Monday, November 08, 2010

Australian Police arrest suspect in connection with 2006 murder bid on Law Society of Scotland Chief Accountant Leslie Cumming

Leslie CummingLaw Society Chief Accountant Leslie Cumming (now retired) was attacked in January 2006. AUSTRALIAN POLICE have arrested a 45 year old man on an international arrest warrant in connection with an attempt on the life of the now retired Chief Accountant of the Law Society of Scotland, Leslie Cumming, which took place at Mr Cumming’s home in Edinburgh in late January 2006. The 45 year old man now under arrest in Australia cannot be named for legal reasons, as the Crown Office have launched proceedings to extradite him back to Scotland to face charges.

According to newspaper reports at the time, Mr Cumming was attacked outside his home by a man wearing a balaclava, receiving serious injuries to his face. Mr Cumming subsequently retired from his role at the Law Society of Scotland and set up his own consultancy business, Leslie Cumming Consultancy Services

Douglas Mill 4Douglas Mill claimed Law Society critics were responsible for ‘murder hit’, while Mr Cumming felt it was crooked lawyers. While some senior figures at the Law Society of Scotland publicly blamed critics of the Law Society itself for the attack, rumours at the time and several press reports on the case since 2006, including interviews with Mr Cumming himself appeared to point the finger of suspicion to rogue elements within the legal profession, or crooked lawyers, as Mr Cumming’s role as Chief Accountant gave him responsibility for detecting & rooting out the enormous swathe of money-laundering and corruption endemic in Scotland’s legal profession. Mr Cumming was in charge of auditing law firms accounts and investigating complaints concerning investment business carried out by law firms.

Law SocietyLaw Society maintained they do such a fine job, there are no crooked lawyers – Police report revealed otherwise. Most of the Law Society of Scotland’s top brass maintain they do such an excellent job of protecting the public from crooked lawyers, there are very few, or even none in existence. However, a Scottish Crime & Drug Enforcement Agency mapping project of 2009 led by Gordon Meldrum, the director-general of the SCDEA reported hundreds of crooked lawyers & accountants assisting organised crime gangs, claiming almost 250 crooked lawyers, accountants and other "specialists" give criminals professional help – something which certainly pours cold water on the Law Society’s claims to be an effective policeman of the Scottish legal profession. Subsequently, claims were made to law journalists that several of Scotland's ‘leading law firms & solicitors’ were involved in financial dealings in such fine, reputable tax havens countries such as Jersey, Guernsey, the Cayman Islands, Monaco & Lichtenstein.

The 2008-2009 SCDEA Annual Report (pdf) stated : “Organised criminals are highly sophisticated when it comes to hiding the profits of their criminal behaviour and they change their methods constantly in response to preventative methods put in place by the authorities. They will enlist the services of ‘specialists’ - accountants, lawyers and financial advisers—to help them legitimise their ill-gotten cash” … leading to questions over the Law Society of Scotland’s public attitude of ‘This couldn’t possibly happen in Scotland as the Scottish legal profession is respected the world over’.

It was reported in the media later in 2006, Police believed a hitman was hired to carry out the attack on Mr Cumming,, and investigated a list of aggrieved clients and rogue lawyers who may have ordered the stabbing, which ended up as one of Lothian & Borders Police most high profile unsolved cases, and went onto feature on BBC Television’s Crimewatch programme.

News report on the attempted murder of Law Society Chief Accountant Leslie Cumming in January 2006 (click image below to view video)

I have previously reported on matters connected with the case, here : Leslie Cumming attack - The story so far

You can read more in the Scottish newspapers about the arrest in Australia, HERE and HERE.

Readers may wish to note as this is a criminal case, any comments should be kept to details already reported in the media.


Anonymous said...

Mill and the Law Society must hate your guts trying to fit you up for that one.You do realise it will probably have to come out at any trial ?

Anonymous said...

This will be an interesting case!

Anonymous said...

That quote in Scotland on Sunday is outrageous but I'm a bit confused because the date of their story is 29 January 2006 yet your first blog entry here is 09 March 2006 ?

Did you have another blog at the time similar to this ?

Maybe someone in the Law Society organised the hit to blame it on you ?

Anonymous said...

Interesting video clip.
Did it really take them this long or something going on we dont know about yet?

Anonymous said...

Douglas Mill claimed Law Society critics were responsible for ‘murder hit’, while Mr Cumming felt it was crooked lawyers.

F*****G T**T


Anonymous said...

Oh yes Douglas of course there are no crooked lawyers in Scotland.The Police must be liars too if they said otherwise (although I haven't seen any of the 250 caught in the papers yet)

Anonymous said...

Long time me no post here! ...

Yes Peter ... I remember this case.

As I recall, good people like yourself were being dragged into this to deflect from the real culprit(s) at the time.

Methinks the Law Society and Scotland's legal "profession" will be a little scared of what might now transpire when this case goes to court.

I do hope that many of Scotland's crooked lawyers will be exposed through this case and you get some satisfaction from the final outcome Peter.

Keep up the great reporting sir!

All the best ...

Anonymous said...

Better watch out the same doesnt happen to you after all your exposes on our rotten crooked Scottish lawyer scumbags

Anonymous said...

What if they "David Kelly" him on the way back and he accidentally falls out of the plane 35,000ft above the Indian Ocean ?

Anonymous said...

WOW ! I found this !
They really had a go at you over Cumming.
Are they scared or what !
Also it said the attacked was described as being in his 20s ? and now they arrest someone aged 45 ?

Cash laundering link to law chief stabbing

Published Date:
29 January 2006

FOUR Scottish solicitors suspected of money laundering are to be interviewed by detectives investigating a frenzied knife attack on a top law official.

Leslie Cumming, who survived 12 stab wounds, is understood to have headed an inquiry into corruption among lawyers which resulted in the four solicitors facing trial.

Police are looking at the theory that Cumming, chief accountant for the Law Society of Scotland, was the victim of a revenge attack ordered by a lawyer whose alleged criminality he had exposed.

Cumming, who is viewed as a tough customer by many members of the legal profession he helps regulate, is understood to have spearheaded a recent crackdown on all forms of misconduct relating to finance, including money-laundering.

At present, 16 Scottish solicitors face charges, including four on allegations of money-laundering. A Lothian and Borders Police source said: "We will be questioning people who have been involved in money-laundering because he and his team normally take to investigating them. There are some guys - especially some in criminal practice - who give us a lot of concern because of the people they associate with. And they will know some pretty nasty guys who could carry out an attack for them."

Police will also this week begin sifting through all Law Society files that were being dealt with by Cumming and his team of 12 accountants. They will be looking for anyone who could have a grudge against Cumming, or who might have feared being investigated.

Cumming has given detectives the names of two former solicitors who have been banned from practising at least partially because of his inquiries and could have a grudge against him. One was struck off for professional misconduct and the other for embezzling.

But officers say they will not be restricting their inquiries to these two individuals. Another force insider said: "Because of his position there are any number of people who will have had a grudge against him."

The attacker is described as being in his twenties, stocky and wearing dark clothing. Police will begin putting up posters in the area tomorrow in an effort to get more information from potential witnesses.

Meanwhile, campaigners for greater openness in the legal profession have hit back at suggestions that their organisations and websites could have been linked to the attack.

Senior figures in the Law Society have made it known they feel some of the websites criticising lawyers are tantamount to incitement to violence.

But Peter Cherbi, a long-time critic of the Law Society who runs a weblog "A Diary of Injustice in Scotland", said: "I'm concerned that some people will try and use this to stifle criticism and open debate. I can't imagine anyone connected to the campaigns would be involved in anything like this. Lawyers are supposed to uphold the right to free speech and not be acting against it."

He added: "As for Mr Cumming, I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery from this terrible attack."

At the Cummings' imposing home there was little sign yesterday of the knife attack just a few yards away. The small gated set of stairs leading down to their front door remained unlocked and windows around the house were left ajar.

Shreds of police tape which had been used to cordon off the area earlier in the week remained caught on a bush near the scene. Out on the hedge-lined street there were few passers-by, and residents hurried from their front doors to their cars parked on the road, with a few nervous glances.

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said their inquiries were ongoing.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 14:51

That's fine with me ... I'd like to see Mr Mill and his Law Society colleagues come up with the usual unbelievable explanations ...

# Anonymous @ 15:39

Yes well, actually my original blog started on the msn microsoft network in January 2006 and then migrated to Blogspot on the advice of some more experienced bloggers ...

The msn version of my blog was about two weeks old when the attack on Mr Cumming took place, and the Law Society were already trying to silence me .. it seems the Cumming episode provided yet another opportunity for them to have a go at censorship .. their favourite weapon against client criticisms ...

On your last point, well anything is possible. We shall just have to wait on what comes out at any trial ...

# Anonymous @ 19:20

I wouldn't hold my breath on the exposure of too many crooked lawyers over this case ... after all, I wouldn't rate the Scottish civil or criminal justice system as being very fair - even the UK Supreme Court agrees on the latter !

# Anonymous @ 20:09

Its been tried ... as Lothian & Borders Police are well aware ...

# Anonymous @ 20:38

Oh I'm sure that couldn't possibly happen in a civilised society ..

# Anonymous @ 21:04

Yes, as you can see .. thousands of lawyers can have blogs and write about how great they are, but the minute a client or a journalist writes a dissenting note, all hell breaks loose and every effort is made to silence the author ...

Incidentally you should have seen versions & notes of the story before it was edited & published. The Law Society were much more insistent ...

Anonymous said...

Oh well nothing like a good scandal to give your blog a good start!

I've read all your links and the other stuff you wrote about it.All I can say is I hope the Law Society end up in the dock along with him for trying to put the blame on someone else.

Good luck and do keep us informed!

Anonymous said...

Without you realising it I think you have said one of the most important things in your reply for along time
"Thousands of lawyers can have blogs and write about how great they are, but the minute a client or a journalist writes a dissenting note, all hell breaks loose and every effort is made to silence the author"

How very true.I now understand why certain members of the legal profession who blow their own trumpet blogwise feel so much antipathy towards you for your work in giving the client a voice.

Anonymous said...

Now you have told us a bit more in your comment there seems more to this than either you or the papers are letting on.
Where the Law Society running the investigation or the Police?
It strikes me as being very low of the newspaper to have a go at you like that especially after backing your campaign in the past for complaints reforms.
Did the local Police not twig to it looking like someone was trying to steer them away from the real suspects or where they too thick to realise?
Please keep us informed of developments!

Anonymous said...

As another comment says what happened to the witness description going from "in his 20's" to someone of 45?

Maybe they will give him a script to blame it on someone other than crooked lawyers nothing would surprise me and the kicker is he has to rely on a member of the Law society to defend him in court!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

What if they "David Kelly" him on the way back and he accidentally falls out of the plane 35,000ft above the Indian Ocean ?

8 November 2010 20:38

I'm thinking much the same.

"It was later revealed he fell into a volcano on an island which was then hit by a tsunami!!"

Anonymous said...

He's not very 'retired' considering what his own site lists he gets up to.

How many clients did he save from crooked lawyers ?
I dont see any testimonials from the grateful (if there are any)

Anonymous said...

5 years to catch up with a suspect and along the way everyone is blamed from clients to bent lawyers

Hands up anyone who thinks we will ever know the truth about what happened to Cumming ?

The LSS will be hoping for a quick and clean guilty plea without too much fuss

Anonymous said...

You better watch out or you will end up as the next Megrahi a nd be put away by a Crown Office/Police fit up on behalf of the Law Society just because you overexposed these sick evil scum who call themselves lawyers expecting to get away with anything they want

Anonymous said...

Good post.
Will this be another saily extravaganza to take up tv news space as much as the Sheridan perjury trial ?

Anonymous said...

I know a firm of lawyers who have an office in Guernsey.They are very famous for being BENT

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I am quite shocked at the veracity of the comments against campaigners in the newspaper story so obviously inspired by the Law Society.

They have probably given anyone who actually committed the crime a way out to blame others.Also its very telling the Police and Crown Office appear to have been content for the Law Society to blame critics of the profession.A scandal on its own apart from the actual offence.

I will look forward to the trial if there is one.

Anonymous said...

The message here is criticise the Law Society and they fit you up for a crime

Anonymous said...

None of what Mr Cherbi writes or has been put through surprises me.I reported my solicitor to the Police and crown office after the Law Society refused to do anything other than discipline him for stealing the contents of my current account.THEFT is supposed to be a crime anywhere but when it is committed by a lawyer they get let off and I ended up being warned by a very nasty piece of work Chief Constable if I didn't stop writing in asking him to ivnestigate he would have me charged yet the lawyer still works and has been in the papers for committing fraud against the legal aid board
If anyone thinks this is justice they are off their heads what good are the Law society when they allow their lawyers to steal from clients bank accounts ??

Anonymous said...

Law Society maintained they do such a fine job, there are no crooked lawyers.

Yes they do a fine job covering everything up.

Anonymous said...

Law Society maintained they do such a fine job, there are no crooked lawyers.


Anonymous said...

Not much on the news about this.
Is he fighting the extradition?
What are the actual allegations against him?
Why all the silence when Tommy Sheridan's case takes up 10 minutes each night on bbc Scotland?