Thursday, January 04, 2007

Complaining against a lawyer ? You should expect a knock from the Police

To all those who made complaints against lawyers .... how long was it before the Police ended up at your door, armed with 'anonymous tips' or information from 'unquotable sources' you were up to something ?

Well, for those who have made complaints of a significant nature against their lawyer .. be that a local lawyer in a small town, or one of the so-called Edinburgh 'high-flyers' ... it doesn't take long before either yourself or other members of your family gain the attention of the Police.

For many who have contacted me over the years, it seems to be little more than a few weeks after making the complaint to the Law Society of Scotland .. about their crooked lawyer,

For me, well .. when I made my complaint against crooked lawyer Andrew Penman , of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso , I sent a copy to the Scotsman newspaper, back in 1994 .. so I had media attention .. and it took the Police a wee while longer to come knocking on my door. Take it from me, going to the Press as soon as I made the complaint against Penman was probably one of the best things I did for myself, and ultimately, my campaign to bring independent regulation to the legal profession in Scotland.

Scotsman 18 October 1994 Son threatens to walk away from inheritance after legal row

There was another difference though ... I knew the Police in the Borders quite well .. (don't forget, they were almost living with us for several months to catch a gang of drug dealers in Jedburgh) .. so the Police talked [on the side] .. told me what was going on and why I was being targeted. That was the junior officers, you understand .. not the 'big white chiefs' .. with all their wire braiding ... that lot were obviously well in the hook of the legal mafia.

I remember some of these incidents quite well.

One Saturday afternoon, for instance, PC Keith Sudlow, turned up on his own at my house in Bongate, Jedburgh, on account that Norman Howitt , the crooked accountant who had ripped off my dad's estate .. and even worse, had stolen my mum's pension book, had made a claim he was being threatened over the sale of my dad's car to his business partner. The origin of the 'threat', was unspecified, but my name was given by Howitt to the Police at Wilton Hill Police Station, Hawick.

However, what had actually happened was that Norman Howitt had given the false information to the Police to knock me off the scent of finding out who he had actually sold the car to at the time - which turned out to be Felix Sears , of Melrose - who was well known to Norman Howitt as a friend & business associate. I hadn't known of the identity of the purchaser of my dad's car at the time - but was told that by the Police .. so Howitt's plan sort of backfired and ended up giving me more information on his crooked dealings involving my dad's estate.

What knocked that particular Police inquiry on it's head, was the wee snippet of information that when Norman Howitt secretly sold my dad's car to his friend, Felix Sears, he stuffed the money into his firm's business accounts - the crooked firm of Borders accountants : Welch & Co, Chartered Accountants, Hawick & Galashiels

When the Cops verified that information .. that was it ... a few off the record apologies to me .. but no action against Norman Howitt - who I think certainly should have been charged with providing false information to the Police, to cover up his own crimes. Wouldn't you agree ?

Another incident I remember quite well, was 30 October 1997, when 3 Police officers, among them, Sergeant Murray, PC Stuart Roughhead & one other, ended up outside our kitchen door brandishing a search warrant & one of those thingies to bash in the door of a house.

Quite a surreal incident that morning, I must admit .... talking to my mum for a few minutes & her giving me a shopping list, then the cops try to break down the door.

Why were the Police at my house that day ?

Well, they had received information from one of the lawyers I had made a complaint against, that I was up to no good .. so they were here to shake me & my mum down.

Of course, the Police entered the house, and began having a look around, then after Sgt Murray actually decided to tell me his name, I asked, "hmm .. are you by any chance, Kevin Murray's dad ?" .

His face went as white as a sheet. He said "Yes, I am. How do you know Kevin ?"

"Well", I said, "Kevin, your son, has been one of the CID officers operating in my house & property for months to catch the drugs gangs in Bongate View".

The officers looked at each other in astonishment, and I could see what was going to happen next.

The 'search' on the bogus information provided by one of the crooked lawyers I was complaining against, stopped. The conversation then went on to stuff such as "ooch, the weather is a wee bit chilly today" & "how nice the posters were on my bedroom wall" ... It seemed one particular blonde caught the eye of Sgt Murray .... If the new retired Sgt Murray is reading this, he will no doubt remember verbatim what happened that day .. or of course, I could play it back to him ...

So that was it .. search ended, after I had asked what the hell was going on, why were we being searched, and why, then the Police had been in our house for so long, was I obviously being accused of something I couldn't have possibly been up to - whatever that was .. because I still don't know.

After the officers left, I found out a wee bit more about what had happened.

It seemed .. the clever lawyers & their friends in the Police, had been unaware of the months long Police operation at my house .. and that when the Procurator Fiscal had been asked to sign the search warrant for my house on that morning, he was actually fresh from a meeting with the Officer in charge of G Division CID at the time, discussing the actual operation to catch the drugs dealers in Bongate View.

Well, there is another version .. perhaps more sinister ...

I was told that the information may have been given to the Police to kill off the drugs operation against the Jedburgh drugs dealers .. so they could go on selling drugs ... I certainly didn't believe that at the time, but come to think of it now, the family who were selling the drugs to all the Jedburgh kids, were represented by this particular legal firm .... so you see .. there could have been a motive there.

I remember a string of other visits from the Police, all on the back of false information provided by crooked lawyers in an attempt to 'persuade' me into dropping complaints against them .. but of course, I had too much press attention .. so nothing could ever really be done against me on that level ... lucky me ..because some of the other visits had the prospect of harm to myself.

Well, the Herald Newspaper is reporting that another individual seems to have gone through the same as me - a few years before my experience ... and the alleged Police involvement in a long history of intimidation & worse against the individual, Mr Duff, seems to spring from .. complaints made against lawyers.

Well, I am running another story related to this issue soon, .. so I wont spoil that one, but for now, read of Mr James Duff's experiences with the Police .. and remember folks ... it seems to be quite common for crooked lawyers to provide the Cops with malicious allegations against complaining clients, to cover up their crooked behaviour .. and this tactic mostly works .. although not so much in my case, as there are still plenty in the Police who give me snippets of information on crooked lawyers and a whole lot more besides ...

While reading the Herald's story on Mr Duff, you might like to read FOI Commissioner Kevin Dunion's decision in favour of Mr Duff on his FOI request to the Police - which is now currently in the Court of Session .. Decision 068-2005 (pdf document)

http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/77924.html

15th-century law brings police chief to court
ALAN MacDERMID January 03 2007

A former businessman who claims to have been ruined by faked police reports has invoked an ancient Scottish law to have a chief constable brought to court.

Jim Duff used an action known as lawburrows, dating to 1429, to obtain a warrant citing David Strang, head of Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary, to appear.

It was granted by Sheriff Smith at Dumfries Sheriff Court and the hearing is due to take place there on January 18.

In his court papers Mr Duff, a former housebuilder from Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire, stated he was in business until 1976 when he was "illegally made bankrupt".

He alleged that Mr Strang's officers had for years been involved in defrauding him of his lands, house and money by conspiring with a former Dumfries solicitor.

Lawburrows is described as an ancient Scottish remedy against anticipated physical harm to a person or damage to property. To obtain an order for lawburrows, the applicant must show he has reasonable cause to believe the respondent will cause bodily harm to him, his family or property. It is easier to obtain than an interdict and could require Mr Strang to post a bond of up to £10,000 for his future behaviour.

Mr Duff claimed he had "a vast amount of evidence" to prove his cases, including fake police reports. He said that, in January 2005, he applied under the Freedom of Information Act for copies of the reports, and claimed that, when he received them, officers' names were blanked out on the orders of the chief constable. He had been ordered later by the commissioner to name the officers, which he had done.

Mr Duff said he had written to Mr Strang 83 times between 2004 and 2006 advising him that reports had been fabricated and requesting him to ask another chief constable to investigate. He said Mr Strang refused and "incited his officers to further fabricate reports in order to mislead the procurator-fiscal and the Crown Office."

Mr Duff said he had been living in fear for years and believed the chief constable "would continue his vendetta against him".

His action calls for the sheriff to order Mr Strang to find caution of £10,000 "or such other sum as the court considers appropriate" and if he fails to do so to grant warrant for his imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months.

Last year, Mr Duff raised a similar action against the Lord Advocate at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. It was dismissed, but he is appealing and a hearing has been set for January 23.

Mr Strang was not available for comment yesterday.

How lawburrows 'terrify evil doers'

Lawburrows was first enacted by the parliament of James I in 1429 as a remedy against threats to the safety of members of the public. The aim stated in the Act was "...to prevent such delinquencies (the issuing of threats) and terrify evil doers..."

It has a number of advantages over the interdict – the most common action against someone who threatens violence – which can be refused by the court on the grounds of public interest, requiring witnesses to be provided by the applicant. It also leaves uncertainty about what happens should the defender disobey the interdict. If it is a first offence, a nominal punishment or warning may be imposed.

Lawburrows, however, is noted for its simplicity, speed of execution, low cost of process and the absolute certainty of the exact penalty should the order be contravened. Neither the police nor procurator-fiscal is initially involved.

In an initial writ to the Sheriff Court, the pursuer asserts that he fears harm to his person, property, family, tenant or employees from the defender. He asks the sheriff to obtain a certain sum of money (a "caution") or a bond as security against being molested or troubled further by the defender.

As soon as this writ is received, the sheriff must immediately order it to be served on the defender and a date for an early hearing has to be fixed.

At the hearing, the standard of proof is "on the balance of probabilities" as in other civil actions, so only one credible witness is needed if there is evidence to show there are reasonable grounds for the pursuer's fear of harm.

If the pursuer is successful, the sheriff can order a sum of money to be found (or a bond to be given) and he can order that, should the defender fail to provide this, he shall be imprisoned for up to six months. If the defender does any harm of the kind specified in the writ, the pursuer may raise an action for "contravention of lawburrows" asking that the money be divided equally between the Crown and himself

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lawyers do favours for cops so in return they get their irritating clients taken care of.
Just have a listen to some of the chats between lawyers & cops at the sheriff courts .. you will pick up plenty of that - along with a few lawyers telling on their clients !

Anonymous said...

Lothian & Borders Police must be squirming when they read this.

Who got the leg up in promotion for harassing you over Penman & Howitt ?

Anonymous said...

5 weeks after I wrote to the Law Society about my lawyer our local plod visited us with a seatch warrant looking for drugs.

the wife of a now retired plod told us her husband told her the informant was the lawyers wife !

Anonymous said...

Hopefully I'm your first comment on this one.

If a lawyer came to me offering a favor in exchange for doing over one of his unhappy clients, I'd stick the cuffs on him myself.

I don't know about colleagues in Scotland though as it seems you are in some kind of nutcase land up there where the lawyers are in charge of everything.

I'm going to look into this one and I might just do an article for the Police Federation magazine.

Expect an email soon Mr Cherbi, and keep up the fight.I don't know too many colleagues who like lawyers anyway, so I'd guess there would be quite a bit of support for you.

Oh, I liked your comments in the Scotsman about the legal profession failing to declare their criminal convictions, but Police Forces being forced under FOI to declare the numbers of offenders within their ranks. See - Google does pay off sometimes.

Anonymous said...

What you said sounds quite convincing and I agree with the other comments mostly,

If the Police were being used in this way, what passes for Government in Scotland must have been aware of these types of cases for a long time.

Why have lawyers been allowed to use the Police in this way for so long against poorly managed clients ?

What are your plans for taking this further ?

Anonymous said...

disgusting

these bastards need the same done to them. DONT USE SCOTTISH LAWYERS THEY ARE CROOKS

Jez said...

That's an old sunbeam talbot in the picture with your dad. I remember those !

The words you are struggling to find, Mr Cherbi are : State supported Police intimidation of the public on behalf of the legal profession, but it doesn't stop there.

If you complain against your lawyer, also expect the Benefits Agency, Inland Revenue,local council and just about anyone else they can think of to contact, round at your house making your life a misery.

Why do you think the Police have been able to hang on to their own complaints procedures for so long ? Because the lawyers had the same.

Now you have brought that one to an end, take a look at the crooked cops. Lothian & Borders certainly has a bad name in that field .. what with selling destroyed guns, selling drugs at city nightclubs, giving drunk councillors rides around the city, I'm sure there are plenty stories there to run a blog on it's own.

Anonymous said...

doesnt surprise me one bit

bent lawyers go hand in hand with bent cops

how man cops have been getting cheap houses for favours for crooked lawyers ?

Anonymous said...

in support of your 3rd anonymous reply

My entire family has been hounded by the Police since making a complaint to the Law Society against our lawyer

My son has been followed around by the same 2 constables for weeks even though he has done nothing wrong and we never had any trouble until i made the complaint

Anonymous said...

lawyer tells fibs on client to cops
cops search clients house, maybe even plant some evidence.
client gets arrested for something they havent dont.
client gers rubbish defence in court and gets convicted for something they havent done
lawyer gets off the hook while client rots in jail

am i right ?

ok time to turn the tables on these bastards then

Anonymous said...

you are opening a giant can of worms Cherbi .Who knows what else will come out now.

Anonymous said...

better watch out Cherbi

those crooked lawyers might try and feed u some polonium

watcher said...

Yet if you tell the Police about your problems with crooked lawyers, they shout its a civil matter and dont want to know, but if the crooked lawyer rings up the Chief Constable and wants a favour, he gets his wish on a gold plate.

It's good to see this being talked about now on the web.

Dan said...

The lack of howls of protest from the legal profession seem to confirm your report Peter.

Just how widespread is this ? sounds like it could be a routine procedure for the lawyers when they get into difficulty with clients.

Anonymous said...

The rat bastard lawyer we complained against phoned our lenders to say we were broke & couldnt pay our mortgate.

Archie said...

Hi Pete

Good post and plenty comments :)

I bet all those crooked lawyers do this to get out of complaints.

Anonymous said...

The Law Society have encouraged solicitors who face client complaints to hand in any information which could benefit their position - that includes giving the Police false tips.

Anonymous said...

After all these years of persecution suddenly I have clarity! thank you.