Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Justice Secretary MacAskill misused Government appointments regulator in ‘jobs for lawyers’ scandal

Emerging evidence after my article last week reporting the Justice Secretary Mr MacAskill’s appointment of a lawyer identified in a claims & complaints fixing scandal at the Law Society of Scotland , now indicates the Justice Secretary may have deliberately misused references to the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland, or OCPAS as it is generally known, which performs its duties according to legislation to independently regulate Ministerial appointments.

It seems the Justice Secretary felt, due to the nature of the tricky appointments of Martin McAllister and Lady Smith to the Judicial Appointments Board, his Department had to bring in an OCPAS Assessor to justify a series of appointments which now look increasingly like 'jobs for the boys’ .. or at least, jobs for lawyers ….

The problem for Mr MacAskill in that endeavour was that according to OCPAS itself who issued a statement : Appointments to the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland are not currently regulated by the Commissioner. We are not in a position to assign OCPAS Assessors to oversee appointments to the board of this body until such time as those appointments are statutorily brought within our remit. We did not assign an OCPAS Assessor to oversee these appointments.”

In my article of last week I revealed that :

Martin McAllister 2000*Martin McAllister who was appointed to the Judicial Appointments Board by Kenny MacAskill, was identified by Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney in a claims & complaints fixing scandal at the Law Society of Scotland, which sought to delay and destroy claims from clients & members of the public against well known crooked lawyers.

Lady Smith*Lady Smith, who was also appointed to the Judicial Appointments Board by Kenny MacAskill, saw her husband, David Smith only a few weeks earlier appointed, to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission , also by Kenny MacAskill, giving Scotland a legal first in an unprecedented 'husband and wife team' on key judicial and legal regulation reforms.

Since my article of last week, it has emerged through an investigation with OCPAS, the Justice Secretary and Justice Department may have knowingly and falsely claimed the OCPAS assessor had acted in her professional capacity as an OCPAS assessor and had followed and passed Mr MacAskill’s appointments to the Judicial Appointments Board.

A ‘legal insider’ on the scandal claimed today “There is no way the Justice Department can claim ignorance over OCPAS rules which have been well known in Government for years.”

This therefore, seems to have been a clear and deliberate attempt by the Justice Minister and Scottish Government Justice Department to mislead the public and Parliament on the nature of key legal appointments.

Kenny MacAskillJustice Secretary MacAskill commented last week : "The Judicial Appointments Board currently operates on an administrative basis and is therefore not subject to OCPAS regulations. However, the selection panel included an OCPAS assessor and followed good recruitment practice in making the recommendations for appointment."

When asked about the Justice Secretary's statement, OCPAS angrily denied they had been contacted by Scottish Ministers over the Judicial Appointments or that their their Assessor, identified as Anja Amsel, was acting in her professional capacity as an appointments assessor :

OCPASOCPAS "We were not contacted by Scottish Government to assign an OCPAS Assessor to this appointments round. As these are not regulated appointments at the current time we would not have, in any case, been able to provide an OCPAS Assessor to oversee the round.

The relevant Scottish Government sponsor team for appointments to this body will have entered into a private agreement with the individual [Anja Amsel] who oversaw the round."

Late last week, after my report had been published, the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland upon a brief investigation, ordered the Justice Department to re-write Kenny MacAskill's Press Release, ordering no reference be made to OCPAS under the circumstances, which then ended up as the following “However, the selection panel included an OCPAS assessor acting in an independent capacity and followed good recruitment practice in making the recommendations for appointment."

It seems however, the Justice Secretary was determined to keep in the OCPAS reference, albeit tentatively, to justify his appointment of colleagues in the legal profession to key areas of recent reforms to judicial and legal regulation.

While there is no suggestion at this stage that Ms Amsel did anything wrong, it remains questionable of Mr MacAskill why the Justice Department have been so reluctant to remove reference to her involvement despite requests from OCPAS to remove references to their department.

However, yesterday, OCPAS again ordered the Government to rewrite Kenny MacAskill's release an unprecedented second time seeing that any reference to OCPAS was removed :

OCPAS Statement “[OCPAS] have … written to the relevant sponsor team this afternoon asking for a second change to the press release such that reference to OCPAS is removed”

As of this afternoon, no effort had yet been made by the Government to correct Mr MacAskill’s failing claims of transparency for the Judicial Appointments Board selection …

The roots of Mr MacAskill's determination to involve OCPAS in the tricky appointments of colleagues from the legal establishment to these key areas of regulation appear to lie in the fact that OCPAS is carrying out an investigation into related appointments by Mr MacAskill of senior lawyers & Law Society Committee members, widely seen as sleazy in nature to what was to be the ‘independent’ Scottish Legal Complaints Commission which you can read more about here :

Call for MacAskill appointments 'sleaze investigation' as revelations show Legal Complaints Commission member was subject of Police inquiry

A source within the Government who did not wish to be identified said today that "Mr MacAskill and the Justice Department seem to have felt that dragging OCPAS into the appointments to the Judicial Appointments Board would be advantageous to the Government, weakening the independence of OCPAS and any possibility of a further investigation by anyone into Mr McAllister & Lady Smith's appointment to the Judicial Appointment Board."

So, while the Justice Department claimed an honest mistake had been made, it seems the Scottish Government deliberately set out to undermine any potential investigation into Mr MacAskills appointments to the Judicial Appointments Board, by involving a ministerial regulator already involved in an investigation related to one of the appointees, namely Lady Smith, but which OCPAS, in this case, had no remit to regulate ...

Guidance from the Office of Public Appointments for Scotland is fairly straightforward :

“Use of the Code as guidance

The Commissioner recognises that unregulated bodies may use the Code as guidance. In such instances, the OCPAS regulated logo may not appear in publicity or other materials relating to the appointment round. Leaflets and other information about OCPAS may not be included in the application pack.”

I understand that when bodies choose to do so they may refer to Government for a list of individuals who are willing to work on unregulated rounds on a freelance basis. Under no circumstances are such individuals permitted to advise that they are doing so in the capacity of OCPAS Assessor"

That seems fairly clear, and Mr MacAskill was well aware of those terms, so why did he choose to use OCPAS to justify what now appears to be a questionable appointments process to panel which appoints Scotland's judges ?

The Office of Public Appointments for Scotland were having none of Mr MacAskill's excuses, their statement continued to contradict the Justice Secretary's claims of an innocent muddle .. :

OCPAS Statement : "[OCPAS has...] discussed the press release with the relevant Scottish Government sponsor team and explained our expectation that no reference should be made to the use of OCPAS Assessors (OAs) unless they are working in that capacity. OAs may only work in that capacity on appointment rounds regulated by the Commissioner. As advised previously, appointments to JABS are not currently regulated by the Commissioner"

In a startling rebuff to the Justice Secretary amid a sense of sleaze in recent Ministerial appointments to the likes of the Judicial Appointments Board, the Office of Public Appointments for Scotland has now changed the rules under which their assessors work, and issued the following stern statement :

"The Commissioner has already changed OCPAS policy on the type of work that OCPAS Assessors may do such that in future no acting OCPAS Assessor may work as an independent assessor on unregulated appointments rounds. Revised service level agreements have been issued to all OAs to reflect that change in policy."

So it looks like Ministers trying to appoint professional colleagues and husband & wife teams to key regulatory positions wont be able any longer to drag in the Office of Public Appointments for Scotland to justify jobs for the boys. Well .. that surely is a good development .. and a little more scrutiny wont hurt anyone who doesn't have something to hide ...

A source within OCPAS then went on to confirm that Ms Amsel who was asked by the Justice Department to sit in on Kenny MacAskill's appointments selection is to leave OCPAS this year : "Anja Amsel and one other assessor, who are working notice on the old service level agreements which allowed this practice, are ceasing to work for OCPAS this year."

OCPAS have now been asked to investigate why their office has been misused in this way in an apparent attempt to justify the appointments to the Judicial Appointments Board.

Well done Mr MacAskill. How many more organisations and people will you rope in to smooth over courtesy appointments from the legal establishment to keep business, expenses claims, salaries and regulation among themselves ?

Mr MacAskill, how about some showing some Ministerial responsibility towards the Scottish public instead of putting the legal profession above ordinary people’s rights and consumer protection ?

Is it not about time we had a truly independent regulator of Scotland’s legal profession, instead of Law Society of Scotland string pulling and your acquiescence to it ?

71 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting if complicated.

I'd say MacAskill looks a liar.AGAIN.

How far can this be pursued ? Can you ask for some kind of independent investigation if that is actually possible these days in Scotland ?

wee frees said...

wow ! You will either be dead by the end of the day or hailed as the new Sherlock Holmes !

Anonymous said...

hubby gets a job and so does the wife
hubby is a lawyer wife is a judge and was a lawyer
both appointed by same numptie (McAskill)

something definitely going on there !

Anonymous said...

Good story and definitely shows up MacBuckfast.

His next claim will be to deny the whole thing aka it happened on a dark and stormy night

Poirot said...

I don't mean to pull you up Peter but you forgot to mention (unless you didn't know) that another member of the Judicial Appointments Board has been appointed to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission by Kenny MacAskill - Alan Paterson

http://cci.scot.nhs.uk/News/Releases/2008/01/10100426

Alan Paterson is Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Professional Legal Studies at Strathclyde University, an independent "Think Tank" on the Scottish Legal System. He has researched in, and published on, the regulation of lawyers and the provision of public legal services for over twenty years. Although he is qualified as a solicitor in Scotland, Professor Paterson has never practised. He is currently a research adviser to the Scottish Legal Aid Board, a lay member of the Judicial Appointments Board and a co-opted member of the Council of the Law Society.

This is all about keeping jobs between those in the legal establishment, isn't it so obvious ?

Anonymous said...

you are MAKING ME DIZZY Peter with your inquiry into lawyers but i see your point

maybe the honourable lady smith would like to withdraw herself or her husband from one or both of those positions

mcallister should resign too on the strength of that memo in the other story

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr MacAskill

I am not a lawyer nor am I a Judge. I am not a banker nor am I a wanker. I am not a member of the SNP nor will I ever be as I see you are no different from the rest.

Can I have a job please on one of your quangos at £300 a day and may I get a little extra to see my dog gets walked and wife gets a car.

Thank you very much looking forward to your swift offer of a position.

Yours fleetingly

Avid Fan,

Anonymous said...

ok so what you are saying is that macaskill fabricated someones say so in some official capacity he did well on appointing a lawyer who is mixed up in something iffy and a judge whose husband he appointed a few weeks to something else law related

if that is so it is sleazy and crooked and needs to be sorted out

Anonymous said...

This would be too complicated a story if it wasnt for the Judge and her husband.Now that is something worth reporting and also the memo and the lawyer too.

Do you know if Martin McAllister is on any other quangos worth commenting on ?

Anonymous said...

I am assuming none of this would have got out if you had not written about it.

Well good thing you did Peter because it all looks very costy a judge her husband and a well known lawyer appointed by Kenny.

Who next for a job?
His pet dog if he has one?

Anonymous said...

"Mr MacAskill and the Justice Department seem to have felt that dragging OCPAS into the appointments to the Judicial Appointments Board would be advantageous to the Government, weakening the independence of OCPAS and any possibility of a further investigation by anyone into Mr McAllister & Lady Smith's appointment to the Judicial Appointment Board."

Stating the obvious I think !

Anonymous said...

Well there should be an investigation into what you say Peter.If its all true which it seems to be there must be someone held accountable even if its just some low lying idiot in the Justice Department someone must be flogged for this mess !

Anonymous said...

So more smoke and mirrors from Mr MacAskill, this time to disguise the thoroughly dubious appointments of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

And, while due and proper legal process descends further from travesty to farce, more deafening silence from Mr. Salmond and Mr. Swinney.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 2.05pm

Yes I have done exactly that.

# Wee Frees

Of those choices, Sherlock Holmes I hope !

# Anonymous @ 2.29pm

Yes .. an investigation by someone independent if such a person can be found might establish some clarity and truth.

# Anonymous @ 2.43pm

Possibly ...

# Poirot @ 2.52pm

Thanks, yes I knew of Alan Patterson's position but the story is complicated enough without mentioning more !

# Anonymous @ 3.02pm

I doubt it.

# Anonymous @ 3.34pm

Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.

# Anonymous @ 4.04pm

I will look into that .. but as they say, in for a penny, in for a pound ...

# Anonymous @ 4.12pm

You never know ...

# Anonymous @ 4.15pm

Yes I agree.

# Anonymous @ 4.46pm

I'm sure they will find someone to take the blame for Mr MacAskill. People will do anything for money or favouritism these days as you can see ...

# Anonymous @ 4.54pm

I think you found the root of the story !

Anonymous said...

oh look comments !

It will all be blamed on a faulty typewriter or something but for Mr & Mrs Judge lawyer being given jobs which deserves an explanation !

GOOD ONE PETER KEEP IT UP MATE !

Anonymous said...

I don't understand all the ins and outs of what is going on here but I can see MacAskill did say something he shouldn't have and in saying that he justified via another person or this ocpas what he did in giving these people jobs

I believe you.Macaskill was wrong is wrong and should go.

Anonymous said...

I have never heard of OCPAS until reading your posting.

Its a wee bit complicated Peter and I'm sure people might get lost in the detail but you got the denial from OCPAS so that takes care of Mr M who is proved a liar.

Good work as always now go help Donald Findlay - I hear he needs a decent assistant !

Anonymous said...

Its interesting that no matter who is in power these lawyers seem to get their way every time and Kenny MacAskill is no different.Hes just the same as the rest but now exposed as a bit of a conman to say the least.

Keep up the good work !

Anonymous said...

Douglas Mill still causing problems with his memo even though hes long gone.

I bet they never thought you would write about the Judge and her husband.I think McAskill might just have slipped up on that one and will have to be held to account.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Nice to know Scotland is still as corrupt as ever and even with the fabled SNP in charge !

Don't call us and we wont call any of u !

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the whitewash has already began to cover up these job appointments and no one will find out a thing and nothing will happen.Face it Peter the SNP are rotten to the core just like the rest of them and any trust you have in John Swinney to do different is just plain stupid.
You would be better exposing ice as being cold.Maybe someone with a few years to spare inside will sort out their lawyer and that will be an end to all these complaints whitewashes.It will be worth it.

Carn a' Mhaim said...

Clearly you have hit on something very secret yet important in your posting.

There should be an investigation into these appointments and for the sake of transparency I too feel we need a new Justice Minister.

Some may not like you for your writing but I think you deserve a round of congrats for daring to expose what is really going on right under our noses.

Anonymous said...

Making more trouble in the legal world and why not Mr Cherbi.
I am sick and fed up of being accused of being a crooked lawyer like the small minority within the profession but appointments such as these only serve to reinforce the idea the entire profession are dishonest.
Maybe MacAskill doesn't even count in the appointments process.He cant be much of a minister to allow this kind of thing now can he.

Anonymous said...

I can imagine there is an inquiry going on about this story.

The OCPAS denial is very damning against Kenny.I too think he should step down even though he wont because he will feel very happy at sliding Lady Smith and McAllister into those jobs.

Anonymous said...

Watch your back Peter.MacAskill might send one of his hitmen to wipe you out or do something against you.

Anonymous said...

Well done Peter.I don't think I know anyone who could have put that story together.You should have been a detective !

You will not be in Lady Smith's good books now but I think you have served the public interest very well in what you wrote.

Anonymous said...

I hear this memo is becoming a big embarrassment to John Swinney because nothing has been done about it.Keep it up and shame them all Peter.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 5.17pm

Just reporting the facts, but thanks for the vote of confidence !

# Anonymous @ 6.15pm

I agree with your comment. Of course ... if Mr MacAskill were to change his ways, then he wouldn't have to go .. but I don't believe he will anyway .. honour and the sake of preserving it is not something of obvious value to this Government.

# Anonymous @ 6.34pm

The facts stand as they are and OCPAS denied any contact from the Government or any part in the appointments, which the Justice Secretary implied in his Press Release.

Had it not been for my investigation none of this would have come out.

# Anonymous @ 7.23pm

I agree with you.

# Anonymous @ 8.35pm

I hope so ... although I'm sure they are worming their way around these issues at this very moment ... as others are pointing out.

# Anonymous @ 9.28pm

The fault of that lies with the politicians, not the people of Scotland.

# Anonymous @ 9.54pm

Interesting comment although I'm not sure I want to know what is meant by some of it.

# "Carn a' Mhaim" @ 10.22pm

Thanks for your comment. I do wish people would be more questioning of what goes on around them ...

# Anonymous @ 9.58am

If you are in the legal profession yourself, you could help to correct matters ...

# Anonymous @ 11.03am

Instead of "inquiry" think "whitewash" as others have already mentioned.

# Anonymous @ 12.05pm

Well if anything happens I will be able to blame the Justice Secretary then.

A repeat of Leslie Cumming on the cards just for revealing the truth is it ?

# Anonymous @ 1.05pm

The Scottish Government have issued reaction to the story today, citing the Lord President as giving the recommendation for Lady Smith's appointment.

# Anonymous @ 1.52pm

Its his fault for not doing anything about it.

Mr Swinney is a Minister now, has been for a long time ... he can surely see this scandal is put to bed and people whose lives have been ruined by a scandal he knows very well are given a measure of justice everyone certainly deserves.

Anonymous said...

Interesting last comment Peter.If you are being threatened by anyone over your exposing of corruption in the legal world I will report all of this to the Police and the newspapers everywhere and if Kenny MAcAskill has anything to do with it I will go and stand outside Bute house with posters until someone is arrested.

You have friends.

Anonymous said...

How can anyone try to justify appointing a husband and wife to similar positions on similar panels.Very fishy indeed !

Anonymous said...

Oh Peter you are causing a few problems again.I just heard on the wire the Justice Secretary is terribly upset over you breaking this story.

Could it be there are plans to allow the legal establishment to rule themselves just as they have been doing for years before even you came on the scene ?

Anonymous said...

I think its very worrying all this is passing off over our heads and no one doing anything about it except you maybe and I agree with everyone else this is definitely jobs for the boys !

Anonymous said...

Read this and your other story on it and easily conclude Kenny is well out of order on this one.

How did you discover it in the first place because it looks like it was all kept quiet

Anonymous said...

VERY SINISTER APPOINTMENTS PLEASE MAKE THEM INVESTIGATE THIS PETER GOOD TO SEE YOU REVEAL THIS CORRUPT GOVERNMENT ARE LIKE ALL THE REST

Anonymous said...

good write up of something I never heard of in my life

maybe as you say we need to be a bit more questioning and not read about it after it happens

good luck with what you are doing and be careful too !

Anonymous said...

Maybe this was all decided over MacAskill's head and he simply doesn't have the balls to do otherwise.Even taking that into account its still not on giving a husband one job and the wife the other no matter who they are.

I shaft my fellow Scots said...

Hi Peter

Hows things? Long time no post!

Still after Scotland's crooked "Justice" (INjustice) Secretary i see. Good good! Me too!!

The man's a disgrace to Scotland and his fellow ordinary Scots and needs to be ousted asap for the good of all Scots seeking the truth and justice for themselves and their loved ... cause you'll never find it at his or Salmond's doors folks.

Here's the proof:

Newsdesk / Press Release

Wednesday 13 August 2008

Please find below (and attached) an appeal to the First Minister Of Scotland, Alex Salmond MSP / MP, in relation to the very sad, tragic and appalling case of a brain injured victim whose case has been whitewashed by the Edinburgh / Scottish authorities over the past 2 decades.

But Mr Salmond still fails to take any positive action and help in any way whatsoever...

Please contact me should you require further information.

Your time and interest is appreciated.

__________

Alex Salmond MSP / MP
First Minister of Scotland
The Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh
EH99 1SP

Wednesday 6 August 2008

Dear Mr Salmond,

Request for the return of confidential photographs and files from the SNP - Letter No.20 (Since 12 February 2007) Requesting Same

Further to my last three letters to you of 5 and 19 May and 23 June, I am writing to request of you once again the return of all case files documents and photographs currently being unlawfully withheld from my family by your Mr MacAskill. I have copied my last three letters to you to Mr MacAskill, but he completely ignores these requests and is obviously not prepared to release these files to my family.

Given you instructed me to contact Mr MacAskill about this very serious matter and he clearly is ignoring these requests, I can only ask of you once again to personally intervene in this very serious case of the terrible abuse, neglect and ill-treatment of my son over the past 19½ years – as I have been asking (begging and pleading with you in effect) over the past 18 months, since my first letter of 12 February 2007.

Thank you for your time and full co-operation.

I look forward to hearing from you personally in early course.

As with all previous letters to you, this letter will be copied to both your constituency office and the Scottish Parliament – and hand delivered to Bute House

[Resent Wednesday 6 August 2008 – cc: Kenny MacAskill MSP, Cabinet Secretary For Justice (By post to parliament and by hand to constituency office)]

______________________________

Keep it up Peter. One of the most decent, honest, helpful and bravest guys i know ... and THE true champion of the underdog seeking the truth and justice in Scotland.

Take care - stay safe and well.

All the best to you and yours.

Aye,

Al

Anonymous said...

A very interesting piece of journalism Peter.

It looks like these departments of your government are at each other's throats.I wouldn't trust any and these 'appointments' are very suspicious !

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't you be better to concentrate on the Law Society slipping their candidate into the Judicial Appointments Board than asking for the Justice Secretary's resignation ?
If MacAskill has to go it takes the heat off everyone else but I suppose he wont do anything about it anyway so it just shows how corrupt all these people really are.

Excellent work exposing it nonetheless.

SNP = SNouty Pigs in the trough said...

Yes the SNP have their snouts in the trough and any friend who supports the SNP will get their snout filled with a nice little job too so no surprised at your story.

Anonymous said...

Obviously these appointments are wrong and should be abandoned

Anonymous said...

I hear Campbell Smith in Edinburgh are involved in a huge client scandal Peter.I think your investigative talents are needed because there is another cover up in progress !

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 3.03pm

Don't get into trouble solely on my account - form a group and stand outside Bute House and tell Mr Salmond to attend to Justice and Scots expectation of it. If you want I will help with the posters !...

# Anonymous @ 3.52pm

Easy to justify such a thing in the Scots legal sector ... where no regulation is definitely bad regulation !

# Anonymous @ 4.07pm

Well if Mr MacAskill is upset he should be putting the interests of ordinary Scots first as the country expects.

I think those tried and tested plans of the legal profession to run itself have been in place for a very long time ...

# Anonymous @ 4.38pm

Quite obvious, isn't it .. and seemingly no shame about it at all !

# Anonymous @ 5.20pm

Good investigative practice ...

# Anonymous @ 6.23pm

I agree ... quite sinister to say the least ..

# Anonymous @ 7.22pm

Yes .. I think we all need to be more questioning of events ...

# Anonymous @ 7.51pm

You have a valid point .. if Kenny MacAskill had refused the Lord President's recommendation of Lady Smith to the Judicial Appointments Board, he would have now been looking for another job I'm sure.

# "I shaft my fellow scots" @ 11.57pm

Thanks for your comment, and yes I agree it is disgusting of someone in office to ignore or refuse to help a person suffering from a disability or illness or someone who suffers an injustice ... such people have no place in power or a right to rule over us in any moral superiority as they have none.

If Mr Salmond is troubling himself enough with the problems of Scotland to read this blog and these comments, please do the right thing and help this person.

# Anonymous @ 5.31am

It seems they are ...

# Anonymous @ 9.09am

You have a good point, although the Justice Secretary must show a bit of Ministerial responsibility here and do the right thing for the public instead of his colleagues in the legal profession who want to continue running themselves, wouldn't you say ?

# Anonymous @ 12.47pm

I agree.

# Anonymous @ 12.56pm

Thanks for that, and if you have any more details please contact me via email or post a comment marked 'do not publish'.

Thanks for all your comments and emails which I am getting though.

justice said...

Actually Peter that idea about standing outside Bute House is brilliant.

I am a criminal defence solicitor and as you know Mr Mac is cutting our legal aid.

I expect you might not be too bothered about that but you will agree I think everyone is entitled to legal representation when faced with criminal charges especially if those charges may turn out to be malicious or misrepresenting of the facts.

I have an idea too.

I will find some colleagues and join you and anyone else who would like to stand outside Bute House and show Mr Salmond the poor state of people's rights in Scotland from your point of view and my point of view as a criminal defence solicitor.

Please say yes and leave this comment up for anyone who may wish to join our foray.

I will email you my true identity rather than leave it here.

Anonymous said...

Well done Peter.Giving people a forum to get some justice against these bloody crooked lawyers !

I watched some of those clips you have on your blog of Kenny MacAskill saying he will protect lawyers and owes them a great debt.

He should be sacked for what he said !

Anonymous said...

I don't believe MacAskill.He just doesn't have any believability at all no matter what he says.Even if he were telling the truth it would appear to be a lie and for that we need as you say a better justice minister

Peter Cherbi said...

# "Justice" @ 3.24pm

I have received your email.Thanks.

If your offer is serious and your intention honest, and you are willing to help people who are suffering injustice, we can all only gain by your proposal but has to be all the way .. not some half measures or empty promises we have all heard in the past.

Incidentally I do agree with everyone having the right to legal representation ... but the legal profession itself should not be able to dictate who can and cannot get access to legal representation.

As a profession you must open your monopoly over the individual's access to justice in all areas of justice, not just ones that suit.

# Anonymous @ 4.02pm

Yes .. only a lawyer would of course say such things ... at the expense of the rest of us.

# Anonymous @ 4.25pm

I understand one of his party colleagues said very much the same !

Anonymous said...

What a laugh ! If lawyers are going to go out and protest over lack of legal aid cash I think we will find new uses for snowploughs !

Peter don't join in with this lot they can't be trusted and I dont think they will be bothered about anyone except themselves.

Anonymous said...

Pity that stupid parliament isnt on just now we could have had a field day with this great story !

Keep up the good work Peter.

Anonymous said...

The comment from "justice" is ridiculous.There will be no lawyers loitering round Bute House with posters demanding more legal aid neither will there be any posters demanding clients be respected.

Now lets get back to the topic which is Kenny MacAskill is giving his colleagues all the key jobs and perks !

Anonymous said...

Well reported Peter.Now I understand how bad things are in Scotland.Feel like moving ?

Anonymous said...

Wow amazing the SNP censors didn't stop you from publishing this one Peter.You know they are very hard on people who expose their little mishaps,even when the BBC is there!
http://keziadugdale.blogspot.com/2008/07/exclusive-nicola-sturgeon-reads-soapbox.html

Anonymous said...

Finally had a chance to read the whole thing and its very exciting !
The Justice Secretary will be banking on the fact what happened is too complicated for most to decipher and that's why people get away with corruption.
Keep at it Peter !

Anonymous said...

I have heard these assessors have been involved in some dodgy appointments before now but this is the first time I've read such a scandal in print.
Maybe some of the chicken little Scottish rags should have a look into it too :)

Anonymous said...

So little doubt now the SNP are censoring the news and WTF is up with the BBC here ? are they so petrified of Salmond's mob they withhold legitimate news footage of his understudy getting thrown out during an interview ?

And to think the BBC continually slag off China for censorship ! They are just as bad ! Worse even !

Anonymous said...

Good effort and interesting to see the SNP caught doing the same as every other political party - ie giving their friends and supporters jobs.
If you don't believe me, just look into the background of some of those you have named - very sucky sucky up to the SNP !

Anonymous said...

So some independent numptie who probably isnt independent at all thinks its ok to appoint the wife to one position and say nothing about her husband getting a similar job ???

now thats what I call fucked up !

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr CHerbi,I have written to Kenny MacAskill many times about the Law Society who did nothing about my lawyer who ruined my business and continues to hound my family.He gets his staff to write back saying he can do nothing and tells me to go back to the Law Society who tell me they will do nothing.
I think Kenny MacAskill is in their pocket completely as your stories suggest and we need a new justice minister.He is not interested in doing anything for people only for his lawyer firends.

too many crooks in scotland said...

A very telling comment at 1202.I wonder how many people have written to shyster MacAskill in the same way and got nowhere - it really proves he hates Scottish people and puts lawyers first.OUT KENNY OUT NOW FOR SCOTLANDS SAKE

Anonymous said...

really peter i have a lot of respect for what you are doing but who is going to be prepared to sit down and write write write again about complaining against their lawyer someone has to make an example of one of these evil crooks so they wont do it again

Anonymous said...

Justice in Scotland is definitely doomed at the hands of the SNP,well MacAskill at least.
Why doesn't someone wake up and replace him?

Anonymous said...

You are very outspoken about corrupt lawyers and I like that very much.

You are my hero!
Keep up the good work Peter !

Anonymous said...

To the person who said he wrote to Mr MacAskill about the Law Society.

I used to work at the Scottish Government.We got letters all the time about the ****ing Law Society and couldn't do a thing about it.Your letter was likely passed onto the Law Society as they were in my day.

Peter.Good luck with your campaign.I remember reading about you all the time at work !

Carn a' Mhaim said...

Well done Mr MacAskill. How many more organisations and people will you rope in to smooth over courtesy appointments from the legal establishment to keep business, expenses claims, salaries and regulation among themselves ?

As many as the legal establishment feel they must 'rope in' to survive.

Mr MacAskill, how about some showing some Ministerial responsibility towards the Scottish public instead of putting the legal profession above ordinary people’s rights and consumer protection ?

You proceed from a false assumption Peter.Mr MacAskill as a politician and a lawyer will never put the needs of the public over the interests of the legal profession.He doesn't need to because the legal profession bankrolls him,and maybe his party.

Is it not about time we had a truly independent regulator of Scotland’s legal profession, instead of Law Society of Scotland string pulling and your acquiescence to it ?

Yes Peter absolutely but unless you end up as the Justice Secretary, Scotland will never get such a thing so it will never happen !

Cause some more trouble Peter.You are doing a great job.Who would be idiot enough to use any lawyer now in Scotland after reading your work !

Anonymous said...

Maybe Kenny thinks this way : No justice is good justice and helps keep the bucks rolling in and we learn from this the SNP justice policy puts money before justice just like with their Police recruitment policy where they cant employ even a single Police Officer due to giving all the cash away to party members projects and party donors contracts.

Anonymous said...

Kenny MacAskill admitted "It wisnae me I dinnae have the power"

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7566875.stm


Minister defends 'secret fines'
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill
Mr MacAskill said it was not for him to direct the Crown on the matter

Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill has defended secret guidelines telling prosecutors which offences should be dealt with by fixed penalty fines.

Defence lawyers have claimed the Crown Office should reveal the guidelines to allay suspicions that serious offences are being treated too lightly.

A BBC Scotland request for the guidance to be published had been refused.

Mr MacAskill said the Crown did not publish guidelines for good reason and that the right balance had been struck.

He told BBC Radio Scotland it was not for him to direct the Crown on the matter.

He said of the lawyers' criticism: "What we have to look at is the reality on the ground and not the special pleading from vested interests.


Our suspicion is that the real reason these guidelines are not being disclosed is that the public would be frankly disgusted at the way in which they are treating cases
Colin Bissett
Defence lawyer

"I think the correct balance is served for the public.

"We know what is meant to be dealt with in summary justice reforms - that it should be less serious offences, that it will not be domestic violence, that it will not be serious assaults, it will not be sexual assaults."

Mr MacAskill, who was a defence solicitor before he entered politics, added: "We can't go back to the situation where we routinely had lawyers tendering pleas of not guilty, and anything up to 18 months later the accused put their hands up and had a fine imposed for a relatively minor offence.

"This isn't just about looking after the interests of lawyers for the accused.

"We have to fundamentally look after the interests of our community."

'Three-stitch rule'

Defence lawyer Colin Bissett told The Investigation, a BBC Radio Scotland documentary which looked into the matter: "We have heard all sorts of rumours as to what these guidelines are - famously the three-stitch rule.

"If someone is the victim of an assault, but the resulting injury does not require three stitches or more, then its appropriate for a person to be issued with a fixed penalty.

"Our suspicion is that it is in the guidelines and the real reason why these guidelines are not being disclosed is that the public would be frankly disgusted at the way in which they are treating cases of this nature."

But the Crown Office head of policy, John Logue, defended the non-publication of the guidelines, saying these contained detailed guidance and it would be wrong to disclose to potential offenders how cases would be dealt with.

Denying the three-stitches claim, Mr Logue told the documentary: "That rumour could really only be suggested by someone who did not understand the way in which these decisions are taken.

"You take into account the nature of the injury that's caused - but in no way would you as a prosecutor take a decision based on whether it's a particular number of stitches or a different number of stitches."

Scottish information commissioner Kevin Dunion said he had no power to release the guidelines to the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act.

He explained: "It is not the case that I have looked at the Crown Office guidelines and refused to release them.

"I simply have no power to come to such a view or to make such a determination in any case involving information held by the Lord Advocate."

Anonymous said...

Just disgusting the whole thing and MacAskill should be out of his job for this.It really shatters any pretence of impartiality when jobs are going to husband and wife teams.Sick and corrupt.

Anonymous said...

I also wrote to Mr MacAskill about how badly the Law Society treated my complaint against our very bent lawyer and one of his office boys replied telling us they were not interested.I don't think MacAskill is interested in anything which drags down his crooked legal friends which is why everyone is getting the bums rush over bent lawyers.

Maybe we should all go and stand outside bute house or do a hunger strike until Salmond gets himself in gear and does something for us.

Good luck and keep up the good reporting !

wonder years said...

I can see why the Law Society want to shut you up.You have blown most of their tricks on complaints right out the window.Good for you Peter and keep it up !
Maybe some more clients should give these crooked lawyers a piece of their mind too !

Anonymous said...

Good comments from all concerned Peter.You did a thorough job on the story and certainly show these appointments by Kenny MacAskill to be dodgy at best.
I prefer to think people such as yourself will prevail over this kind of behaviour by our politicians but usually they get their way.
Keep up the good fight and your excellent writing.

Anonymous said...

You should have linked this story to your latest Mr Cherbi considering the relevancy.
It looks like SG has been using OCPAS to justify slightly questionable appointments when they feel like it,so much they perhaps felt able to order OCPAS not to make the FOI release to you in your latest posting.
Something should be made of this by you.