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Legal Aid dispute continues to be used by lawyers against planned reforms of legal profession by LPLA Bill

There was an interesting story in last week's Sunday Times, on members of the House of Lords taking up Directorships of companies and relating to the story, you can see the Press Release on former NATO Chief Lord Robertson joining a joint anglo russian company as a Deputy Chairman of the Board I'm sure this story will come along as time goes on, my sources tell me.

In any case, last week was taken up by articles reflecting my involvement with the Scottish Borders .. a necessary part of the story of my campaign I'm afraid .. even though it tires me to write about it, due to the fact the region seems more corrupt than when I left it .. and even with the recent formation of a new Borders Political Party to fight seats at the next council election ... nothing will ever change in that place. I also had the flu, so writing about the Borders was a break from writing about crooked lawyers ..I may return to visit the Borders issue next week.

Now, back to the legal profession, I'm afraid .. and today, we have a timely article in the form of a warning from the legal profession, claiming the rise in legal aid payments will jeopardise the right to a fair trial.

The article is timely, because this coming week, the LPLA Bill is back before the Justice 2 Committee for further scrutiny ... and from my sources in the newspapers, I'm told we can expect a few more planted stories in the next few days & weeks showing how indispensible the legal profession is to Scotland .. which really, it isn't.

So, what's the big threat to the right to a fair trial ?? Well, it's the lawyers of course . .it's the lawyers and the legal profession who are threatening your right to a fair trial, not the Scottish Executive .. and it's nothing to do with the countless inadequacies in Scottish Law .. its soley about money .. the money that solicitors stuff in their pockets .. that, is what is affecting your right to a fair trial - nothing else, just the money.

Do you think the lawyers have your best interests at heart in staging strikes and boycotts of civil & criminal cases in order to get their legal aid fees raised ? No .. they certainly don't care about you at all .. it's all about .. money .. which is usually the case when it comes to things the legal profession campaign on with such vigour.

Part of the lawyers claims centre on the Scottish Executive's appointment of six more Public Defence Solicitor Offices .. which the Executive claims "would provide "justice for all" by offering the accused a greater choice of affordable lawyers." .. this is more about criminal law though .. so don't try hiring these people to take on a case against a crooked lawyer who has swindled you out of your life savings or your house .. they just won't do it.

The new PDSO offices are to be in Dundee, Aberdeen, Falkirk, Ayr, Dumfries and Kirkwall, and are expected to open next year, which it is claimed, will increase the number of Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) solicitors from nine to 20. I have to say, I am aware of some of the solicitors who work for the Scottish Legal Aid Board. They are, rubbish - and actually are quite hostile towards people who try to pursue cases against crooked lawyers.

Why is the legal profession so upset about this ? well, it seems to be about control .. and the same arguement which took out the Temporary Sheriffs in 2000 has surfaced again .. where lawyers said that directly employing public defenders threatens the independence of the judiciary because they are under the influence of their employers and provide unfair competition.

Yet another diversion created by whinging lawyers who want more money, to try & stall reforms of the legal profession in Scotland planned in the forthcoming LPLA Bill, I'm afraid .. nothing more than that .. after all, they got an increase in legal aid payments .. what more do they want ? .. it's not the taxpayer's fault that lawyers have become used to fleecing clients and getting fat payments for very little work.

I hope the Scotsman journalist who was talking to me the other day was right in what he said ... which was .. "Peter .. Why do you think we are printing all this stuff ?, because it shows the extent of the control freakery of the legal profession in Scotland who are out to kill off any reforms & any reformers like you".

Bravo !!! .. in that case, the Scotsman has done an excellent job ! .. with the likes of Campbell Deane's rants against victims of the legal profession, praise of some of his more famous clients (albeit some who have failed to sue newspapers) .. and among other things, Jennifer Veitch's rose tinted articles on Douglas Mill .. I'd say the readership of the Scotsman have had their eyes opened as to just what kind of people are in charge of the legal profession - a bunch of consumer hating political manipulators who are up to no good.

Read on for the link, from The Scotsman, at :

Lawyers say rise in legal aid will jeopardise fair trials

THE right to a fair trial is under threat, lawyers warned yesterday, after the Executive trebled the amount of legal aid provided directly by the state.

Hugh Henry, the deputy justice minister, said moves to increase the number of Public Defence Solicitor Offices (PDSO) from three to nine would provide "justice for all" by offering the accused a greater choice of affordable lawyers.

The new offices in Dundee, Aberdeen, Falkirk, Ayr, Dumfries and Kirkwall - expected to open next year - will increase the number of Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) solicitors from nine to 20.

However, lawyers said that directly employing public defenders threatens the independence of the judiciary because they are under the influence of their employers and provide unfair competition.

Their concern intensifies the long-running dispute with the Executive over legal aid. Earlier this month an Executive report warned that miscarriages of justice are more likely because the introduction of fixed fees, instead of payment by the hour, means lawyers are not spending as much time on cases.

Lawyers have even threatened to boycott cases involving alleged sex offenders in protest over legal aid fees - a move labelled "disgraceful" by Jack McConnell, the First Minister.

Last year the legal aid bill was £152 million and is set to rise to £168 million by 2007-8.

Yesterday, Mr Henry said the new PDSOs will provide a more affordable way to provide legal representation.

"We believe that publicly funded criminal legal assistance in Scotland is best delivered by a mix of salaried legal professionals and those in private practice," he explained.

Mr Henry said the PDSOs also increase choice. "There are other parts of Scotland where there may be limited competition for publicly funded criminal legal advice. We have therefore decided to open new PDSOs in some areas to provide an additional element of competition."

However, Gerry McClay, president of the Glasgow Bar Association, disputed that the plan was anything to do with cost or choice. He said: "At the moment we have 1,500 solicitors registered to do criminal legal aid in Scotland. I do not see why there is a need for more choice. It is nothing to do with need or cost, it is because they do not want private solicitors that are willing to stand up and challenge them. You need an independent defence system and defence lawyer - but you have to pay for that."

But Iain Robertson, SLAB chairman, defended the news. He said: "The expansion of PDSOs allows Scotland to see criminal legal assistance delivered by a combination of salaried solicitors and those in private practice.

"This combination of private and public provision is common around the world and brings a number of benefits. PDSOs help ensure comprehensive access to criminal legal assistance."

Legal experts put the case for the defence

LAWYERS are increasingly at logger-heads with the Executive over the independence of the judiciary.

LEGAL AID: Fees have not risen for 14 years prompting fears fewer and fewer high quality lawyers are willing to defend the accused. Lawyers believe a rise in fees for private practice would protect independence.

COMPLAINTS: The new Legal Aid Bill aims to strip the Law Society of the authority to deal with complaints against lawyers in favour of a Scottish Legal Complaints Commission whose members are appointed by ministers. Senior judges have branded the plan a threat to their independence. The Executive insist it would safeguard clients' interests.

THE LORD ADVOCATE: The new appointment of Elish Angiolini, by Jack McConnell, the First Minister, re-opened old wounds. Senior lawyers question how the head of the prosecution service in Scotland can be independent while also advising the Executive on legal matters.

THE COURTS: Executive proposals to place the control of all Scotland's courts under one person, the lord president, would undermine judicial independence say senior figures. There are proposals to unify the sheriff and high courts and make the operation of all courts the responsibility of the lord president.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Life & Times in Jedburgh take a turn for the worst ...

It seems that the Royal Burgh of Jedburgh,my former town, has become a place where drunken & drug filled youths terrorise the tourists, valdalising everything in their path. Hmmm .. I sort of remember Jedburgh has always been a bit likie that .. so why the cry of foul now ?

I remember when drunken members of Jed Thistle Rugby Team went round smashing up peoples property, vandalising cars, and setting alight all kinds of things ... people targeted in their homes by jealous elements of the town, drugs being sold openly - for years, even at the town's secondary School ... but what can one expect from the youth of a town where the parents insipire their children to carry on hatreds of others though the generations ? .. I don't think we can expect much really.

In 1990, our family was targeted by some of the Town's Rugby playing & businessmen's sons, in a frightening attack in the early hours of a July Sunday Morning, where around 8 men broke into our property with weapons, even a can of petrol, to burn down my late father's old shop in the Bongate & terrorise myself & my mum. I caught one of the attackers, Mr Raymond MacKay, and handed him over to two attending Police Officers, PC Ian Anderson & another ... My mum & the Police listened while Raymond (we knew him well, used to live opposite, in the Bongate) confessed openly, (although he was drunk) .. that he & his friends were there to "wipe us out" because they were jealous I had a car and that I was to inherit my father's properties. Such noble motives then, for what could have been an attempted murder ?

Not surprisingly, because the group of attackers contained members of the Town's Jedforest Rugby Club (which my father had played for in his own youth). we heard nothing more .. no charges were preferred against the rest of the villians .. and that was it. Pretty horrible thing to happen then, you may think .. and you would be correct .. but, it's happened before in Jedburgh .. and has happened a few times to others since that attack on us by some of the children of the town's 'great & good'.

Jedburgh is one of those .. hard to describe communities. A lovely town, don't get me wrong .. in it's architecture .. for instance, Jedburgh Abbey has to be the most beautiful Abbey in the Scottish Borders .. although I would say that of course, because I lived there ... but the townsfolk can be twisted to the point of hatred which one can only shiver at .. and openly delight in the suffering of others. Also, the murders the Town has suffered in recent times .. these have usually went unsolved ... or have occurred over typical drunken fights which the town suffers every weekend.

For instance, don't go thinking I ever got any support from others in Jedburgh for my stance against crooked lawyers. Most of the people in the town were delighted when they heard Andrew Penman & Norman Howitt had robbed my fathers assets - I would say, there was almost a 'party atmosphere' among some over the coverage I had in the Scotsman newspaper ... a very strange reaction indeed. Even after my mother died .. a neighbour couldn't wait to tell me I was an 'orphan' .. this comment coming from a 60 year old adult who lived within the grounds of a Church ! .. not something which troubled me too much though, as one of her sons had been in on the attack on our property I mentioned in 1990. Only a few people (not being from Jedburgh themselves) had anything to say on this by way of support, but I did have some friends who were instrumental in exposing what happened to me at the hands of the legal profession .. those persons I shall not identify, but my eternal gratitude & respect goes to them.

The townsfolks hatred continued though, past the death of my mother, and from late 2001 to the end of 2003, when I left Jedburgh, I was subject to a bitter campaign of violence, verbal abuse, and almost daily attacks of vandalism against my property, in a bid to force me out so that a neighbour could buy it up on the cheap.

I had no friends of course, at Scottish Borders Council .. due to my exposing of their incessant corruption (albeit from sources within the Council workforce) .. so when the Bosses at SBC realised this 'neighbour' (who had a history of violence & threats to others) was out to force me out of my home .. the Council joined in with glee .. and a long running legal action in Jedburgh Sheriff Court, to obtain an interdict & claim damages for vandalism & harrassement against a neighbour, was about the only thing I could do to keep the fearsome locals at bay - with almost daily visits to my property from the Police over further incidents of harrassement & violent threats towards me.

Even my legal action against the violent neighbour in Jedburgh Sheriff Court was fiddled to the extent that opposing legal counsel lied through their teeth ... tried to thwart my legal aid application, lied to the Sheriff, tried everything they could to wipe my side of the story out .. byt when my MSP, Phil Gallie, intervened, helping me to get legal aid .. then, as surprises go, the violent neighbour's lawyer asked to settle the case the very next day .. and sure enough .. a couple of weeks later in Jedburgh Sheriff Court .. that was the end of it .. with this same neighbour, who had led me a life of hell, along with his biker colleagues from all over the Borders for 2 years, asked to buy my late father's property in a deal which then went on to be ruined by .. yes, you guessed it, a lawyer from Edinburgh who walked away from the deal taking a sick note of stress, to get out of the mess he created.

Think I didn't do anything for my community ? well .. think again.

I mentioned that Jedburgh had been full of drugs for a number of years .. from at least 1993 I should say .. where a well known family who lived in the infamous "Bongate View' Council tenements .. were openly dealing drugs to the townsfolk and were carrying out systematic burglaries of all premises within Jedburgh.

Not one of the gutless cowards on Jedburgh Community Council, or Scottish Borders Council, did anything about this mob ... even the local Police seemed powerless, while car after car and child after child visited Bongate View for their drugs supply. I remember one day, for instance, two uniformed Police officers were there to servce a warrant on the family's matriarch for shoplifting .. but customers had arrived for their weekend supply of cannabis & whatever .. so the son of the family had to sit in the car with the customers while the Police finished their business .... wholesome stuff, don't you think ?

The whole mess only ended when I asked Lothian & Borders CID from Hawick to use one of my fathers buildings in a surveillence operation against the dealers - but after months of work, the operation was botched and eventually, only meetings with the then head of Housing for the then Roxburgh District Council at Hawick, got this lot evicted .. to Niddrie in Edinburgh, where I'm sure they were happy.

What happened to the drugs ? well, the dealers only went to other parts of the town .. most of it was being brought in from Hawick anyway .. and I remember vividly, years later from the Bongate View troubles, a Tabloid reporter contacting me from Glasgow over a story that even a Policeman's son had been selling the ectasy drug at the town's secondary School ... again .. not much was done, and the boy certainly never prosecuted .. I wonder if that lad put on his cv he was a former drugs dealer too.

Suffice to say .. it was a horrible time .. something I have yet to write about in detail .. but it showed to me the depravity of the Jedburgh Community, where crooked elected Councillors were just liars .. basically criminals, really .. they would fiddle planning applications & lie .. happily make racist or sectarian comments in public .. run round spreading gossip & lies . out of a twisted jealousy which one can hardly define through words.

I think, I could safely call Jedburgh, the North Korea of the Scottish Borders. Just think of it that way .. and then make it about 10 times worse. I feel sorry for the good people there .. because there are some .. but the town is being run by a dangerous clique who will stop at nothing to get their way .. and violence seems just a part of their vast arsenal they employ against those which don't fit their mould.

I really don't see how the Town Provost Len Wyse can stand there pontificating about these things, when he refused to help me when I asked for Community Council support against those who were causing me grief ... I was told he arbitrarily declared at one Community Council meeting 'there would be no answering any letter from Peter Cherbi and no member of the Community Council was to contact him' .. after Councillor Hugh Wight jumped up one night and made a "frenzied verbal attack on me" .. wanting rid of me from the town.

Well, they got their way, I was driven out .. but Wyse, Wight, and the rest of them, are the problem for Jedburgh .. not the town's youth. After all .. how can the young be expected to act any different, when the adults act like, or worse than, animals.

Here then are a selection of articles from the "Southern Reporter"of news from Jedburgh, which saw a lot of bad publicity this week .. the story on town violence (which is excessive compared with other towns its size in the Borders) and the loss of the Jedburgh Cottage Hospital ... seems Jedburgh is dying on it's feet these days .. but I think the people should really be questioning who their leaders are .. because they aren't doing a good enough job at all.

Maybe the town would benefit from some new blood ?.

As for me .. I'm glad to be out of it ..and to be able to see from afar, what a silly, corrupt wee place it has become .. or was it ever anything different I now ask myself ...

Mob doesn't rule Jedburgh claims provost

CLAIMS that tourists will think twice before stopping overnight in Jedburgh because of "mob rule" by rowdy local teenagers have been dismissed by town provost Len Wyse this week, writes Mark Entwistle.

In last week's Southern, a visitor from Leicestershire complained about the behaviour of Jedburgh youngsters during a stay to celebrate a golden wedding anniversary.

D.T. Alexander, from Melton Mowbray, wrote that on previous trips the couple had always found Jedburgh to be "a quiet, respectful town and a pleasure to visit".

However, the letter continued: "On this occasion we walked along the river banks and up the town to get a meal. In the Market Place we observed a group of teenagers on the benches and they appeared to be indulging in alco-pops and other drinks.

"We returned to the guest house about 7.30pm and soon after we heard a lot of noise from Queen Street. A group of teenagers was observed – shouting, swearing, climbing over fences, being sick on the pavement and making a downright nuisance of themselves with their noise and behaviour.

This behaviour carried on until after 10pm – by this time the gang numbered between 20 to 30 teenagers. On going to my car on the following morning, I found that the windscreen wipers had been tampered with and the driver's side wing mirror ripped apart, with the glass smashed and the plastic components scattered.

"On making inquiries about reporting the vandalism to the police, I was informed that the police station at Jedburgh is unmanned after certain hours. I did wonder why no police intervened the previous night, but was informed that the nearest active police station was at Hawick.

"Speaking to other residents in the Queen Street area, they informed me that this behaviour is normal every Friday/Saturday night and most residents just shut their doors and curtains, and let mob rule roam the streets
"What a pity that Jedburgh has fallen victim to this obnoxious behaviour and no doubt many tourists, like myself, will think twice before stopping overnight".

However, Provost Wyse says the royal burgh is no different from any other Border towns when it comes to young people.

"I appreciate that older people may feel a bit threatened or intimidated by groups of youngsters hanging about, but apart from a bit of minor vandalism occasionally, there's no real problem. There's never any violence," he told TheSouthern this week.

"There's a bit of under-age drinking going on and that's what leads to the kids being a bit loud."

However, Provost Wyse did feel that a police presence on foot in the town more often – particularly at weekends – would go a long way to cracking down on such behaviour.

"That's what's really needed, more bobbies on the beat. We could do with more of that – however, the situation still isn't as bad as that letter in TheSouthern last week made out."

Century of care ends in tears
Bob Burgess

TEARS flowed this week as the last patients were moved out of Sister Margaret Cottage Hospital in Jedburgh.

There were similar scenes at Coldstream where the doors were also closed. Both hospitals have been axed by NHS Borders with the sanction of the Scottish Executive.

Campaigners who fought to retain the hospitals claimed the closures were part of a cost-cutting exercise – a charge denied by health service bosses who maintained they were part of a much-needed re-vamp to move the health service forward.

Staff members Carol Wright, Margaret Irving, Annie Stewart, Moira Kelly, above, prior to the closure. Photograph: Alastair Watson

The last patient moved out of Jedburgh on Tuesday and into the Borders General Hospital. Others have gone to the new Hawick community hospital and some have gone home. At Coldstream, patients have moved to The Inch at Kelso.

NHS Borders chairman Tony Taylor declared: "On behalf of the board, I would want to record my thanks and gratitude to all of the staff, both past and present, of Jedburgh and Coldstream hospitals for their personal service and for their major contribution to health care in these community hospitals."

Inside the Jedburgh hospital yesterday staff were preparing for the final shutdown. Minor emergency cover was being retained until 8am today

All that remained of more than a century of community care were memories and gratitude. Wards stood empty – beds stripped to the springs. In the deserted day-room a box full of well-read books and a battered box of draughts; a television and mini stereo bore the labels of their new destination – Millfield and Kelso.

On the walls of a corridor were colourful photos of happy Christmas parties, joyful concerts, proud visits by Jethart Callants; nurses and staff in comic dress, enthusiastic outings and merry birthday parties. We were told by one member of staff: "This is all so sad – very sad. They will realise in a few years time just how big a mistake they have made."

Looking at the photos another staff member told us: "The last patient left yesterday and when we came back into the hospital it was so very strange – no patients. We just stood still. It was so very quiet.

"There have been a lot of tears. Tears from patients, tears from their families and tears from staff."

But we were told that staff from the Sister Margaret had visited the Hawick hospital and found their former charges in good fettle. "They seem to be settling in fine after some early apprehension."

Jedburgh Provost Len Wyse who led the campaign to save the hospital stood in an empty ward and admitted: "This is a big blow to the town. I still believe that our case was not listened to – we had an excellent argument against closure, but it was ignored.

"I don't feel a lot just now but we have a meeting of our action group tonight and all this will really kick into me tomorrow."

Security guards move in today and tomorrow joiners will board up windows and doors.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Promoting the Scottish Borders in the USA, without telling the whole story ...

Laughably, the Conservative Scottish Borders Councillor & Convener Alisdair Hutton has been reported by BBC News as being in the USA on a chance to "promote the Borders across the Atlantic".

However, Mr Hutton, amongst other things, a former Conservative MEP & now Convener of SBC, won't be telling his audience the other side of the story .. the truth, in other words, which as a long time Borderer myself, I know from my own horrible experience living in the region .. which is that the Borders is run by something akin to a criminal gang .. an administration about as honest as a Drugs Cartel.

Yet, while Mr Hutton will be master of ceremonies at the 50th anniversary dinner held by the American Scottish Foundation in New York later this month at New York University's Club, what he won't be telling his audience is that the Scottish Borders is run by such an incompetent & corrupt administration that when it loses taxpayers .. or even investors funds ... it gets itself off the hook in all manner of devious ways and no one gets compensated. It seems a wonder these days what Conservative Party funds have done for people or those they have been involved with in the past ...

Just look, for instance, how Scottish Borders Council dealt with a $8 million dollar fraud in it's Education Budget ... blaming the whole thing on one man .. but where obviously, as I found out myself which was reported in Scotland on Sunday here Police probe claims of backhanders at council .. that many others were involved but of course .. got off the hook ... Link here : The Budget Chronicles a long & sorry saga here : Police probe £4m council deficit and here : Borders tax plan falters

Scottish Borders Council then dodged a Scottish Parliament investigation into the scandal, where officials from the Council were either retired or put on sick leave so they wouldn't be able to testify at the Parliament or give evidence in other parts of the investigation.

This kind of crooked conduct by the region's administration also extends into other areas, such as Social matters, where a woman was allowed to be abused for years by those who were supposed to be caring for her ... the Council seemingly knowing all about it .. but, doing nothing ... read here ; Miss X report passed to procurator-fiscal .. but the Council seems to have got itself off the hook again in this case, by removing documents from the investigation .. as Christine Grahame MSP claimed in a report here : Vital Miss X file removed, claims MSP and since the Borders social work chief quits .. they could bury the whole thing .. just like all the other scandals the Council seems to get itself into.

Then there was the incompetent way the Council handled the transfer of public housing stock to a firm set up from within the Council itself .. read here : Housing transfer plan in trouble .. which has resulted in a lot of broken promises to the regions tenants.

Yes, Alisdair Hutton won't be telling his audience about all this .. and the many other scandals which have hit the region .. from fraud & embezzlement by officials of Common Good funds & Land to private companies & indivduals .. to deliberate undervaluing of piblicly owned properties, to fiddled expenses claims, to bullying & harrassement & exploitation of workers, to fiddling complaints & investigations in serious crimes, and of course not forgetting members of local government who have been caught up in their own scandals .. which range from everything from charges of kerb crawling for prostitutes in Salamander Street, Edinburgh, to fiddling planning applications .. and there's a lot more .... a LOT more .. from this scandal hit region which never seems to improve. Phew .. and some people think there's corruption in China .. they should just take a look at the Scottish Borders !

I got involved in exposing some of the scandals of Scottish Borders Council ... as, being a resident of the region, I was sickened by the way it was being run ... and you know what ? it hasn't changed a bit.

The same crooked faces are still there in 2006 running their little empires, while the Borders languishes somewhere in the 19th Century ... and the politicians of the Borders - whether they are in Westminster, or the Scottish Parliament .. haven't done much at all for local affairs .. in fact .. mostly, with the odd exception, I would say .. the local politicians are a damn disgrace ... and I often wondered if they only got their positions because they got the sheep & rabbits to vote for them .. of which I think probably outnumber the local human population these days.

Even when people exposed the corruption at the Council, they themselves were targeted in merciless campaigns to hound them out of existence .. something which they did to me after my own local Councillor Wight revealed to me in a meeting there were backhanders flying all over the place in the education budget scaldal ... all of which was reported in the earlier Scotland on Sunday article I quoted.

Now .. don't get me wrong about the Scottish Borders ... I think the region is a lovely place .. in terms of countryside .. and there are some lovely towns too such as Kelso, Hawick, Selkirk ..but without a doubt .. local government in the region has turned out to be worse than the Russian Mafia. There are also plenty good people in the Borders .. but they don't run the region ... that is left to those who think they are a cut above everyone else .. but they aren't .. they are a few cuts below everyone else .. especially when it comes to honesty or transparency.

If something goes wrong with a public service, or a mistake is made by an official .. it seems the entire infrastructure of the region is brought into play to make sure there is a cover up.

For instance, in the Education Budget fraud scandal .. those officials who were 'retired' or put out on sick leave, with excuses they could never work again .. went on to even higher positions in private companies with higher salaries .. after the investigations into the frauds had concluded ... but they couldn't have escaped questioning on the affair if it hadn't been for those in charge of the region who 'put them out to grass'.

The "Miss X" rape scandal where Scottish Borders Social Work Department knew for years what was happening but did nothing .. and even worse, removed evidence & staff from the investigation .. again, another example of what goes on in the Borders when there is a need to cover up .. and it happend of course, to me in my case against the crooked lawyers, and particularly when my mother died at the local hospital.

I remember, for instance, when my mother died at the Borders General Hospital, through medical negligence, how everyone clammed up to lie about what happened in my mums death, and even how the Procurator Fiscal who was involved in the investigation, used the Police to try and protect the guilty from a proper investigation after I had to do a brain scan on my own mum in the Hospital there were people actively encouraged to write letters praising the Hospital for it's case - but the letters were fake. The Doctors who were involved protected each other .. and I went through a meeting with the then Administrator of the BGH John Glennie (now Chief Executive of NHS Borders) and Dr Gaddie . the then Medical Services Director .. who simply lied & dodged the questions I put to them in a meeting, which I was accompanied by two shocked members of the local Health Complaints Advocate system.

The crooked accountant Norman Howitt of Welch Accountants Hawick & Galashiels who ripped off my my family and stole my mothers pension & bank books, trying to set up secret trusts to keep the money for his own control ended up as a Board Member of the Borders College, was promoted to being a senior partner at his accountancy firm, has a position at Scottish Building a Board member of Eildon Housing weasled his way into all other walks of life .. along with the crooked lawyer Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors and Estate Agents, Kelso.... both rewarded highly by the region .. for being .. crooks .. and that is how it works in the Scottish Borders .. so it's not a very safe region to be investing in, as long as there is this culture of crookery.

Visitors to the Scottish Borders, and those who haven't lived there, or have experience ot the place, have the perception it is a quaint region .. lovely countryside, easy living, everything .. hunky-dory ... but as you can see, it is certainly very far from that.

"Something from the past" ... well, that's good for the tourists .. and the Councillors, flotsome poor quality politicians who would never get in anywhere else, a few crooked construction company owners, and not forgetting of course the regions crooked lawyers & accountancy firms & others who like to keep the Borders that way, so they can have their little fiefdoms ... but it's very bad for the locals .. bad for jobs, bad for investment, bad for just about everything else .. and is an almost perfect recipe for corruption, as scandal after scandal has demonstrated. I for one, would be very cautious about investing in the Scottish Borders with this lot in charge .. but maybe if we had a case of "regime change" .. and I think the Borders is certainly in need of that more than some countries in the Middle East ... we might see a region which thrives, rather than one which lives in the past ... and one which you can see, is run by a bunch of crooks & incompetents.

I will be writing more about my experiences in the Scottish Borders later this week and how one of Alisdair Hutton's Conservative colleagues, Councillor Mr Hugh Wight, (Jedburgh & District West) lied in meetings with myself & local Jedburgh Community Council members concerning a threatening & violent neighbour,& helped drive me out of my own home .. in what became a well organised, vindictive & malicious campaign against me by those who wanted me out.

What did I learn from all this ? exposing corruption comes at a price !

Councillor builds US connections

A leading councillor from the Borders will head a prestigious event designed to bolster Scots-American relations.

Scottish Borders Council's convener, Alasdair Hutton, will be master of ceremonies at a meeting of the American Scottish Foundation in New York.

The 50th anniversary dinner is to be held later this month at New York University's Club.

The society will present its Wallace Award to Euan Baird, former chairman of oil service giant Schlumberger Ltd.

Mr Hutton said: "This is a great honour and a chance to promote the Borders across the Atlantic.

"This gathering will bring together many people with Scottish roots and I look forward to giving them an up-to-date picture of the Borders as the ideal place to invest in and visit."

Mr Hutton has been writer and presenter with the Edinburgh Military Tattoo since 1992.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Scottish legal profession supports using family law cases to blackmail Executive for more legal aid fees & less reform.

Like North Korean dictators who are currently polluting our planet with nuclear tests, to make political ends for their benefit, the Scottish legal profession has decided to support it's own political campaign against reform of the legal profession, by the use of withdrawing representation for abuse victims & other types of family law cases, in the long running dispute over Civil legal aid feels with the Scottish Executive.

It's no accident that solicitors are now resorting to stronger tactics in their quest to gain more legal aid fees .. with the LPLA Bill currently being considered in the Scottish Parliament, anything which the legal profession can do to 'gum up the works' has been passed by the Law Society of Scotland as 'fair use' against the planned reforms of the way lawyers conduct business in Scotland.

What with the recent resignation of the Lord Advocate over 'unspecified matters', howls from many members of the legal profession, including retired judges, embittered over the loss of self regulation of complaints against their own members, we now see the true face of Scotland's hallowed legal fraternity ... who will stop at nothing to get their own way .. and there is more to come.

Not a very honourable thing for Scotlands legal profession to be doing .. and I haven't noticed retired judges such as Lord McCluskey & otbers in the judiciary, legal profession, or many msps coming out on this one to protest the Human Rights of the public to be defended in court, versus the thing they are so big on lately, being the howls of Human Rights abuse against the solicitors who face losing the power to regulate complaints against themselves. Surely the rights of abuse victims to be protected from violent attackers outweights the rights of lawyers to fiddle complaints against their colleagues ? One would surely think so ...

Of course .. pay someone what they want .. or allow them to set their own pay scales .. and you get a situation like this which we are now in ... and with lawyers over the years being used to milking the legal aid system for whatever they wanted (as long as it didn't include cases against other lawyers) ... they have gotten used to getting the levels of fees they asked for .. so in part, it is certainly the Executive's fault (and previous Governments of course) for allowing this situation to develop in the first place.

Civil legal aid rates are lower than Criminal legal aid rates, and Civil legal aid is more difficult to obtain than Criminal legal aid - because, barring the odd strike by lawyers using victims as a blackmail to obtain more legal aid, it is of course, a right for someone to be defended at a criminal trial - and if they have no defence or representation, either as a result of not being able to obtain a lawyer themselves, or having their legal aid withdrawn, occasionally, Sheriffs have dismissed criminal cases against accused on these grounds.

Civil legal aid applications can be opposed by the defender of the action - this alone, makes it obviously more difficult to persuade the Scottish Legal Aid Board that Civil legal aid should be granted in a case.

Many abuse victims have, at one point or anther, have also had to use a particular rule for claiming Civil legal aid, known as "Regulation 18" where a solicitor can apply for legal aid funding, on the basis they had to take urgent steps to bring a case into court for a client .. This rule has had to be used where there have been difficulties in obtaining Civil legal aid for such cases, in the past, however, sometimes SLAB have also been known to refuse 'Regulation 18" legal aid applications, dependent on the nature of the claimant's case.

A Solicitor can backdate a claim for legal aid using the "regulation 18" rule for emergency legal aid, and you can find out more about 'regulation 18" legal aid and how a case qualifies for it, Here

However, there are great dispartities in the way Civil legal aid is awarded by the Scottish Legal Aid Board, as anyone who has tried to make a claim for Civil legal aid knows .. and there is an even greater disparity in the way the legal profession treats particular types of civil law cases, particularly those which involve civil litigation against colleagues.

For instance, try making an application to the Scottish Legal Aid Board for Civil legal aid in a case against a crooked or negligent solicitor, and you would find, like many before you, it's almost impossible to obtain legal aid .

A claimant in a case against a lawyer, would be faced with all matter of representations coming in from the Law Society of Scotland & the rest of the legal profession to SLAB, to interdict a claimant's application for Civil legal aid. A good example, of this, is my own claim for Civil legal aid, which was obstructed by the Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland, Douglas Mill .. but this is typical of the Law Society of Scotland, who make sure most civil legal aid cases against lawyers get killed off, or are obstructed to the point they never make it to court.

For example, an applicant for civil legal aid (who may also be in receipt of state benefits), in a civil law case against a lawyer might find that the lawyer they are trying to bring to court, has supplied the Legal Aid Board with deliberately false or erroneous information against their person. This has happened many times.

Solicitors up and down Scotland, when faced with a case against themselves, have went all out to 'get' members of the public who have tried to claim against a crooked lawyer who has ruined their finances .. and such dirty tricks as providing false information to SLAB, false information to the Benefits Agency, and even false information to the Inland Revenue & the Police, is quite a common practice - and nothing is ever done about this by the Law Society of Scotland, or even, the Crown Office, who know full well what is happening.

If a claimant makes a knowingly false statement to the Legal Aid Board regarding their claim for legal aid - it;s a criminal offence - and the claimant can be prosecuted in such a case.

If a lawyer makes a knowingly false statement to the Legal Aid Board regarding a claim for legal aid in a court case against a lawyer - nothing is done ..

If a member of the public wishing to claim state benefits gives false informatino to the Benefits Agency .. they get prosecuted ..

If a lawyer or a professional colleague, such as, an accountant, provides false information to the Benefits Agency against a member of the public who is trying to take that lawyer or accountant to court .. nothing gets done but the information remains on file, and is almost impossible for that member of the public to challenge.

I wonder if we may have a few words from the new Lord Advocate, Elish Angiolini ?

I would hope the Lord Advocate should have a role & somethjing to say for the public's point of view in this legal aid battle .. where undoubtably, the interests of the public far outweigh the financial interests of the legal profession to rack up legal aid fees.

However, nothing seems to stop lawyers using the most vulnerable people in society for their own financial ends, as we see today in the Scotsman newspaper, who report on more strike threats by the legal profession if their demands for increased legal aid payments aren't met by the Scottish Executive.

Strike threat may see abuse victims go to court without lawyer

SCOTTISH lawyers are threatening to strike over legal aid payments in a move that could force victims of domestic violence to represent themselves in court.

Family lawyers are furious about the recent introduction of fixed fees for civil legal aid, which replaced itemised payments and an hourly rate for court work.

The Scotsman has learned that a number of family lawyers have called for strike action in the hope of forcing the Scottish Executive to change its policy.

Rachael Kelsey, chairwoman of the Family Law Association, said: "There is a strong feeling among family lawyers that this is coming to a crisis. Some members have said we will have to strike.

"We simply can't afford to do this kind of work anymore; my hairdresser charges more for hourly work than I get paid for legal aid work."

Many lawyers are refusing to represent families in divorce, child custody and domestic abuse cases in an escalating dispute over legal aid.

Next month, the association's 300 members will meet to discuss the option of an all-out boycott of legal aid work, introducing strike action for the first time in its 20-year history.

"We will hold a meeting to canvass views on the prospect of a strike. It would mean a ban on all legal aid work," said Ms Kelsey. "If you have someone who is suffering domestic violence, they would have to represent themselves in court against their alleged abuser.

"I'm currently representing a ten-year-old girl in a particularly difficult case. A strike would mean I would not be able to represent her. It would be heart-breaking to pull out of that case ... but if the association voted for a strike, I would not be a strike-breaker."

Lawyers warned yesterday that a range of sensitive court work would be placed in jeopardy and the most vulnerable clients, including children, would be let down.

A spokeswoman for Scottish Women's Aid said it was appalling that women should be forced to represent themselves in court. "The courts are not places for lay people," she said. "Family law is very complex and needs to be handled sensitively.

"These women won't know the law and to represent themselves could be hugely detrimental to their case."

In recent weeks, the Family Law Association has received more than 100 letters from members concerned about the rates of pay for legal aid work.

Family lawyers have cut the amount of publicly-funded family work they are prepared to carry out as they believe current legal aid payments are so poor.

Helen Hughes, a family lawyer in Paisley, said: "The fees we're paid simply do not reflect the amount of work done.

"In some cases, we're getting about £30 an hour for drawing up writs, appearing in court and speaking to very vulnerable clients. You're running at a loss when you take into account the rent and staff salaries."

A Scottish Executive spokesman said it was currently in negotiation with lawyers over possible changes to the fees for civil legal aid.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Scotland gets a new Lord Advocate - will anything change ?

Last week saw the pantomime of Colin Boyd's resignation from the post of Lord Advocate take up headlines in the press, provoked by some of the members of Scotland's legal profession who were busy whispering words in the ears of many that Scottish law was falling to bits .. because of the planned reforms put forward by the Scottish Executive .. one of those, unsurprisingly, being the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill.

So, was Boyd's departure the self-motivated resignation he claimed it to be ? or more of a well planned and cafefully orchestrated protest at reforms to the legal system, which the Law Society, Judiciary & Faculty of Advocates, all want to kill off ?

I believe it was the latter .. and it certainly gave those at the Law Society & Judiciary a 'well timed' chance to jump up & down in a frenzy claiming they were needed to keep the legal system on an even keel ... which they haven't been doing for the past 50 years ...

We were even treated to critisisms of the appointment of Elish Angiolini as the new Lord Advocate .. before the appointment had even been made .. with lawyers & even retired members of the judiciary running around at all hours of the day briefing journalists on the woes of not appointing a trusty member of the Faculty of Advocates to the position ... to follow in the vein of Colin Boyd QC & his predecessors. Even worse for some, was the fact the new appointment was to be a woman .. which allegedly drew scathing private remarks from some who should know better - who should even practice what they preach ...

In any case, now the fuss has died down, Ms Angiolini has spoken of her priorities ...the usual things we can expect .. but will she also look at the running of the Crown Office ?

For years, the Crown Office, full of lawyers itself of course, has turned a blind eye to corruption in the legal profession ... putting off the public's pleads for criminal inquiries into crooked lawyers as a 'civil matter' ... and it has been extremely noticable over the years, that even those lawyers who have been convicted of criminal offences in trials .. have gotten off lightly compared with say, someone who wasn't a lawyer .. or fellow professional. Indeed, some of the Crown Office's own Procurator Fiscals ... lawyers themselves, have got off lightly in criminal cases against them when it has come to sexual offences, corruption .. and a lot more, and the Fiscals Service has a regulatory & complaints procedure which is just as corrupt as the Law Society of Scotland.

For those of us who have ever tried to get the Crown Office to investigate a complaint against a crooked lawyer .. the battle has often been an uphill one, with the inevitable result the Crown Office turns on the member of the public making the complaint .. and either sets the Police on them in an attempt to shut them up .. or has let the Law Society of Scotland know some things, on the side .. in an effort to discredit the complainant & save their fellow lawyer ... not a very pretty picture at all .. the Police & prosecution service being used to defend crooked lawyers against their comeupence, is it ?

I often wondered, for instance, why crooked lawyer Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors and Estate Agents, Kelso didn't get arrested & prosecuted for fiddling & deceiving the Inland Revenue & conducting a fraudulent deception of a Bank .. after all, it was all in the Law Society of Scotland report on what he did .. and just how crooked he was .. but .. no criminal prosecution, of someone who has obviously been engaged in criminal acts (and in how many other undiscovered cases ?) ..

Also, looking deeper into the actions of crooked Borders Accountant Norman Howitt of the equally crooked Borders firm of Welch & Co Accountants, Hawick & Galashiels , who also robbed & looted my family with the backing of their colleagues at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland

I wonder why Norman Howitt wasn't prosecutied in a criminal case for also deceiving the Inland Revenue .. a Bank .. and also even using the local Police to try and cover up the fact he had sold my late father's car to a close friend & business associate ? .. why no prosecution there then ? of two obvious crooks who should be behind bars ... and certainly not still working as a lawyer and an accountant ...The Lord Adocate knew all about it at the time, and so did Boyd .. but did nothing. Last time I looked, it was a crime to defraud or lie to the Inland Revenue .. or gain from a deception of a financial institution .. and well .. using the Police to cover up a crime itself, by providing false information ... well .. that would certainly be a crime too, wouldn't it ?

The truth though, is much worse of course .. as there are many like me in Scotland who tried to get the Crown Office to investigate crooked lawyers & their partners in crime ... but not one letter to successive Lord Advocates over all these years, by a wronged client of one of Scotland's glorious legal professionals has resulted in a successful prosecution & jail term. I wonder why ? Was it that successive Lord Advocates were happy with this ? .. that doesn't say much for law & order then .. after all, a crime is a crime, no matter who it's committed by.

Will the new Lord Advocate change the policy of letting the white collar crooks off the hook .. just because they are members of the legal profession, or some other hallowed bastian of corruption which runs Scotland tehse days ?

I hope so, rather than just concentrating on the easier to get criminals in society to satisfy political spin & statistics used by the Executive to spin a yarn the prosecution service is doing it's job .. which it clearly isn't .. but the truth is, it's up to us, the victims & the public, to campaign .

To test the new Lord Advocate's resolve, a man from Dumfrieshire has lodged a complaint against Colin Boyd, in a matter which has seen allegations of evidence tampering by the Crown Office, alteration of writs in the Court of Session .. and even a recent favourable decision by the Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion, in favour of the complainant who had apparently been wilfully obstructed by his local Police force in FOI disclosure requests, which you can read about here ; Here

In the light of the Information Commissioner's decision for Mr James Duff in his case, I would actively encourage anyone who has made a complaint against a member of the legal profession, which has resulted in the use of the Police to threaten or harrass them .. to make a similar FOI request to their Police Force as Mr Duff did ... and publish the results for all to see. I wonder how Ms Angiolini will handle these cases .. and the many more to come ?

Wouldn't it just be as well to put their hands up and admit the corruption & cover up.. just as in the McKie case, and make some substantive attempt to clear Scots Law ? rather than maintian it in it's crooked state it has existed in for years ?

Getting tough on petty crime

SCOTLAND'S new Lord Advocate yesterday promised to put tackling anti-social behaviour at the centre of the criminal justice system.

Elish Angiolini said people who commit acts such as urinating in the street and vandalism will be hit with new fines within days of the crime - while courts will be freed up to deal swiftly with offenders responsible for "one-man crime waves".

In her first interview since she was chosen on Thursday to replace Lord Boyd, QC, as Scotland's top prosecutor, Ms Angiolini told The Scotsman she would bring prosecutors closer to people living in communities blighted by anti-social behaviour who, she acknowledged, have lost confidence in the criminal justice system.

She said: "You cannot devise what is in the public interest in the cosy cocoon of an office. You need to be out there, need to be exposed to the communities who are actually suffering.

"There is nothing more instrumental for a prosecutor - who may consider murder as the most serious case which requires very close consideration and urinating up someone's close as at the minor end - to actually go into that close and see what it's like, to live with the smells, with the fact when you have kept a nice garden box someone is using it to dump empty cans.

"That type of anti-social behaviour and quality-of-life crime is what really corrodes the confidence of many communities and makes life utterly unbearable.

"What we need to do now is have a summary justice that is problem-solving in its approach. That has already started with youth courts, domestic courts, drugs courts, but we need to look at how we can make the community feel the current criminal justice system is there to serve them and is responsive to them.

"While the criminal justice system must be independent, that does not mean it has to be isolated. Independence which requires isolation is a very immature view of independence."

Her commitment to tackling anti-social behaviour will be welcomed by Jack McConnell, the First Minister, and Cathy Jamieson, the justice minister, who have come under fire for failing to meet targets to reduce the number of persistent young offenders.

In 2005-6, the number of persistent young offenders recorded was 1,338 - up 10 per cent on the previous year's figure of 1,260 and 16 per cent higher than the 1,201 in 2003-4.

Ministers have repeatedly accused councils of not imposing enough anti-social behaviour orders on serious troublemakers. Since 2004, six dispersal orders, banning groups from gathering in certain areas, have been issued and last year 169 ASBOs were applied.

Ms Angiolini, who has still to be formally sworn in as Lord Advocate, said major reforms to speed up justice would free the hand of prosecutors to target persistent offenders causing the bulk of anti-social behaviour.

Under the new Criminal Proceedings Bill, the maximum fine fiscals can impose on offenders will be raised from £100 to £500. New compensation orders will also be introduced, allowing fiscals to require a minor offender to pay compensation of up to £5,000 to their victim without the case coming to court.

These measures, she said, will "allow prosecutors to be much more creative" and allow for the "court's energies to be targeted on the persistent offender, the one-man crime wave, or one-woman crime wave, who we know have disproportionate effect on the local community".

The fines would also enable those who "take a tentative step into criminality" to face justice more quickly.

"It is something of a legal cliche that justice delayed is justice denied. The importance not just for victims but also for accused of bringing the disposal of the case close to the actual event brings home to them the fact this is serious and emphasises the need for change.

"If you have that disposal 18 months down the line, it does not allow accused to reflect more closely. If you have a fiscal fine, ensuring that is imposed within days or weeks of the event where someone pleads guilty, that becomes much more possible."

She said changes to the management of High Court cases, which have slashed delays and led to a 70 per cent fall in the number of witnesses called to court, would be extended to the sheriff courts, with trials in absence being permitted in summary cases if the accused fails to appear and the court considers it in the interests of justice.

Other changes include giving fiscals the power to apply to the court to "roll up" all outstanding fines against an individual into one single case, even if the charges are from different sheriffdoms - ensuring better use of court time and resources.

"The new reforms will really shake up summary justice in such a way as to remove the delays and the artificial situation which persists where the accused pleads not guilty at the first, second and third trial diet, before pleading guilty at the fourth diet 14 months down the line," she said.

The impact of such abuse of the system, she said, was "totally unacceptable".

But Margaret Mitchell, the justice spokeswoman for the Scottish Conservatives, last night voiced concern about giving prosecutors more power to dispense justice.

"It is very rare that £500 fines are given out in the district court, and they can sometimes deal with some bad assaults," she said. "I wouldn't want the message going out to the victims that these crimes are being pushed aside. It's important to many of them that the criminal is brought to court."

Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish National Party's justice spokesman, welcomed Ms Angiolini's pledge to target anti-social behaviour. "I think she is quite right," he said, adding that we need to inculcate "a culture of responsibility. People have to recognise they have responsibilities as well as rights.

"Summary justice has to live up to its name. We have to ensure basic legal rights are protected, but also that crimes are dealt with speedily and efficiently.

"The system has to work much faster and with less complexity than it does."