Thanks for all your emails and posts regarding my last article on the Scottish Executive FOI disclosure on material regarding the failure to implement Sections 25-29 of the Law Reform (Misc Provisions) Act 1990, including of course, the communications from the then Lord Advocate's Office regarding delaying such changes and even floating the idea of repeal.
Most of you seem to agree, along with several journalists I know, that this particular FOI disclosure has, at the very least, a few omissions which would lead the reader to suspect persons or organisations were being protected from implication in maintaining the monopoly by lawyers and advocates over availability of legal representation.
Among a few articles I missed in the media last week, was the story of one of the Law Society's shining stars, Angela Baillie, aka Ally McDeal, the drugs running lawyer who smuggled narcotics into jail for one of her clients, who managed an early release - earlier than probably anyone else, considering what she did.
Of course, lawyers do get preferential treatment, don't they ? and that seems to include matters arising from criminal charges & convictions ...where Scotland's legal profession is littered with solicitors who have criminal records or have been charged with serious criminal offences.
What are the odds, for instance, that a rape victim's lawyer has actually been charged with rape himself ... well .. the odds are shortened on that one in Scotland, dear readers .. and we certainly don't get to know about it, because such records are more secret than the files of MI5 .... although sometimes a wee dribble of a story leaks to the media, where for instance, a Crown Office employee - a Fiscal, who was prosecuting a case, was actually dragged out of court to face charges of child pornography ... just imagine the odds then of someone like that prosecuting someone for the same offences they were charged with .. in Scotland ? more than likely it seems, despite the Freedom of Information Act.
I was also sent an article regarding the thoughts of some politicians against clients of solicitors - nothing very good I'm afraid ... and of course the politicians concerned, are lawyers themselves ... ho hum ... words can certainly come back to haunt people later on then ... but I wonder how one of those politicians named in the articles would tackle a client of a lawyer whose daughter was threatened with rape unless the complaints were dropped against that crooked lawyer ... I wonder if said politician would call said client a 'malcontent' ? ... more to come on that one soon ...
Anyway, without further ado, the article on Angela Baillie, from the Daily Record - good thing the Record noticed it too .. because the rest missed it ... link in the headline of course.
Neighbours' anger as she goes home
By Craig Mcdonald
DRUG-DEALING lawyer Angela Baillie was lying low last night after being freed from prison less than a year into a 32-month sentence.
Baillie, 33, was at her £200,000 semi-detached house in Newton Mearns, on the outskirts of Glasgow.
Neighbours last night spoke of their fury that Baillie - nicknamed Ally McDeal after the TV lawyer - had chosen to return.
One said: "We all remember the time police raided her place and she was out screaming at them in the street.
"There has even been a gun brought to the house. It's outrageous. This is a quiet neighbourhood and people like her are just not wanted."
Former criminal defence lawyer Baillie destroyed her career when she was caught smuggling drugs to a client in Glasgow's Barlinnie Prison in October 2005.
The drugs were stuffed in a cigarette packet.
Last year, at the High Court in Paisley, Baillie admitted dealing in heroin and diazepam worth £1600 and was later jailed.
Baillie said at the time that she would never return to her home in Newton Mearns for fear of reprisals from her former client's family.
During the court case, it was revealed that a female relative of a client had brought a gun to Baillie's house in October 2005.
The woman asked Baillie to keep the gun for her.
Baillie told the Record as she awaited sentence: "I'll never go back to my home. I don't feel safe enough. The house has been cleared and I'll not be back."
But family and friends are understood to have redecorated the property in recent weeks.
It's thought that her 15-year-old daughter, who has been staying with family for the past year, may also eventually move back into the three-bedroom house.
Baillie will be tagged as part of the home detention curfew scheme, which allows prisoners to be released before serving even half of their sentences.
During her time in prison, the Crown sought £52,000 in cash it was claimed Baillie had made from dealing drugs.
Last month, she agreed to pay £5000 but did not admit it came from selling drugs.
Baillie is understood to have a couple of allies in her cul-de-sac. But most locals are aghast at her return.
One neighbour said: "The feeling is, she is showing some nerve by coming back.
"She had a particularly nasty run-in with one woman here.
"People are actually afraid of her. They know about the types she has mixed with and worry they will be here - maybe to carry out reprisals against her.
"It would be a relief if she just took herself off somewhere else."
and a little history on Angela Baillie from The Scotsman ....
'Ally McDeal' ordered to hand over £5,000 crime profits for acting as prison drug mule
JOHN ROBERTSON AND STEPHEN MCGINTY
SITTING on a padded bench at the High Court in Edinburgh, Angela Baillie was yesterday confronted with the financial cost of her crime. The designer suits, elegant handbags and promising career were gone. Instead, the former solicitor was clothed in a green jumper, her long dark hair lank and loose.
For the last 11 months Baillie, 33, who has been dubbed "Ally McDeal" in the tabloid press, has resided in a single cell at Cornton Vale women's prison in Stirlingshire, which she has tried to brighten with photographs of her 16-year-old daughter, her family and what few friends remain.
Last April, she was convicted of drug dealing by smuggling heroin and diazepam tablets worth £1,558 to an inmate at Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow.
The authorities believed Baillie was a veteran drug mule. However, she was charged and convicted on a single incident, which her defence team insisted was carried out under duress and in fear for her life and that of her daughter.
The Crown Office had sought a confiscation order for £52,556, which officials believed were the proceeds of her crimes. Yesterday, they were forced to settle for just £5,000.
Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, Baillie was expected to provide written evidence - including bank statements - that the total sum sought was legally earned. She successfully argued that for £47,556 of the £52,000.
Baillie, formerly of Newton Mearns, Glasgow, had admitted being concerned in the supply of the drugs passed in a cigarette packet to a client during a prison visit in October 2005, while working for a criminal-law firm in Glasgow.
Baillie - who is the daughter of Frank Baillie, a successful businessman and a former director of Scottish & Universal Newspapers - claimed she was pressurised into carrying the package by a female relative of a senior underworld figure, who visited her home and showed her a gun.
Former friends of Baillie described her as being attracted by the illicit thrill of associating with gangsters. She was also a cocaine addict with a history of psychiatric problems, which were later diagnosed as manic depression. In 2002, she took an overdose of paracetamol, and agreed to be treated for drug addiction at the Priory Clinic in Surrey. She attempted suicide again in 2004.
During her trial last year, the court was told that Baillie's history of psychiatric problems left her unable to resist the gangland figure's demand to deliver the drugs. On 23 October 2005, she visited Barlinnie Prison and passed over the cigarette packet to a prisoner. However, authorities had been tipped off and the prisoner was later strip-searched and the drugs discovered.
As well as receiving a 32-month jail term, Baillie was faced with action under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which allows authorities to examine an offender's financial records going back six years, and to calculate legitimate income and the total sum received.
In confiscation cases, two figures are recorded - the proceeds of general criminal conduct, and the amount to be confiscated. Often, an offender's known, realisable assets are insufficient to cover the proceeds and the amount seized can therefore be much lower.
In January, a cocaine trafficker whose proceeds of crime were more than £300,000 had a confiscation order of £1 made against him as he had no possessions of any worth. However, if any are discovered in the future, they may be seized.
Defence counsel Mark Moir said he had been instructed by Baillie to agree £5,000 should be recorded as the proceeds of her general criminal conduct.
He added: "The instructions have been tendered on the basis that the onus is on an accused to account for all monies passing through their bank account in the last six years. With a number of cheques and monies [in Baillie's case], the source cannot be verified because the bank's microfiche system has effectively been deleted. She is unable to satisfy the legislation on these matters and unable to rebut the presumption made in the act, and accepts the figure of £5,000 is to be the proceeds of her general criminal conduct."
Barry Divers, the advocate-depute, confirmed the figure and said a confiscation order should be made in the same amount, with Baillie to be given two months to pay. The judge made formal orders to verify the agreement.
During her time at Cornton Vale, Baillie has reportedly worked in the beauty salon and assisted Margaret "Mags" Haney, a convicted drug dealer, in completing her autobiography by marking libellous passages. It was also reported she was assaulted by one prisoner for not sharing her newspapers.
Baillie is eligible to be fitted with an electronic tag and may be released in May, after serving less than half her sentence