Monday, December 19, 2011

Crown Office ‘Bonus Culture’ delivers no justice bonus for Scotland as more than £1/2 Million is handed out in perks to Lord Advocate’s staff

COPFS Bonuses Lord AdvoccateInvestigation reveals Scotland’s Crown Office has been over-eager to get in on the bankers bonus culture while crime fighting suffers. AS major parts of Scotland’s criminal & civil justice system descend into farce, with trials involving charges for breach of the peace up to attempted murder & fraud being abandoned on an almost daily basis, suspects accused of even the most serious offences being allowed bail, refusals or failures to prosecute instances of racially motivated crimes, sexual assaults & high profile failures on alleged sectarian offences & criticisms from the judiciary over the state of the courts, an investigation has revealed prosecutors & other employees at Scotland’s much criticised & failing Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) are benefiting from the bankers style bonus culture to the tune of HALF A MILLION POUNDS A YEAR, according to figures obtained from the Crown Office under Freedom of Information laws.

Crown Office Bonuses 2009-2011Crown Office staff appear more focussed on bonus culture than taking cases to trial with enough evidence in Scotland’s courts. The figures, reported in the Sunday Mail newspaper reveals that the Crown Office, under the current Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, which costs taxpayers a staggering ONE HUNDRED & EIGHT MILLION POUNDS A YEAR has been dishing out bonuses of up to TWENTY THOUSAND POUNDS at a time to its senior employees and that bonuses of FOUR to EIGHT THOUSAND POUNDS are commonplace among higher end staff while others at the Crown Office have to make do with much smaller bonuses of £500 - £1,000 a year. These revelations come at a time when prosecutors have been blaming the failure of over a thousand cases on the infamous  Cadder v HMA ruling which saw the right to legal representation while being interrogated by Police brought into Scots law for the first time after a UK Supreme Court ruling which itself was castigated by senior politicians including the Justice Secretary & First Minister for alleged interference in the Scottish justice system.

Yet as the ink was barely dry on the release of the Crown Office’ bonus culture statistics, a Scottish Government insider has since come forward to Diary of Injustice this morning, admitting that “had it not been for the massive public sector finance cuts caused by the recession, the bonuses paid to Crown Office employees would have been significantly higher than half a million.”

Diary of Injustice recently reported in late October on arguments within the Crown Office over case backlogs & lost prosecutions, which culminated in the Lord Advocate attempting to refute claims from his own staff they were short of money and not enough in number to tackle crime : Lord Advocate tells Holyrood his own Fiscals are wrong over claims of case backlog & ‘stress’ as £108 million pours into failing Crown Office

In the wake of the latest revelations of a self serving Crown Office, there are growing numbers of Scots who feel the Crown Office has become an unaccountable public body which is out of control and in need of significant reform after being hit by constant scandals over collapsed high profile cases, corruption and allegations of institutional racism and even sectarianism amongst its employees.

Earlier this year questions were raised over the impartiality of the Crown Office in connection with prosecutions against the legal profession when investigations by Diary of Injustice & the Sunday Mail newspaper revealed the Crown Office REFUSED to prosecute FOURTEEN solicitors for legal aid fraud involving huge sums of public money. An additional investigation by Diary of Injustice revealed one of the alleged fraudsters who the Crown Office refused to prosecute, was married to a Procurator Fiscal.

And in what must be one of the most staggering wastes of resources many have seen from the Crown Office for a long time, around HALF A MILLION POUNDS has been spent by COPFS and a variety of other justice connected public bodies including several Police Forces on one single Breach of the Peace trial against an anti-abuse campaigner, as reported on Scottish Law Reporter here : The £1/2 Million Breach of the Peace charge, 13 hearings, 15,000 travel miles, Cross Border Police seizures, surveillance & a former Lord Advocate

The Sunday Mail reports on the bonus culture at the Crown Office ;

What Price Justice Sunday Mail 18 December 2011WHAT PRICE JUSTICE ? Crown Office staff net £580k in bonus payments in just two years

Dec 18 2011 Exclusive by Russell Findlay, Sunday Mail

STAFF at the Crown Office have pocketed bonus payments of more than £580,000 in just two years, we can reveal. Two years ago, 419 workers shared payouts totalling £326,844, while 518 were handed £253,330 for 2010-11.

The bonus culture in Scotland's prosecution service can be revealed days after a sheriff claimed underfunding was hampering justice. The Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service - headed by Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland - has an annual budget of £108million, with £69million of that on staff costs. Bonuses were paid out to around a quarter of the 1650 employees.

Yesterday, MSP Sandra White said: "These public sector workers are paid to do a job - good performance should be in-built, not an added bonus. I would like to know why bonuses were paid, especially given so many high-profile Crown Office failings in recent years."

The Crown Office recently admitted the number of rape cases being prosecuted has dropped. They blamed the fallout from the Cadder ruling, when police interviews without lawyers present threw more than a 1000 cases into doubt. Last week, Dundee Sheriff Richard Davidson hit out at the lack of cash to run jury trials in the city. He revealed that cases were forced into adjournment due to funding problems. We also revealed that the Crown have failed to prosecute any of the 14 lawyers reported for alleged Legal Aid fraud.

Legal reform campaigner Peter Cherbi said: "It hardly seems appropriate that Crown Office staff are being paid bonuses. " The Crown Office say that bonuses are "based on performance levels attained and are made as part of the appraisal process".

A spokesman added: "No bonuses are being paid in 2011-12 and there are no plans to do so in future."


Anonymous said...

What a complete waste of money giving civil serpents a bonus for messing up the justice system and then complaining they are under stress!

Anonymous said...

A spokesman added: "No bonuses are being paid in 2011-12 and there are no plans to do so in future."

The secret salary rise will cover it folks.

Disgusting.These clowns should be made to pay back every penny.

Anonymous said...

How much of a bonus did the PF get for raping his male colleague?
A slap on the wrist or a slap on the a**?

Anonymous said...

“had it not been for the massive public sector finance cuts caused by the recession, the bonuses paid to Crown Office employees would have been significantly higher than half a million.”

So if the bankers hadn't already ruined the economy with their bonuses this bunch of thieves at the Crown Office would have been getting more!

Anonymous said...

Is this on top of backhanders paid out by lawyers to stop them being charged for stealing?

Anonymous said...

Given what I know to be true and to use the 14 Legal Aid Lawyers, who were considered to be 'above the law' because they were Scottish lawyers as an example.

Does this mean that the Public purse is rewarding Crown Office Officials for subverting the rule of law to suit their own personal preferences and of those of their pals?

Or is it that they have taken public money and in doing so can add this to the list of offences committed.

Who has allowed this pay structure or have they awarded it to themselves as a great idea to fleece the public?

Whoever's idea it is should be sacked.

Where are the POLICEMEN?

Where is the Serious Fraud Office?

Oh, that's right, Scotland does not have one anymore.

This is now handled very conveniently 'in-house' by the CROWN OFFICE!

I think this is what those Senior Crown Office peronnel call a 'fete a complit?'

Anonymous said...

I see you get a mention in the Sunday Mail Exclusive, I wonder who the source was - no doubt modesty forbids you telling.

Anonymous said...

MSP Sandra White said: "These public sector workers are paid to do a job - good performance should be in-built, not an added bonus. I would like to know why bonuses were paid, especially given so many high-profile Crown Office failings in recent years."

Well said, Sandra.These public sector workers should be doing their job well enough because they receive OTT salaries & pensions the rest of us can only dream of.

Go get 'em Peter!

Anonymous said...

So just like the criminals they claim to be confiscating the money from this lot are helping themselves to OUR money.


Anonymous said...

Right now they are all plotting new ways to get around the no bonuses for 2011-2012!

This may explain the shortage of packs of brown envelopes at Edinburgh stationers reported recently..

Anonymous said...

Some of the copfs are on huge salaries £60K or more so what the hell justifies giving them a 33% bonus on top of everything else they get?

AND they have the cheek to harp on about not being paid enough!

Anonymous said...

I like your moves kiddo like puttin the heat on these dumb attorneys for their bonus pay
class !

I bet they are readin your stuff right now and wringing their hands !

Anonymous said...

Are they raising their salaries to compensate for no more bonus?Isnt that illegal or something?

Anonymous said...

Frank Mulholland looks very imposting & hard working standing in front of all those law books with his arms crossed while his staff raid taxpayers for yet more cash.

Can anyone really justify civil servants getting even more money than they do already?

Also reading your earlier report on the Lord Advocate arguing with his own fiscals its funny none of them ever mentioned the bonuses they were getting so good work digging this one out Peter and full marks to the Sunday Mail for running it.

Anonymous said...

If this was 'perfoarmance related' pay they should be made to repay every penny.

Anonymous said...

Its a good thing someone in the SNP is bothered about this unlike MacAskill who spent most of his year slagging off the judges at the Supreme Court and just about anyone else who criticised Scotland's crap legal system for the lump of stupidity it really is.

I wonder how far these bonuses extend up the ladder and who authorises them?Maybe your friend Mr Swinney is reading this and wondering if it should all be ended?

Keep up the pressure Peter!

Anonymous said...

Is this where all the cash confiscated from the drug dealers is going?
also I think the figures will be a lot higher than just 1/2 million they probably lied in this foi

Anonymous said...

Abhorrent these people are paid bonuses for doing a public job they are getting paid enough for already.Clearly there are too many would-be bankers among them greedy to the last better weed them all out and we might get a better justice system in return instead of the banana republic version currently on the go at Chambers St.

Anonymous said...

The following will be a new opportunity for the pigs in the justice troff to dip their noses in for a few more bonuses and pension perks :

Over £3.1 Million Confiscated After Guilty Pleas to Overfishing
16 DECEMBER 2011


At the High Court in Edinburgh today 17 fishermen who had previously pled guilty to landing undeclared fish at Shetland Catch Ltd in Lerwick between 2002 and 2005 were the subject of confiscation orders totalling £2,945,600.

Anonymous said...

not counting the bribes etc of course..

Anonymous said...

Is this where all the cash confiscated from the drug dealers is going?
19 December 2011 23:16

I think that would be the gross figure your thinking about?

Anonymous said...

What possesses a Lord Advocate of Scotland to pose in such a fashion as depicted in this picture?

What persona is he trying to convey?

Is it, I'm the big bully boy prosecuter coming to get you Mr Crook? or

Is it, I am now UNTOUCHABLE and there is nothing you can do about it? or

I can pick and choose which laws to prosecute to suit me and my Scottish lawyer pals?

This picture reminds me of Al Pacino's character Al Capone in the film Untouchables.

Anonymous said...

What is the going bonus rate for sectarian prosecutions being swept under the carpet?

Anonymous said...

How long has this bonus culture at the Crown Office been going on and why has it not been checked before now?

The Scottish Govt have some explaining to do given the cuts in other parts of the justice system.

Anonymous said...

Nice headline Frank

Anonymous said...

Is this lawful for the Crown Office, as Public Officials to get paid bonuses?

Or are they just seeing the money coming back into the Governments coffers (public money, via the proceeds of crime Act and saying to themselves, we are given immunity from prosecution, so why don't we take our 20% cut off all money that comes back in and share it amongst ourselves?

Even if they create a stooshie over it, it will be too late as we will have the cash by then and if we all are in it together, then the MSP's couldn't sack all of us?

Anonymous said...

You better watch in case one of the crooked Fiscals ask one of their criminal underworld paymasters to do a hit on you in retaliation for this kind of news

Anonymous said...

I am assuming that Mr Lord Advocate flew First Class to USA to lay a wreath at their Lockerbie Bombing memorial?

It would seem that this is only befitting of such a Statesman, given that he is now clearly happy to publicly reveal his Political Role within Scotland.

The Levers of Power??

Anonymous said...

Bonuses for catching criminals and letting them out early?

Who is allowing all this to go on?Oh that's right,Kenny MacAskill.

Anonymous said...

Ladies and Gentlemen.

How to spot a CORRUPT STATE?

The Crown Office is run and operated by Public Servants, who are supposed to act 'solely' in the public interest.

So, sanctified is the Role of Lord Advocate, that he is immune to prosecution and of even being required to give evidence, because it is considered unthinkable that such an individual would even contemplate breaking the law, whilst being answerable to the public!

These Public Servants are considered to have sought these positions due to being 'driven to serve the public' and it is primarily for this reason that public prosecuters should be paid less than private fee paid lawyers.

In other words, their motivation is Justice, Fairness and a Strict Sense of adherence to the Law of the Land and to make sure crooks are prosecuted.


The bonus culture for Crown Office staff pay is evidence of just the monetary motivation side of this.

What does this say about the denuding of their professional VALUES, a necessary requirement of their job function?

Remember too that not too long ago the Lord President was criticising the Pay structure of the Judges and Sheriff's, that they were not comensurate with those in England!

Have they too lost sight of the whole reason their salary is recompensing them for?

How do the Public get back to a default position where the Crown Office and the Judges & Sheriffs do what they are designed to dd, to the required high moral standard, in order to justify the already high salary that they already demand?

Anonymous said...

This is great.

In Scotland is it more expensive to have criminals prosecuted by thugs or have criminals carry on doing their criminal acts?

What do they do in their spare time? Still institutionally racist,corrupt & bigoted?

Anonymous said...

and another,wonder how much of a bonus he was getting for the information he leaked

Crown Office employee Iain Sawers guilty of leaks

5 September 2014

A Crown Office employee has been found guilty of breaching the Official Secrets Act and Data Protection Act by leaking information about court cases.

Iain Sawers, 25, from Edinburgh, was found guilty at the end of a seven-day trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

A jury found him guilty on a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice, the Official Secrets Act and nine under the Data Protection Act.

The sheriff said he was considering imposing a custodial sentence.

Sentence was deferred until 19 September. Sawers was bailed.

Sawers joined the Productions Office of the Procurator Fiscal Service in Chambers Street in the city in 2008.

His induction covered security of information and the warning that any breach could lead to disciplinary proceedings. He was also told, under the Official Secrets Act, the unauthorised disclosure of documents was an offence.

The offences by Sawers came to light when police began an investigation into the case of 27-year old Calum Stewart on charges of breach of bail and attempting to pervert the course of justice by threatening his ex-partner, Kelli Anne Smillie, if she gave evidence in a trial in July, 2013.

Stewart paid for her and her mother to leave the country and go on holiday to Benidorm on the week of the trial.

The police investigations led them to a number of phone calls and text messages between Stewart and Sawers between 24 and 29 January 2014.

These led to Stewart phoning Kelli Anne threatening her and her mother. They were to be witnesses in the outstanding trial which has since been deserted by the Crown.

The police also recovered Sawers' iPhone. Although many messages had been deleted, forensic experts were able to recover them and the telephone numbers of the senders and receiver. They showed that between April 2008 and January 2014, Sawers had passed on information to other people on nine occasions.
Future victim

A check on the productions office computer showed shortly after receiving a call, Sawers' secret personal user number was used to access the information.

The jury also found Stewart guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice and breach of bail. Neither men gave evidence during the trial.

In his closing address to the jury, Fiscal Depute, Keith O'Mahony told them: "This trial is about you as members of the public, who at some time in the future may be the victim of a crime.

"If you are, you will go to the police and they will bring the case to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

"When you report that case you must have confidence your details - name, address, date of birth and telephone number will be kept safe, secure and confidential and not disclosed to others, particularly to people who may wish to harm you."

Sheriff Kenneth Maciver told Stewart, who has 15 previous convictions, that custody was inevitable.

"Sawers, who has no previous convictions, was told: "You were a member of the Procurator Fiscal Service, in a position of trust and that trust was betrayed. That has an effect on the reputation of the Procurator Fiscal Service and public confidence in it."

Anonymous said...

This is really interesting.

I did a google search and about this same time the Crown Office workers went out on strike complaining over their pay but in fact they were really helping themselves to all these bonuses as you said and probably for years on the go until this broke in the papers

here is the bbc story just in case anyone has a fit over what I wrote

Courts and prison staff in PCS strikes over pay
13 May 2013

Civil servants who work at Scottish courts and in prisons are among those taking part in a strike over pay and pensions.

It is part of three days of industrial action by members of the Public and Commercial Services union.

Union leaders said picket lines were in place at all major court locations between 07:00 and 10:00.

The Scottish Court Service said contingency plans were in place and all courts opened for "essential business".

A spokesman added: "At a number of locations public counters have closed or a reduced service has been provided. An early estimate indicates that 31% of SCS staff are taking part in industrial action."

The PCS began a UK-wide three-month campaign of protest over pay, jobs and conditions on 20 March - the day of the Budget.

The union said members faced being worse off after a pay freeze, a pay cap and increased pension contributions.

The latest industrial action in Scotland is being staggered over three days, with different departments and government agencies staging whole or half day strikes.

The PCS said its members at the Scottish Courts Service, the Scottish Prison Service and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service were involved in an all-day walkout. Members from the Registers of Scotland were joining the action in the afternoon.

On Tuesday PCS members at bodies including Creative Scotland, Historic Scotland, and the National Museums and Galleries are due to stage strikes.

On Wednesday civil servants at the Scottish government, Audit Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Airports will also take part in the industrial action.

PCS Scottish Secretary Lynn Henderson said: "I am very proud of our members in the justice sector who are leading the way at the start of the Scottish rolling three-day action.

"They, like all members working under Scottish ministers, are facing pension attacks, pay that is lagging far behind inflation and job losses.

"The Scottish government's proposed closure of local courts really highlights how attacks on PCS members and attacks on the services they provide are not separate things but are all part of a concerted onslaught against the public sector. "

Diary of Injustice said...

@ 23 January 2016 at 20:45

There is more to the Sawers case yet to come out involving a lot more than the courts or public were told of at the time.

@ 24 January 2016 at 10:26

Pocket lining in legal circles knows few bounds ...

Anonymous said...

Dont forget around the time of these bonuses Christopher Hales - the lawyer of the SNP MP Michell Thomson with her multiple properties empire was supposedly being reported by the Law Society to Crown Office and nothing was done about him

Anonymous said...

Sawers was selling the information.He isn't alone.You can tell that from the trial.

You can also tell double standards are in play where self opinionated sheriffs call out Police Officers for giving what the sheriff believes to be false evidence compared to trials of Crown Office employees where there is no rant from the sheriff of corruption within the ranks of COPFS.

Why am I bothering to tell you?You know the score.You wrote about this yourself last year oin the House letters to Lockhart.

The bottom line as we understand it is be careful what you share with Crown Office because the information ends up on the desk of a certain sleekit qc who represents the criminal fraternity.Bought and paid for.