Monday, December 29, 2008

Year in review – Scots consumers end up worse off under MacAskill’s complaints quango as Law Society still calls the shots on crooked lawyers

2008 started off on a mixed note, with revelations of sleaze in the Justice Secretary’s appointments to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, which of course, Mr MacAskill carefully brushed aside with no explanation but you can read about the SLCC’s progress to date here

As January progressed, Scotland received a rare treat at the end of January with was probably the best announcement in years from the Law Society that it's notorious Chief Executive, Douglas Mill, would resign from his post, a rare event, which occurred not long after the posting of the video coverage of Mill’s confrontation with Cabinet Secretary John Swinney over memos which detailed a policy of intervention to protect crooked lawyers. You can view the career ending video of Douglas Mill HERE

Sadly however, the year did not turn out as the promised 'sea change' in dealing with complaints against the legal profession or cleaning up some of the Law Society of Scotland’s horrors the past.

In fact, as 2008 draws to a close, it looks increasingly like consumers & clients of Scottish solicitors have been sold a 'pig in a poke' with the 'independent' Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, which has so far chosen to focus on giving its members pensions benefits, private insurance deals, and a pledge to keep members faces anonymous for fear of the general public realising just how sits on the fat salaried quango's Commission, where members get over £300 just for showing up for a day's 'work' looking at complaints against crooked lawyers ...

Jane Irvine's SLCC also made the questionable declaration it would not investigate any complaint arising from legal work instructed before 1st October 2008, which conveniently for this new Complaints Commission, ensured literally thousands of complaints would be excluded from its books, while also allowing the Law Society of Scotland, to go on 'investigating' complaints against crooked lawyers (and stitching up investigations) for at least another five or more years !

Never fear of course, the shiny new Scottish Government, which sadly now is starting to sound much like any other administration, would protect consumers & those suffering injustice ? Wrong.

If anything, ordinary consumers are now less protected in Scotland than the rest of the UK, thanks to Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill's pledge to protect lawyers at seemingly any cost whatsoever from any idea of external independent regulation which might just prevent the levels of corruption in the legal profession & poor service which has recently brought down the global financial markets.

Looking at some of the cases I looked into over the past year, I find the likes of the following :

A solicitor at one of Edinburgh's so-called 'finest' legal firms, according to clients who enquired as to the slow progress of their cases, found their famous solicitor to be nothing more than a cocaine addict, and probably a drug dealer as one of his firm's ex-employees now allege.

This solicitor currently represents some 11 clients on major medical negligence cases, backed up by his legal firm which touts itself as an expert in the field of medical negligence but the partner is now so hooked on narcotics, he feels the need to 'inhale' in the presence of staff & clients.

Anyone feel like using his services for legal representation ? .. or his firm who seem to know all about ‘the problem’.

If that's not bad enough, just think what might happen to his client's cases if the 'other side' know of their solicitor's cocaine habit .... but maybe that might already been in play as it seems the average wait time of his 11 clients seems to be about 5 years before anything gets near a court .. with cases strangely collapsing or descending into stalemates lasting months or even years, despite all his claims to clients of 'win win win', which has of course generated huge legal fees for himself and his firm for years ...

Another solicitor from a legal firm in Glasgow apparently threatened a client saying over the telephone he “would have his brains blown out” if the client dared complain about a loan transaction which went wrong (in the lawyers favour of course).

Another solicitor who I was notified about, this time from the Scottish Borders, seems to spend a lot of his time fiddling opposing clients legal aid applications, and hatching out plots to take over deceased's clients properties in wills & estates his legal firm acts as executor to.

This particular solicitor, who is well known at the Scottish Legal Aid Board for submitting false allegations against opposing counsel's clients financial status, seems to have his name, the name of his firm, and a “holding company” he created, on several properties he 'acquired' from deceased clients his firm represented, in the Scottish Borders.

Several complaints exist against this particular solicitor, from families who have seen their bequeathments unexplainably disappear into his pockets .. and yes, the Law Society know all about it, but are as usual covering the whole thing up, at least, for now ...

Interestingly, there are two other firms of Borders solicitors who also seem to have done the exact same thing as their above colleague, with properties they ‘acquired’ from deceased clients in circumstances which are less than transparent … and while complaints have also been made to the Law Society, those who were to receive the properties as a legacy are facing the usual brick wall of silence as the legal profession closes ranks to protect the crooked …

Other 'leading lights' of Scotland's legal profession who have been brought to my attention this year include a solicitor who was found to have destroyed his client's file while a complaint had been made to the Law Society after evidence surfaced he had embezzled over £67,000 of clients funds (a remarkably common event, happens almost every day by the sounds of it) ... a female solicitor, yet another who works with one of Edinburgh's 'famous named' legal firms who is working as a prostitute in her spare time and who apparently claims a member of the j*******y as one of her clients, and then there's the fairly well known Scottish solicitor who runs a 'simulated rape & bondage club', which counts among its members many from the legal profession, teachers, and other professionals it would probably make you sick to read about.

How would you feel sitting in the same room as some of that lot ? Even worse probably, knowing that some of them are in fairly senior positions in our Justice system and other walks of life which one would think may be closed off to the likes of such ...

I couldn't possibly fail to mention the case of a solicitor who sent round several of his 'thuggish' clients to threaten another client who had decided to complain about him to the Law Society (also a remarkably common event) ... the Police apparently now involved in that one, and also a flood of emails & complaints regarding the raft of solicitors who are now sending out demands to clients for fictitious work allegedly done years ago, at their instruction, but which of course, there is no proof of, no success story to show for, and not even a court record of in many cases.

Anyone feel like approaching any of these ‘highly qualified professionals’ for legal services ? They are all still practicing despite complaints records as long as your arm … so the Law Society must know what its doing, allowing such people to practice law …

Do I have your attention ? Is your confidence rising or falling in the Scottish legal profession's ability to keep control of itself and 'standards' ?

Now do remember - this is the same profession which Kenny MacAskill is actively promoting to attract legal business to Scotland .... but that promotional exercise doesn't seem to have worked, so maybe, just maybe those prospective foreign clients have their heads screwed on the right way and know when to avoid a crooked lawyer, by not using a Scottish lawyer ... or a Scottish jurisdiction, where the client may end up at the dead end of the stick …

So as you see, this past year, 2008, has produced no promised sea change in complaints against lawyers, and no promised sea change in standards of legal service in Scotland, or access to justice, or help from the Scottish Government against professionally protected crooks who are fleecing the public and getting away with it.

All the while, the Law Society of Scotland can keep secret the identities of lawyers who have criminal records, lawyers who steal & embezzle from their clients, lawyers who are drugs users & dealers, lawyers who destroy or falsify files & information, lawyers who engage in just about any imaginable or unimaginable activity simply for financial gain ... and the public who approach them for legal services have no idea who or what these people are.

Scots are still forced into accepting what has become a draw of the 'crooked lawyer lottery' where prospective clients get to know less about their solicitor than what goes into a can of baked beans, ensuring Scottish consumers are left little protection, while the Scottish Government, which is currently engaged in piling on the multi million pound gifts to the legal profession’s new complaints ‘front’ organisation, the SLCC, says it will defend lawyers to the very end .. at least, so says Kenny MacAskill ...

Kenny MacAskill in a staggering quote from 2008 admits his mission is to protect lawyers, not the public !

What does 2009 hold for consumers of legal services in Scotland ?

Well, unless the Scottish Government get off their backsides and pull up the 'independent' Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, wipe it clean of Law Society influence, and maybe even .. start afresh .. the answer is not much really ... unless as some of you seem to be indicating, "clients stop getting sucked into the lawyer controlled complaints process" and start seeking alternatives to recover their lost funds, livelihoods, even lives, which have been decimated by very greedy and dishonest solicitors ....

Of course, the Scottish Government could surprise us all, bring in something like "Truth & Reconciliation" to the issue of historic complaints against the legal profession, and produce the clean slate which the LPLA (Scotland) Act 2007 was meant to give us in the first place ... but is that a step too far for politicians who are too deeply in bed with the legal profession ?

I hasten to add that not all lawyers are crooked, but why don’t the honest ones take the initiative and clean up their profession ?

The Law Society isn’t the powerful behemoth it once was … so why no action from within ? Is it just not profitable enough to clean up one’s own profession ? Is there nothing to be gained from giving the public a more trustworthy, competitive legal services market we can depend on ?

Perhaps consumers should ask themselves the following :

Do you want to use a Scottish lawyer ? Do you really NEED to use a Scottish lawyer ? Financially, how hurt are you going to end up when inevitably, your lawyer turns against you simply to fleece you for money on a case they will say you will win, but you know will probably take years and result in nothing other than demands for large sums of money you could better do to keep for yourself & your family’s needs, especially in what promises to be a recession the UK has not seen for many decades.

If you want to change the way you are treated in 2009, its time to choose a different path away from the likes of crooked professionals who so easily will take your money, your livelihoods, your home, even, your lives away simply to make more money for themselves ...

And finally, as if to remind us all that lawyers are not all they crack themselves up to be .. here is a short tale from the pages of the Scotsman in a stark reminder to us all … trying to recover damages from lawyers in Scotland, no matter who you are, is more difficult than pulling hen’s teeth …

The Scotsman reports :

Marquess sues estate lawyers for £700,000

Published Date: 24 December 2008
Law Correspondent

AN ARISTOCRAT is suing lawyers for £700,000 after he was landed with a huge tax bill to prevent the break-up of one of his estates.

Alexander Gordon, the 7th Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, claims negligence by Edinburgh-based Turcan Connell led to him having to form a "rescue plan" to stop some of his wealth passing to relatives he did not want to benefit.

The Court of Session yesterday heard the "Aberdeen Gordons", who have held land in Aberdeenshire for more than 500 years, owned the Haddo and Tarves estates.

In 1984, the current marquess, also known as Lord Aberdeen, consulted with his then solicitors, not Turcan Connell, about the best way of passing the Tarves estate to his children without incurring tax.

A trust was set up but Lord Aberdeen had only one child at the time, Lord Haddo, and it was decided the best course was to include other child relatives, those of his sister, Lady Emma, and of his adopted cousin, Andrew Gordon.

By the 1990s, Lord Aberdeen had four children. He made it clear to his lawyer, the court heard, that Haddo was to go to his eldest son, and Tarves was to pass to one or more of his other three children.

"He had made it plain that it should only be if none of his immediate family survived him that any of his sister's children should receive the Tarves estate, and on no account should any of his adopted cousin's children receive it," the court heard.

Turcan Connell became his solicitors in 1997 and reviewed the trust, and Lord Aberdeen confirmed that his wishes remained the same.

There came a deadline under the rules of the trust when beneficiaries had to be nominated but, according to Lord Aberdeen, it was realised the date had passed and an urgent meeting was called in 2006.

"Robert Turcan explained he had made a mistake and apologised for it ... each of the (nine) children had or shortly would have an interest in an equal share in the assets of the Tarves Estate Trust," the pleadings in the damages action said.

"This would result in the break-up of a substantial part of the ancestral landholding associated with the Gordon family for hundreds of years."

A "salvage operation" was formed under which the Tarves estate was advanced to Lord Haddo. But the move also triggered liability for capital gains tax. The full extent had yet to be assessed, the court was told, but Lord Aberdeen said an interim payment of £500,000 had been made.

Lord Haddo took a bank loan to fund the payment, and Lord Aberdeen guaranteed the loan. As well as interest, there would be substantial professional fees to pay.

In her judgment, Lady Smith said: "(The marquess) offers to prove that no ordinarily competent solicitor would have failed to advise him timeously of the need for the trustees to exercise their discretion in favour of one or more of his children if the break-up of the Tarves estate was to be avoided.

"(Turcan Connell] deny that, in the circumstances of the case, they had a duty to tender the advice that he avers they were under a duty to give."

Lady Smith said the test for dismissing the case at this stage was whether the marquess's claim would necessarily fail. He insisted the mistake by Turcan Connell amounted to negligence.

"I recognise his case is not without difficulties (but) I cannot be satisfied that the action will necessarily fail," she said.

No date was fixed for another hearing.


THE Most Hon Alexander George Gordon, 53, was educated at Harrow and pursued a career as a property developer in London before becoming the 7th Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair six years ago.

He married Joanna Clodagh Houldsworth in 1981 and the couple have four children, George, Earl of Haddo, 25, Lord Sam, 23, Lady Anna, 20 and Lord Charles, 18.

He made headlines in 2004 with plans for tank-driving courses at the family's Haddo Estate at Methlick.

However, the current marquess would have to come up with something much more outlandish to rival the "colourful" tag given to his father, Alastair Ninian John Gordon, who died, aged 82, in 2002.

An artist and art critic, he listed his recreations as "wine, women and song", and not long before his death, he wrote a magazine article, The Good Whore Guide, in which he charted his adventures as a "sex-starved subaltern" during and after the Second World War.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Complaints Commission 'unfit for purpose' as secret meetings with insurers & pensions take focus over consumer protection against crooked lawyers

SLCC squareScotland's legal complaints quango, otherwise known as the less than 'independent' Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, which received a £2 million gift of taxpayers money from Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, has spent more time arranging pensions & insurance protection for its members than doing any of the oversight or complaints work it was originally tasked to do.

I reported on the £2 million taxpayer gift to the lawyers complaints quango here : MacAskill silent on taxpayers £2million 'write off' to lawyers quango as Complaints boss reveals Law Society defaulted on levies

Kenny MacAskillKenny MacAskill – ‘£2 million was just a gift to lawyers quango’. Mr MacAskill has now declared he will not seek to recover the millions of pounds of public funds which have in effect been wasted on setting up the less than independent Commission which is more interested in itself than the job at hand.

However, there are now revelations the SLCC is demanding the Scottish Government hand over even more taxpayer funds into the SLCC's pension scheme and further public funds for the SLCC’s website, despite the commission claiming to have received £2.4 million from the Law Society of Scotland as payment for solicitors annual complaints levies to fund the quango.

Pensions junkets at the Scottish Legal Complaints CommissionLegal Complaints quango’s pensions must come first before the work of investigating crooked lawyers or protecting consumers : “It was agreed that the pension benefit will be available from 1st October.There was further discussion around whether staff employed prior to 1st October should qualify for pension benefit prior to the 1st October and whether this would be provided by the Scottish Government. Members clarified that there would be no added increase in SLCC pension contributions for senior staff".

Secret meetings with lawyers insurers & SLAB appointed auditors - SLCCAlso revealed in recently released papers was the fact the Commission held secret meetings with the Master Policy insurers Royal Sun Alliance and Marsh UK, well known for their roles in obstructing consumers access to justice in attempts to sue crooked lawyers, actions which have resulted in countless headlines over the years culminating in the resignation of former Law Society Boss Douglas Mill for his part along with Marsh UK in protecting corrupt solicitors, which you can read more about here : Mill, Marsh & RSA - a recipe for corrupt lawyers insurance

Now, despite meeting the insurers & the Law Society of Scotland in an 'attempt to understand the Master Policy', the Legal Complaints Commission is still dithering on whether it will fulfil its designated "monitoring role" over both the Master Policy and Guarantee Fund, the two financial arrangements put in place by the Law Society of Scotland which are supposed to (but never do) pay out in the event that lawyers embezzle, lose or steal clients funds in well practiced habits which seem to be spiralling out of control with the current credit crunch.

Amazingly, the Commission’s well salaried Chief Executive Eileen Masterman grudgingly admitted after enquiries, the Legal Complaints Commission does not currently have a copy of the Master Policy, and might not even ask for a copy !

Eileen Masterman SLCC Chief Executive Eileen Masterman didn't even bother to obtain the Master Policy papers which the Commission is supposed to oversee : "I am unaware that the SLCC Hold a copy of the Master Policy. Whether or not we seek to obtain such is a matter yet to be decided."

One must ask oneself how the Commission proposes to monitor and oversee the Master Policy and the Guarantee Fund if they don't even have copies of what the actual policy is, what it does, and how it works.

A source at the Scottish Government's Justice Department condemned the SLCC's lack of will to even obtain the Master Policy papers "Probably the Commission and the Law Society are worried if the Master Policy ends up in Masterman's office she will be forced to release it under Freedom of Information if requested to do so"

If the Master Policy is actually released to the public, it will also allow solicitors to see the documents for the first time, as it transpires hardly any Scottish solicitor has actually seen the terms of Master Policy – the Law Society arranged Professional Indemnity Insurance which all solicitors must pay an annual subscription to maintain.

Jane IrvineJane Irvine, the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission’s Chairman was asked for a comment on why the SLCC had not even yet bothered to secure a copy of the Master Policy for its study, despite already having met Marsh, Royal Sun Alliance and the Law Society of Scotland in meetings which were kept from the public.Irvine however, refused to reply over fears the Commission is in such disarray it cannot do its assigned task.

Given the Commission seems unwilling even to ask for a copy of the Master Policy, I have asked Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to explain the shocking lapses of his ‘Ministerial creation” after being officially informed earlier by his Justice Department the SLCC would be attending to its Master Policy ‘oversight’ role.

Amid the bleak revelations showing the SLCC to be more interested in protecting itself than protecting consumers, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney MSP has waded into the debate on the poor performance of the Commission so far, expressing concerns to constituents of dissatisfaction with the SLCC’s performance to-date.

John SwinneyCabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney expressed his fears over the lack of the Commission’s will to look into Law Society’s ‘sins of the past’, commenting "It is of great concern that the SLCC are not to look at historic complaints".

Well, Mr Swinney, there is a plan afoot to look at historical complaints, but alas the SLCC are not the people to do it, having too much involvement with the Law Society which clearly prevents them from being impartial in any way whatsoever.

My Petition PE1033, which sought to bring a touch of Truth & Reconciliation to historical complaints against crooked lawyers was of course, killed off by the Law Society of Scotland at Parliamentary stage, so if you could revive that, and help bring an end to the worst era of Scotland’s legal profession, that would be just fine by just about everyone …

Perhaps Mr MacAskill should ask the Commission to return the public money, now they have been paid by the Law Society, and Mr Swinney should take steps to inject motivation into the game of complaints against lawyers. This seems to me, a more sensible, honest, truthful & good governance approach to the issue, doesn’t it ?

So it will be a Merry Christmas for some this year – the members of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission are receiving an outrageous £300 + per day for appearances, and each member has on average at least two pensions from their previous positions of employment before even getting down to business at the SLCC … so, everyone, think of all that public money getting lavished on ex-cops, lawyers & the like just to mishandle complaints against lawyers in the same way the Law Society has been doing for years … while everyone else in the country is living in fear of being repossessed ….

Finally .. Seasons Greetings to all my readers, friends & colleagues, and especially to all of you who suffer from injustice not only in Scotland, but all around the world.

Hopefully 2009 will ease the plight of some, if the willingness is truly there on the part of politicians to serve the community and bring an end to injustice caused by our discredited legal system. Those same politicians who have the power to help people would do well to remember that coming at least half way to meet the victims of injustice is a step in the right direction …

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Twenty years on : Lockerbie, justice and injustice in Scotland - a time for reflection

Twenty years today, Pam Am flight 103 while flying over the small town of Lockerbie in Scotland was blown up by a bomb, Scotland's worst incident of mass murder and as it would turn out possibly the longest and most complicated case of injustice for the victims, their bereaved families and those accused of the bombing.

While some believe justice was served by conviction of Abdel baset al-Megrahi who was convicted under Scots Law of the bombing, there are many who believe otherwise - both inside & outside the legal fraternity, and over the years, 'evidence' has come to light the prosecution and the trial of Al Megrahi under Scots Law at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands was more politically motivated than truth motivated.

Whatever the outcome of Abdel baset al-Megrahi's ongoing appeal for release, one thing can be sure - the interests of justice and the interests of Scotland have not been served by the Lockerbie Trial and its failings, many of which are yet to be (if ever) resolved.

Noticeably today (Sunday), some of the politicians involved in the original case have felt the need to invoke highly personalised & distasteful attacks on even bereaved family members of the victims of the Pan Am bombing, the authors of these views, which you can read HERE no doubt believing their public stance serves the purpose for what they are intended .. the self preservation of the ailing and discredited justice system we are forced to live with in Scotland.

I speak of course of Lord Fraser of Carmyle's broadside against Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Fiona was on board the fateful flight. Lord Fraser, who today accuses Dr Swire of being a hostage to “Stockholm syndrome” over his continued involvement in the case, does himself no favour in his ill chosen words for a victim's parent, nor do Fraser’s words serve to engender any respect for Scots justice, for justice is gained & supported on the foundations of truth & honesty, not on the backs of victims, their families left behind, and falsehoods.

What these words of criticism for those who seek to defeat the ends of injustice show, is there are still many in the legal & political establishment who are intent on holding back such ideas as Truth & Reconciliation, for fear developments could hold themselves accountable for wrongdoings, some of which we are yet to discover ..

Fortunately there are many more cooler and more respected heads among us, who admire Dr Swire for his tireless efforts to get to the truth of the Lockerbie disaster, whatever that truth may be, and give Scotland back a sense of justice which itself has been robbed by motivations which can certainly not be in the interests of the public or the country.

Let us pause for a moment then, and reflect along with Father Patrick Keegans, the Parish Priest of the town of Lockerbie who along with other townsfolk saw the sheer devastation on that December night twenty years ago.

Father Patrick Keegans address to Holyrood last week :

The following report from the Scotsman newspaper :

Lockerbie remembered: Priest tells MSPs of night Pan Am 103 fell

TWENTY years on, Fr Patrick Keegans, who narrowly escaped death in Lockerbie, reflected yesterday in the Scottish Parliament
on the disaster

"AND I will lead the blind in a way they know not; in paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, and rough places into level ground" (Is. 42, 16).

These words from the Prophet Isaiah have great significance in my life. When I was the parish priest of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Lockerbie, I was in my house at 1 Sherwood Crescent on the evening of 21 December, 1988. My mother, Mary Keegans, was with me.

The darkness came. At 7:04pm Pan Am flight 103, destroyed by a bomb on board the aircraft, crashed into the town of Lockerbie. The darkness came. The lights went out. The house shook violently. An almighty explosion tore Sherwood Crescent apart; and then there was a silence and stillness, and still the darkness.

Then another kind of darkness took over: the thick, suffocating darkness that comes from extreme grief: the darkness that invades the human spirit, that threatens to crush and destroy – 270 people had been murdered: 11 residents of Sherwood Crescent and 259 passengers on Pan Am 103.

And into that darkness there came light. That light came from the people of Lockerbie. It was the light of genuine love, care and concern for all who were suffering. The people of Lockerbie, shocked to the core, looked not to themselves but to others. They are a shining jewel in the Crown of Scotland.

The words of John's Gospel speaking about Christ come to mind: "A light shines in the darkness, a light that darkness could not overpower" (John 1, 5). The love, light and compassion of Christ were shining through the people of Lockerbie, as it does to this very day.

Approaching the 20th anniversary of the Lockerbie disaster, our thoughts and our prayers turn to those who died; and we remember our friends in the USA, our UK families, all other nationalities, and all who, in some form or another, are victims of the disaster.

At a time of great sorrow I was asked by Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter, Flora, died on the plane, to conduct a service for the UK families. The words of Isaiah came to me. I pray and reflect on these words every day: "And I will lead the blind in a way they know not; in paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, and rough places into level ground" (Is. 42, 16). I pray that each day God will lead us and guide us.

I am honoured to be with you in a very special place and to speak these words to you. Thank you."

Holyrood moved by survivor's reflections

HEADS bowed in silent reflection, MSPs yesterday contemplated the powerful words of a Catholic priest who narrowly escaped death in the Lockerbie tragedy.

The Very Rev Patrick Keegans, just days before the 20th anniversary of the tragedy this Sunday, told the Scottish Parliament how an "almighty explosion" tore apart the street in which he lived.

He also described the "thick, suffocating darkness" of the grief that followed the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which resulted in the deaths of 270 people, including 11 neighbours from Sherwood Crescent.

At the time, Father Keegans was the parish priest of Lockerbie's Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church. Now the administrator of Ayr Cathedral, he came to Holyrood to address MSPs at the Time for Reflection slot, which starts each week's parliamentary business.

Fr Keegans told MSPs that he was at home in Sherwood Crescent with his mother when the plane came down at 7:04pm on 21 December, 1988. He then went on to praise the response of the people of Lockerbie, describing them as "a shining jewel in the Crown of Scotland".

It was a short sermon that moved all in the chamber. For David Whitton, the deputy Labour Party spokesman on finance, the words took him back to when he worked for Scottish Television and covered the disaster.

"I remember interviewing Fr Keegans, as well as the terrible destruction of Sherwood Crescent. There was almost nothing left, just a hole in the ground. I thought he spoke brilliantly. At a time, just before a debate when we would be taking pops at each other, it was important to put things into perspective."

Alex Neil, SNP MSP, added: "There could not have been a more apt person to speak in the parliament as we approach the 20th anniversary. Lockerbie will be in the thoughts of many people over the next week."

A Conservative MSP, Derek Brownlee, was pleased by the sermon's balance.

He said: "Fr Keegans managed to capture the horror of what happened on that terrible night, while still managing to look to the future. Lockerbie remains a vibrant town and, while for many it remains tied to a disaster, it is so much more, and I thought Fr Keegans managed to get that point across," he said.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lawyers stealing from clients to earn 'double fees' while Law Society looks the other way in vast network of legal aid fraud & embezzlement

Law Society of ScotlandLast week the Law Society of Scotland went to great lengths to inform newspapers of the prosecution and jailing of ex-solicitor Valerie Macadam for embezzling at least £130,000 of client funds.

The Law Society press release can be read here : Former solicitor Valerie Macadam sentenced to three years for embezzlement

However, when asked if every penny of the embezzlement had been repaid to clients, the Law Society were a little more vague on their reply, preferring actually a "no comment" .. leading to the suspicion that, like in so many other cases, after a solicitor steals clients funds, the money is lost forever .. despite the legal profession's constant claim their "Guarantee Fund" pays out in full to anyone who suffers a loss at the hands of a crooked lawyer.

Laughably, it was left to a newspaper to report the Guarantee Fund had paid back Valerie Macadam's victims, but no figures were mentioned, nor, according to journalists contacting me, were accounts and payments disclosed by the Law Society, leading to suspicions the story was "entirely bogus" and "a pack of lies" - according to one senior law journalist.

However, while Valerie Macadam was sent to jail for three years, and will probably, according to one source, be out on release after just twelve months, little mention was made of another solicitor, Iain Robertson, of Paisley legal firm Robertson & Ross, being found guilty by the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal of pocketing £21,308 from a client who was already on legal aid.

Iain Robertson is also being probed for possible legal aid fraud, although today when asked for comment on the case, the Scottish Legal Aid Board issued the following statement :

slab“The Board's policy in any situation where fraud or abuse of legal aid is identified, is to take action to stop it, recover monies and to take the appropriate action which may include; suspension, deregistration (if the solicitor is providing criminal legal assistance), reporting to the prosecuting authorities and to the Law Society of Scotland. We invest substantial resources into investigating fraud and abuse to protect both tax payers and the vast majority of honest legal aid practitioners. However, it is inappropriate for the Board to comment on any case until investigations or other actions are concluded.”

A source at the Law Society of Scotland today claimed "People here don't want to talk about the Paisley case because what Robertson did is rife among Scots solicitors and most clients don't realise if they are on legal aid and are probably so poor they don't need to pay their lawyers".

There was however, no Law Society Press Release available on Mr Robertson being allowed to continue practising after the notoriously sloppy Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal fined him £5000 after finding him guilty of professional misconduct, and ruled the incident "appeared to be a one-off", concluding: "What happened was due to incompetence rather than anything more sinister.”.

However, fortunately for the rest of us, the Sunday Mail newspaper reported the story, and highlighted the fact the solicitor in question “has been reported ot the Procurator Fiscal after a Police probe into an alleged legal aid fraud worth up to £350,000.”

The source at the Law Society went on to say : "The Law Society of Scotland is inundated with complaints about lawyers charging clients huge sums of money while they are on legal aid and we have some reports of lawyers demanding custody of client's state benefits books if they refuse to pay up".

Well, no wonder the Law Society doesn't want to discuss such cases of blatant fraud, and particularly in some cases where outwardly respectable solicitors are effectively stealing people's state benefits to pay for legal work when these same solicitors are claiming legal aid from the state for payment of the same legal work !

Surely, solicitors confiscating clients state benefits & pensions books is some kind of fraud which needs to be investigated by the Police at least, and hard questions asked of the Law Society as to why it has done nothing in such circumstances ?

It is of course personally shocking to me to learn of this as my own mother was a victim of such a fraud where a well known Scottish Borders accountant confiscated her pension book to keep control of the money for himself, which you can read more about here : Scottish Borders accountant confiscates pension book

A client of a well known Edinburgh legal firm which claims not to take on legal aid work, informed me today of their own similar case where they have been forced to hand over more than nine thousand pounds to their lawyer despite the fact the solicitor has been claiming legal aid for their client's case for around four years.

"Our solicitor keeps sending us bills for work yet we have signed eight legal aid claims forms which we are told he is receiving money for. He forced us to sell our car and several items of furniture to give him more cash and is now demanding we sell our house at anything we can get to keep paying him for a case he is basically doing nothing with that has lasted 4 years and got nowhere".

"We now suspect the legal aid board knew nothing of the fees our lawyer has been charging us as we are supposed to be well within the financial limits where a financial contribution from us is necessary".

I recommended today in the case I have quoted, the client should contact the Scottish Legal Aid Board privately and inform them of what has been going on, in terms of how much money their solicitor had demanded & received from them while being in receipt of legal aid. I am also keeping an eye on the case and will make sure it received the due media attention it deserves, in the public interest.

If a client who is on legal aid suspects the same is happening to them, they should contact the Legal Aid Board, report matters, and also let the media know of what their solicitor has been charging them while receiving legal aid at the same time.

Additionally I have heard this week of legal firms holding onto settlements made to clients involved in legal aid funded cases, where secret deductions were made by the legal firms before the remainder, if anything was passed onto the client or the legal aid board. These actions by solicitors may be considered fraudulent and SLAB should be notified immediately.

Contact details for the Scottish Legal Aid Board are as follows :

The Scottish Legal Aid Board
44 Drumsheugh Gardens
telephone: 0131 226 7061. email :

The odds are, if you don't qualify to give a financial contribution to legal aid (which has to be made clear to you from the very start of your legal aid application), but are still being charged for the legal work carried out by your solicitor, there is a problem, and it will probably be the case the solicitor will be doing the same to other clients.

We can't allow the Law Society to whitewash what certainly seems to be a significant area of fraud where the earning of ‘double fees’ by unscrupulous solicitors goes on while the Law Society and the ‘independent’ Scottish Legal Complaints Commission conveniently look the other way.

To highlight the issue at hand, here follows last week’s Sunday Mail report on Iain Robertson :

Legal aid rip-off probe lawyer keeps job

Dec 7 2008 By Steve Dinneen

A LAWYER being probed over alleged legal aid fraud escaped being struck off despite ripping off a client.

Iain Robertson was able to continue practising because the incident was a "one-off".

He has now been accused of fraud in a separate investigation.

The Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal found Robertson pocketed £21,308 from a woman client while getting legal aid cash for the work.

They fined him £5000 after finding him guilty of professional misconduct.

But they decided not to strike him off, ruling it "appeared to be a one-off" and concluding: "What happened was due to incompetence rather than anything more sinister."

But Robertson has been reported to the procurator fiscal after a police probe into an alleged legal aid fraud worth up to £350,000.

The Sunday Mail revealed in April that the 55-year-old lawyer, a partner in Paisley firm Robertson and Ross, was being investigated.

Police reported him to the fiscal in April.

Robertson said: "We have co-operated fully and are confident the matter will be resolved in our favour.

Monday, December 08, 2008

MacAskill silent on taxpayers £2million 'write off' to lawyers quango as Complaints boss reveals Law Society defaulted on levies

MacAskill tight lippedJustice Secretary Kenny MacAskill was today silent on revelations that some two million pounds of public money handed over to the legal profession to start up the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission is to be secretly "written off", despite recent announcements from the Commission that it intends to levy all practitioners who enter the Scots legal services market, which will potentially rake in surpluses of several million pounds more than the complaints quango's operating budget of £1.1million.

SLCC squareThe £2million costly start up costs of the 'independent' SLCC have been generated by the 'needs' of transferring in employees, lawyers and even ex Committee members of the Law Society of Scotland, and ensuring the 'right' people were appointed to oversee complaints against lawyers, which have previously and poorly been handled by the Law Society of Scotland .. and by the looks of it, will be handled in a similar way by the less than ‘independent’ SLCC.

However, the Commission members and staff have so far concentrated on ensuring they retain huge pensions, and also have demanded insurance protection from the possibility that clients and solicitors alike may take legal action against them personally for ill considered or negligent work.

Another startling, if very selfish development from the SLCC was that members unanimously decided they would not investigate any complaint which arose from legal work instructed prior to 1st October 2008, allowing the Law Society of Scotland to carry on investigating complaints still in its books for possibly another ten years up to 2018 !

One insider to the Justice Department today condemned the Minister's lack of will to recover the public money handed over to the SLCC : "The public should be going mad about this - lawyers are getting enough public money anyway so I don't see how the Commission should get a multi million pound freebie just so members can sit back and draw their pensions and several hundred pounds a day for their work"

As if MacAskill's seemingly secret intention to write off two million pounds of taxpayers money to his fellow solicitors wasn't enough, jaw dropping revelations today report the Law Society of Scotland have defaulted on the levies which are required by law to be paid to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, with figures released today from Jane Irvine showing the Law Society still owes well over 100k to the complaints quango.

Jane IrvineSLCC Chairman Jane Irvine revealed the Law Societyof Scotland’s default on levies : "The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission received £2,406,400.50p from the Law Society of Scotland on 30 September 2008 and £114,328 from the Faculty of Advocates on 26 September 2008. I have been made aware that LSS will send the balance, which is in the region of £100,000, by 31 December 2008."

However, this statement by the SLCC, released as an Freedom of Information response, compares unfavourably with previous claims from the Commission in early November where I was informed : "The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission received full payment of the levies from the Law Society of Scotland by the due date" (30th September 2008), giving the impression that much more than a mistake was made when that erroneous and misleading claim was made.

A senior solicitor who was asked for comment today on the Commission's performance to-date described matters as "bleak" and that the Commission “lacked any credibility in it’s current format”.

He went onto claim the quango was widely disrespected in the profession itself, after revelations of who had been appointed to it and the decisions they had taken to restrict it's complaints procedures & powers.

He said : "The public aren't going to be fooled much by this half baked quango which might end up sitting on top of a lot of money by way of levies taken from us and other groups of qualified professionals who may get the chance to practice law under alternative business structures".

He went on to say the following in response to the revelations of the Law Society's failure to pay up : "I have heard of several solicitors who refused to pay their levies in protest, which I take it may form part of what the Law Society has still to pay the Commission, however some smaller legal firms might not be able to afford or may be reluctant to pay the complaints levy in the downturn so that could also be a factor."

A client with a complaint against several legal firms of solicitors, who is being aided by a leading Scots MSP stated "All this complaints body seems to be doing is telling us what it wont do and cant do.There is no will to do anything for the consumer at all.Its going to be just another round of lawyers and their friends covering up for lawyers and we wont get the independent regulation we were promised by the Scottish Parliament"

The beleaguered SLCC, stung by allegations of a lack of competence or will to handle the complaints work it was supposed to do, also announced that it had finally secured indemnity insurance for its members, who recently threatened to resign if they didn’t have the same type of insurance cover which has been well known to protect crooked lawyers from financial damages claims by clients as a result of poor or crooked service.

I reported on the Commission’s members bizarre threats to resign over lack of indemnity insurance protection in a previous article here : Legal Complaints Commission in crisis amid funds shortage & resignation threats over lack of insurance protection

SLCC Director of Communications, Doreen Graham, announced that Park Place Insurance Ltd, 53 High Street, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1LL had arranged the insurance for members, and that the Professional Indemnity Insurance cover is being provided by Brit Insurance Ltd Brit Insurance Ltd.

Brit Insurance Ltd’’s Professional Risks cover is described on their website as : Our specialist claims team provide a professional and disciplined approach to handling complex issues. They provide prudent and reassuring responses to clients during times of distress and uncertainty. Our North American Professional Indemnity team are established market leaders in all areas of professional negligence, including accountants, architects, engineers, insurance brokers, lawyers, miscellaneous and technology risks”.

One would have though that the ‘independent’ Scottish Legal Complaints Commission would have stayed away from insurance deals which might also insure lawyers too … but it seems the old habits of the Law Society of Scotland die hard …. and perhaps more worryingly, the Scottish Government has sat back while the Commission lurches from crisis to crisis.

Mr MacAskill’s office also refused to comment today on whether there was any policy put in place to deal with the multi million pound surpluses which would be generated by the SLCC’s intention to levy all entrants to the Scottish legal services market.

The Commission was also silent on what might be done with the surplus cash which will come in through increased levies … and on whether the multi million pound taxpayers handout to start up the quango would be repaid to the Government … or ‘go elsewhere’ …

Friday, December 05, 2008

Justice Secretary MacAskill turns his back on Scots injustice victims from Edinburgh ‘silent walk for justice’

What good is a Justice Secretary who turns his back on victims of injustice ? .. or let me put it another way .. what good in public life is a ‘powerful’ politician who wont even help his own people ?

These are certainly questions many will be asking today as Scotland's Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill delivered a bitter blow yesterday against victims of injustice and the many ordinary Scots and people from across the world who took part in the "Silent Walk for Justice" in Edinburgh which began near Edinburgh Castle and ended at the foot of the Royal Mile at the Scottish Parliament.

The ‘silent walk for justice’ was arranged by Guje Borgesson, the mother of Annie Borgesson, who was found dead at Prestwick harbour in December 2005. Guje and Maria Jansson, Annie’s best friend have long battled for the Crown Office to give the family a Fatal Accident Inquiry in to Annie’s unexplained death, however the Crown Office have so far refused to do anything further in the case of Ms Borgesson’s death and also in a number of other unexplained deaths, some of which have been the subject of intense media scrutiny over the failings of various Scottish Police forces to property investigate what are suspicious deaths by any standards.

The participants of yesterday’s ‘Silent Walk’ expected & hoped that Mr MacAskill, or at least someone from his office would meet with them outside the Scottish Parliament at the end of their walk down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. However, that was not to be, and to make matters worse, a spokesman for the absent Mr MacAskill claimed the Justice Secretary was "unaware of the protest" which had been widely covered in the Scottish media beforehand.

Several people today condemned Mr MacAskill for failing to meet those who gathered outside the Scottish Parliament yesterday in freezing weather to make their voices heard on the many cases of injustice in Scotland which the Scottish Government so far have done little or nothing to address.

One of those attending said "What good is a Justice Minister who isn't interested in justice and wont even come out to meet people who his own colleagues in legal circles are actually causing the injustice to ?"

Maria Jansson, one of the organisers of the ‘silent walk for justice’ commented “I truly hope that the many people that participated yesterday received new hope and strength to go on with high spirit and the feeling that we are together in this. We have all the same focus, namely to get the truth out in the open so that Justice can be done.”

“We must not judge each other, or measure or weight each other we have already been judged or measured by the authorities, and also by people. Now is the beginning of something new, for us all and by coming together we have made injustice visible, there are so many different True stories behind the many cases. Those stories, are to often forgotten in the Media coverage”

Fortunately for the rest of us, there are people who put in the effort to campaign against injustice, and Guje, Maria, and all those who attended or supported the aims of the silent walk are to be commended for their input into what must be one of Scotland’s most pressing issues – the very high level of injustice attributed to our failed Scots justice system which sadly seems to be low on the priorities of the current Justice Secretary and others in the Scottish Government.

Maria continued : “We walked together as humans, we made injustice visible, and showed every one that there are gaps in the justice system that needs to be filled.”

Its a pity though, that Mr MacAskill couldn’t manage a little bit of humanity yesterday, feigning ignorance through his spokesman of a highly publicised protest which many ordinary Scots were well aware of.

From my own experience, and I'm sure everyone would agree - those who turn their backs on the abused, the weak and those victims of injustice - all injustice, are as guilty as the abusers who cause it, and to think that not one member of staff from Mr MacAskill's office even put in a small effort to come out and receive the marchers is disgusting.

I think we can conclude quite easily Mr MacAskill has turned his backs on ordinary Scots, on victims of injustice, on those with no voice ... preferring instead to sit in Parliament and make grand statements about who he will personally protect in the monied professions, than make a small human effort to be a part of the rest of society who hope for better and fairer treatment.

In the following two videos, Mr MacAskill can be seen attesting to a ‘great debt’ the Scottish Government owes to the legal profession. Mr MacAskill goes further to say he will always personally protect lawyers

Surely Mr MacAskill as Justice Secretary, you owe the victims of injustice and the rest of us in Scotland who are not lawyers, a debt of service & duty too ?

It’s all about money - Kenny MacAskill said he would personally protect the legal profession, so why not help victims of injustice ?

The effort and goals of the 'silent walk' must go on, and without a doubt, Scotland needs a more compassionate, more capable and more attentive Justice Secretary who will speak to and for the needs of all Scots.

Here follows the Herald's report on the Silent Walk for Justice in Edinburgh including their video coverage :

The Herald newspaper interviews the silent walk for justice participants :

Still looking for an end to injustice

JULIA HORTON December 05 2008

INJUSTICE and prison separated us, yet we are always with you, your family.' A heartfelt message displayed on one of several large, neat placards held aloft yesterday by the wife and children of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi.

Others with similar messages ended Your son, Khalid' and Your son, Ali', as the youngsters publicly demonstrated their devotion to their imprisoned father.

For the Libyans there is no doubt that Al Megrahi is the victim of a miscarriage of justice. But there are many more people across the country who also feel that their loved ones have been wronged by the Scottish justice system.

Around 100 friends and relatives gathered in Edinburgh yesterday to highlight their cases, marching solemnly down the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle to the Scottish Parliament.

Their posters were of varying sizes and styles but their message was the same - Justice for Kevin', Justice for Jason', Justice for Annie'.

Standing in the chilly winter's afternoon, Hugh McLeod explained that he was there to fight for his son, Kevin McLeod, who drowned in Wick Harbour in February 1997.

The police concluded that the 24-year-old electrician's death was accidental after his body was recovered from the water on a Saturday morning following a night out at a club in the town.

But his father Hugh and mother June are convinced that their son was the victim of foul play and died after being beaten up.

A fatal accident inquiry in 1998 returned an open verdict and the family has challenged the police's conduct in the case ever since. They eventually secured an apology over the way Northern Constabulary dealt with their complaints, but have failed to get the cold case review which they believe could bring justice.

Clutching a Justice for Kevin' poster, Mr McLeod said: "The justice system needs to be changed. We hope that a lot of people here will get some form of justice. For us, that would be convicting Kevin's perpetrators."

A lone piper heralded the start of the Silent Walk for Justice, as the McLeods fell into line, walking two by two with other families along the pavement.

At the front of the procession was Guje Borgesson, who organised the event after becoming convinced that she had not received justice over the death of her daughter, Annie.

Like Kevin, Annie was found drowned, in her case on a beach at Prestwick in 2005.

No criminal investigation was launched because police believed that the 30-year-old Swedish woman committed suicide. But her mother could not accept that Annie would take her own life, and bruises and DNA found on her daughter's body fuelled her fears that the case was a murder.

Speaking as she walked slowly down the street, holding on to a photograph of Annie smiling out through long blonde hair, Mrs Borgesson, 55, said she was heartened by the show of support at the march.

She said: "I feel great that there are all these people here who share the same goal to show our concern about the justice system."

It was the second such peaceful protest she has arranged, with the first in Prestwick last year, and she had high hopes that Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill would meet the group to accept a book of letters outlining their stories.

Arriving outside the Parliament as darkness started to fall, the campaigners gathered together and placed their placards on the ground along with candles.

The image of Al Megrahi in traditional Muslim dress rested beside pictures of other alleged victims of injustice, including cyclist Jason MacIntyre, who was killed when a car hit him on the A82 in January this year.

Corinne Mitchell, mother of Luke Mitchell, who was c onvicted of the murder of schoolgirl Jodi Jones, was marching with her dog and a poster of her son. Mitchell, 20, is serving at least 20 years for the 2003 killing of his 14-year-old girlfriend but maintains he is not guilty.

There was also a photograph of Michael Ross, the soldier recently convicted of the killing of Bangladeshi waiter Shamsuddin Mahmood in Orkney in 1994.

Ross's lifelong friend, Susan Robertson, was among the group yesterday. The 30-year-old from Dunfermline admitted that she didn't think the event would create any major change in his case, but she said: "I am here to support Michael and his family."

More positive was Sandra Brown, long-time campaigner for justice for Coatbridge schoolgirl Moira Anderson, who disappeared in 1957 and whose body has never been found.

She said: "The Vicky Hamilton case, where they didn't give up for 17 years, shows that justice is still possible.

As it became clear that no-one from the Scottish Government would be meeting the group outside, Mrs Borgesson made a speech imploring the Justice Minister to act.

As candles flickered or went out in the cold breeze she said: "We have come here to take part in the silent walk of justice with the expectation that you can offer us some help ... We come from a wide variety of backgrounds but have all experienced the co mmon sense of frustration and hopelessness that there does not seem to be a solution to our problems." She added: "I'm amazed by the number and variety of people who have joined here today because they too feel that justice has eluded them."

As a few curious passersby looked on, the piper launched into Flower of Scotland before a minute's silence was held in a final, hopeful gesture of solidarity and respect.

Kevin McLeod
He drowned in Wick Harbour in 1997 after a night out. His parents Hugh and June McLeod reject the police explanation of accidental death and remain convinced that their electrician son was the victim of foul play, dying after being beaten up in an argument with a man. A fatal accident inquiry in 1998 returned an open verdict and the family has challenged the police's conduct in the case ever since.

Annie Borgesson
WHEN the body of Annie Borgesson was discovered washed up on a Scottish beach in December, 2005, police concluded that she had committed suicide. But the 30-year-old Swedish woman's mother, Guje Borgesson, believes her daughter was murdered because bruises and unidentified female DNA were found on her body. Last year she demanded a fatal accident inquiry into the death of her daughter, whose body was found on a beach at Prestwick in Ayrshire.

Luke Mitchell
He was jailed for at least 20 years in 2005 for murdering his 14-year-old girlfriend, Jodi Jones. But Mitchell and his mother Corinne maintain he is innocent of the 2003 crime that shocked their home town of Dalkeith. He lost an appeal over the conviction and length of his sentence earlier this year but will appeal to reduce his jail term again next month. His family believe that evidence not heard at his original trial proves his innocence.

Michael Ross
DECORATED war hero Michael Ross was jailed for life earlier this year for the killing of waiter Shamsudden Mahmood at a restaurant in Orkney in 1994. The soldier, just 14 when the murder took place, denies he was the balaclava-clad killer who burst into a Kirkwall restaurant and shot the 26-year-old waiter dead. His father, Edmund Ross, has always maintained his son's innocence, and a businessman has offered a £100,000 reward to help clear his name. A school friend recently claimed that she could give him an alibi.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Join the Silent Walk for Justice in Edinburgh - 4th December 2008

For those of you who can make it, please join the Silent Walk for Justice in Edinburgh this Thursday, 4th December 2008.

The walk is intended as a vigil to highlight miscarriages of justice across Scotland which have caused untold suffering to countless individuals across the country and even many abroad who have been affected by our less than reputable Scots Justice system.

The walk is a response to the apparent lack of willingness of the Scots Justice system to deal with its 'sins of the past' and the clearly high levels of injustice which take place in Scotland each year due to varying factors such as a lack of access to justice, an inflexible and self protecting justice system more intent on covering up its own failings, and a distinct lack of independent and impartial oversight & regulation, which have in effect allowed many arms of the Scots justice system to freewheel in their own direction without accountability to anyone.

Today’s Herald newspaper reports on the growing ranks of those attending the march in Edinburgh, this Thursday, here : Megrahi’s wife to join vigil highlighting miscarriage of justice claims

You can read more about how the Silent Walk for Justice took shape on the Shirley McKie forum here : A Silent Walk for Justice

Here follows the release from the organisers :


You are all welcome to join The Silent Walk For Justice 2008. We will all meet at 15.00 p.m. at Johnson Terrace. Then a lone bagpiper will signal and we will all walk together, the Royal Mile down from the Edinburgh castle, peacefully and in silence to honour our loved ones and stop at the Scottish Parliament.

Outside the Scottish Parliament we will all put down our pictures of the ones, or what we are fighting for, and we will light our candles and put them beside the pictures. We will all stand behind the shrine with the pictures and burning candles.

The bag piper will signal and The Cabinet Secretary of Justice Kenny MacAskill, or who will be sent in his place, will meet us outside.

The man and the woman representing the Scottish people will perform a short speech, and after that The Cabinet Secretary of Justice will make a short speech. The people’s writing and name lists will be handed over to Mr MacAskill.

The bag piper will signal and there will be a SILENT MINUTE for all the loved ones. Then the lone piper will play a Scottish tune.

The Cabinet Secretary of Justice will return into the Parliament building and the bag piper will signal for the journalists to step forward, take pictures and make interviews.

The pictures and candles must be removed and The Silent Walk For Justice 2008 will end at 19.00 pm

The Silent Walk for Justice, must be absolutely peaceful and silent, we will let our pictures and candles speak for our mission.