Saturday, July 16, 2016

LORDING IT MORE OPENLY: Scotland’s obsessively secretive judiciary reveal overseas junkets - after media spotlight on judges’ international air travel circuit increases judicial transparency

Media interest results in judges revealing overseas trips. THE MOST powerful & unaccountable figures in Scotland’s justice system – The Judiciary –  will now regularly publish details of their frequent use of taxpayer funded overseas travel junkets.

The transparency victory comes after a three year Freedom of Information & media spotlight on judicial overseas travel junkets forced the Judiciary of Scotland to come clean on judges’ opulent use of public cash to fly around the globe to lavish locations and events officially described as ‘law conferences’.

Of the thirty one overseas travel junkets taken by Scottish judges in the latest year of figures covering from April 2015 to March 2016 - members of the judiciary racked up a further £22,605.92 worth of international trips funded by public cash - including £2,052.97 of expenses claimed by the travelling judges.

Overseas travel records now released by the Judicial Office for Scotland reveal Court of Session judge Lord Brailsford – enjoyed a £4,898.94 eight day taxpayer funded junket to Sydney Australia from 11 – 19 November 2015 – making Lord Brailsford the top overseas judicial junket claimant of the past twelve months.

Lord Brailsford – who regularly appears in judicial overseas junkets lists - was recently outed in published documents obtained from the Scottish Government - as the listed owner of the Laigh Hall – which forms part of Court of Session buildings located at Parliament House, Edinburgh.

The Laigh Hall was effectively swiped from public ownership by the Faculty of Advocates in the Parliament House titles scandal - which saw the City of Edinburgh Council lose public ownership of Scotland’s top court buildings to the Faculty of Advocates and the body which runs the courts – the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS).

The overseas travel data also reveals Scotland’s former top judge - Lord Brian Gill and current Lord President Lord Carloway - as the two judges filing the largest expenses claims on top of the costs of overseas travel in the past year.

Lord Gill enjoyed a two day trip during the twilight days of his short, if stormy three year term as Scotland’s top judge - to the Forum of Chief Justice of British Isles - held in the tax haven of Jersey.

Figures reveal Lord Gill claimed £302.09 expenses on top of the £231.60  cost of travel to Jersey - taking the cost of his last ‘confirmed’ judicial overseas junket as top judge - to £533.69.

Known for previous overseas judicial trips taken at taxpayers expense – Lord Brian Gill travelled to Qatar in 2014 on a five day £2,800 taxpayer funded state visit - while dodging invitations to attend the Scottish Parliament to face scrutiny on his opposition to increased transparency of the judiciary.

And earlier this year, Lord Gill billed the Scottish Parliament a further £267.75 worth of expenses claims - after the former top judge travelled 1st class to Edinburgh in November 2015 - demanding MSPs drop a three year probe on proposals to create a register of judicial interests as called for in Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland's judiciary.

Meanwhile Lord Carloway (real name Colin Sutherland) - who ascended to the top judicial post carrying the title of Lord President in January 2016 – claimed £352.51 expenses on top of the £650.47 cost of a judicial junket to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg during 24-26 January 2016 - bringing the total cost of Carloway’s latest taxpayer funded trip to £1,002.98.

Carloway – also well known on the judicial air miles junket set – previously took a £5,820.16 seven day trip costing taxpayers £5,820.16 to a law conference in Vancouver, Canada during 21 - 27 June 2014.

And, a two day group judges trip to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in late January – comprising Lord Carloway, Lord Braccadale, Lord Bannatyne, Lady Stacy, Lady Smith and Lady Paton - cost taxpayers a whopping £4413.23.

Full details of public cash funded overseas travel junkets by Scottish judges have previously been published by Diary of Injustice here: Overseas travel of Scottish judges in 2014-2015, Overseas Travel of Scotland’s Judges 2013-2014 & Overseas Travel of Scotland's Judges 2010-2013.

The latest transparency move by Scotland’s judiciary to reveal the secretive world of judges junkets and expenses claims comes after an earlier Freedom of Information campaign by DOI during 2009 –2010 resulted in the then Lord President - Lord Arthur Hamilton agreeing to publish regular disclosures on judicial expenses, featured in an article in 2010 here: Scots judges emerge from ‘Victorian veil’ as judiciary’s expenses claims set to be published online from November 2010 .

In response to a Freedom of Information request for information on the latest judicial overseas trips, the Judicial Office for Scotland confirmed the new policy of publication.

R. Gare, Policy Manager for the Judicial Office for Scotland said: “The Judicial Office for Scotland now publishes information on overseas travel. Information relating to your request can be found on the Scottish Judiciary website. Further, I can confirm that no SCTS staff travelled with any of the members of the judiciary in relation to the trips contained within the table.”

Overseas travel of Scotland’s judiciary 2015-2016: Information released by the Judicial Office for Scotland to DOI, and now published on the Judiciary of Scotland’s website reveals the extent of overseas travel undertaken by Scotland’s judges in the past year: 

9 -10 April 2015 Lord Tyre ENCJ Project Group meeting in Lisbon £540.31

16 - 17 April 2015 Sheriff G Liddle ENCJ - RECJ meeting of the Project team "Development of minimum judicial Standards" in Brussels £566.57

29 -31 May 2015 Lord Gill Forum of Chief Justice of British Isles in Jersey £533.69

2 - 6 June 2015 Sheriff G Liddle ENCJ AGM meeting in The Hague £408.68

3 - 5 June 2015 Lord Tyre ENCJ General Assembly meeting in The Hague £443.36

9 - 14 June 2015 Lord Brodie FBIJCC meeting in Paris £663.48

10 - 13 June 2015 Sheriff McGowan FBIJCC meeting in Paris £562.82

10 - 14 June 2015 Sheriff Welsh FBIJCC meeting in Paris £719.72

10 - 14 June 2015 Sheriff M Neilson FBIJCC meeting in Paris £710.75

11 - 14 June 2015 Lord Eassie FBIJCC meeting in Paris £646.55

11 - 14 June 2015 Sheriff L Drummond FBIJCC meeting in Paris £970.92

18 - 20 June 2015 Lord Tyre ERA meeting in Luxembourg £375.24

June 2015 ENCJ Reimbursement -£975.10 -£975.10 August 2015 ERA Reimbursement -£364.77 -£364.77

13 - 18 September 2015 Sheriff R Dickson CMJA Conference in NZ - Wellington £1,161.26

12 - 19 September 2015 Sheriff Fletcher CMJA Conference in NZ - Wellington £1,545.28

24 - 25 September 2015 Sheriff G Liddle ENCJ Project meeting in Paris £660.97

24 - 25 September 2015 Lord Tyre ENCJ Project meeting in Paris £983.10

27 - 29 September 2015 Lord Matthews ECJ meeting in Luxembourg £522.25

3 - 5 October 2015 Lord Doherty Opening of Legal Year in Dublin £584.90

4- 5 October 2015 Lady Stacey Opening of Legal Year in Dublin £281.37

11 - 19 November 2015 Lord Brailsford International Hague Network of Judges in Hong Kong and Commonwealth and Common Law International Family Justice Conference in Sydney £4,898.94

30 November - 1 Dec 2015 Sheriff Liddle ENCJ meeting project on Funding of the Judiciary in Brussels £557.90

3 - 4 December 2015 Lord Tyre ENCJ Project Meeting - Independence and Accountability in Brussels £508.36

24 - 26 January 2016 Lord Carloway European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg £1,002.98

24 - 26 January 2016 Lady Paton European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg £650.47

24 - 26 January 2016 Lady Smith European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg £690.52

24 - 26 January 2016 Lord Bracadale European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg £729.89

24 - 26 January2016 Lord Bannatyne European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg £650.47 

24 - 26 January 2016 Lady Stacey  European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg £688.90

18 - 19 February 2016 Lord President  Bilateral Meeting in Dublin £110.51

28 February - 1 March 2016 Sheriff Liddle  ENCJ Colloque meeting - Dublin £253.00

7 March 2016 Lord Tyre ENCJ Project Group - Independence and Accountability in Brussels £322.63

Total: £20,552.95 £2,052.97 £22,605.92

Abbreviations: ENCJ - European Network of Councils for Judiciary, CMJA - Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association, ECJ - European Court of Justice ERA - Academy of European law, FBIJCC - Franco -British - Irish Judicial Cooperation Committee Colloque

The decision in 2016  by the Judicial Office to publish judges overseas travel information and costs comes after several media investigations into the judiciary’s use of public cash to fund overseas trips.

In 2014, the Scottish Sun on Sunday newspaper investigated judicial overseas travel junkets, reporting:


Beaks Trips on Taxpayer

Exclusive : By Russell Findlay 17 August 2014 Scottish Sun

JET-SETTING judges spent £26,000 of taxpayers' cash on overseas trips last year, a Scottish Sun on Sunday investigation can reveal.

Top beaks flew out to destinations including Russia, Israel, Switzerland, Germany, France, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Qatar.

The most expensive was a £5,800 trip to Canada by Scotland's second most senior judge, Lord Carloway. Lord Gill - who is the Lord President - also spent five days on a £2,800 trip to Doha, Qatar, where he gave speech on judicial ethics.

Our probe found he jetted to the desert state — criticised for its human rights abuses - after twice snubbing calls to appear in front of the Scottish Parliament's public petitions committee just 800 yards from his office.

Committee member John Wilson MSP said: "During his speech in Qatar he said that he had much to learn from that country's judicial system. But Qatar has a poor record on human rights, as identified by Amnesty International."

Legal campaigner Peter Cherbi added: "Judges are supposed to sit in courts, not in jets.

"It's hard to believe that Scotland and our judiciary can learn anything from Qatar, a country accused of funding war. mass murder and chaos throughout the Middle East."

In the past year the Judicial Office for Scotland has paid for Lord Carloway — who earns £208.000 a year - to take part in law events in Vancouver. Canada, and Dijon. France.

It also forked out public money for Lord Armstrong, Lord Boyd and Lady Dorrian to meet other Euro pean judges on a three-day trip to Luxembourg.

Lord Eassie travelled to legal events in St Gallen, Switzerland, and Yalta, Ukraine.

And Lady Clark spent four days at an Anglo-Israeli conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, while Lord Hodge went to Paris.

Meanwhile four sheriffs — Wendy Anne Sheenan, Frank Crowe. Nikola Stewart and Thomas McCartney — attended a four day family law event in Ireland.

It took place at luxury Carton House hotel and spa in Co Kildare where the itinerary included a lack tie gala dinner and optional round of golf on the hotel's course.

Last year Lord Gill — whose salary is £216,307 - also travelled to Jersey, while in the previous three years he went to Ireland, South Africa, Slovenia and Canada.

Last week he announced a clampdown on overseas travel by judges, sheriffs and JPs.

He will only allow judges to travel if they give a good reason to do so and they will also have to write a report about their trips.

The SNP's Mr Wilson added: "Given the pressures on our courts, it's welcome that Lord Gill is seeking to curtail future judicial travel and will hopefully lead by example."

The Judicial Office for Scotland was asked to give details of Lord Gill's itinerary for the rest of his Qatar trip and whether he regretted going after snubbing Holyrood.

A spokesman said they couldn't help as the Lord President is on holiday.

The Sunday Mail newspaper also investigated judicial overseas junkets in 2015 - revealing three sheriffs spent £15,000 on an overseas junket to Zambia in Africa JUDGE JET: Sheriffs’ £15K tour of Africa adds to air miles racket of Scots judiciary - as top judges' clampdown on judicial jet set junkets takes flight.

And a report in the Sunday Mail on June 2 2013 revealed Scottish judges spent over £83,000 on overseas travel junkets in three years - while top judge Lord Gill refused calls to appear before the Scottish Parliament to answer questions on the judiciary’s secretive financial interests & links to big business, banks & the professions.

Previous articles on the judiciary’s use of public cash to fund judicial overseas junkets can be found here: Overseas travel of Scottish judges.


Anonymous said...

Why do they get to fly around when they should be doing the court job they are paid to do!Take the jets off them completely!

Anonymous said...

and long past time they fall into line with everyone else

congrats to journalists for success!!

Anonymous said...

Your line on Gill is priceless!

"Lord Gill enjoyed a two day trip during the twilight days of his short, if stormy three year term as Scotland’s top judge - to the Forum of Chief Justice of British Isles - held in the tax haven of Jersey."

Anonymous said...

note the majority of those junkets are EU destinations something the judiciary will lose if brexit becomes reality although I am sure they would find an excuse to go there anyway

Anonymous said...

Isnt it amazing how all these judges manage to screw the taxpayer for holidays to gatherings of the judicial mafia and no one has paid any attention to it until you lot came on the scene?
I am seriously beginning to switch off mainstream media such as the bbc and stick with you!
Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

R. Gare, Policy Manager for the Judicial Office for Scotland said: “The Judicial Office for Scotland now publishes information on overseas travel. Information relating to your request can be found on the Scottish Judiciary website. Further, I can confirm that no SCTS staff travelled with any of the members of the judiciary in relation to the trips contained within the table.”

Err not exactly

Someone will spot the omitted trips soon enough

Anonymous said...

President Erdogan has a way of dealing with judges who do as they please

Turkey coup: 2,700 judges removed from duty following failed overthrow attempt

Turkey’s highest judiciary council suspends judges and members of its own board for links to reformist Muslim leader Fethullah Gülen

Harry Cockburn

The Turkish government has removed 2,745 judges from duty in the wake of a failed military coup in which over 161 people were killed.

The decision followed an emergency meeting of Turkey’s Judges and Prosecutors High Council which was called to discuss members’ links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, the leader of a reformist Muslim movement.

The meeting saw the dismissal of 2,745 judges along with several members of the council itself, which is Turkey’s highest judiciary board.

Turkey’s state-run news agency said authorities have detained 10 members of the council.

The Anadolu Agency said arrest warrants have been issued for 48 administrative court members and 140 members of Turkey's appeals court.

The government has repeatedly blamed the influence of the Gülen movement for the coup and has said the overthrow attempt was carried out by a clique of supporters within the military.

Turkey’s acting military chief of staff Umit Dundar earlier said: “The armed forces is determined to remove members of the Gülen movement from its ranks.”

Mr Gülen, a preacher and former imam, was an ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan until 2013. The relationship turned sour after a corruption scandal implicated Mr Erdogan, who then accused Mr Gülen of being behind the corruption investigations.

Anonymous said...

Shocking! Each and every one of them should be made to pay back the money.If they want to go flying off somewhere let them do it on their own time and cash not ours!and I do not believe for one minute all the trips listed are anything to do with law conferences more like the usual weekend getaway or work freebies except this time paid for by us.

Anonymous said...

Spotted this on Twitter and thanks for the great read!

Also the one about the fox hunting judge in charge of the investigation on the killing of those poor fox cubs.

My comment is the following,

The Hague Jersey Brussels Paris Strasbourg you can see why the judges love their European junkets and want to remain part of the EU the total (not just the measly figures released by the judiciary) spent every year on EU junkets by government and the legal mob must be astronomical and in the end it all comes out of public cash witness the real benefits cheats judges lawyers and their workers who get to travel places and laze about for weeks on end in a way others can only dream of yet always the focus is on bashing the rich and tax dodgers well the rich and tax dodgers are being protected by judges and the like who are fleecing the public purse in the same way as the rich.

About bloody time someone put on the brakes through efforts by you and the decent press who expose this behaviour and it is good to see papers such as the Sun and Sunday Mail doing a great job of putting these shameless crooks on their pages and this is what the public want instead of miserable stories written by bankers lawyers and judges praising themselves to high heaven.

More headlines like Lording it all over the world please!

Anonymous said...

I always thought judges are paid to be in court not in the clouds!

Anonymous said...

Carloway and the gang missed out on their expeditions to the USA this year or have the trips been disguised as something else or somewhere else?

Anonymous said...

Leaving aside the taxpayer funding these trips, how can the judiciary justify the time spent away from their duties when Lord Gill himself observed in the Civil Justice Review that the Court of Session was - and continues to be - "notorious for its delays".

The simple answer is they cannot, and that the SNP and every other political party are content to continue turning a blind eye to this fact.

Anonymous said...

Yes the Taxpayer mother lode fills their pockets no wonder they are obsessed with secrecy. Bunch of crooks.

Anonymous said...

Sheriff Dickson retired in October 2015 what was the point of sending a 70 year old judge on a six day trip 13 - 18 September 2015 to the CMJA Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association in Wellington New Zealand at a cost of £1,161.26 when he retired the next month?

Retirement story here

'No sheriff gets any pleasure out of sending a person to prison..and if we can avoid it we do': Airdrie lawman stands down from the bench

25 Oct 2015 By Graham Miller

AIRDRIE Sheriff Court has bid a fond farewell to one of the most knowledgeable, dedicated and charismatic sheriffs ever to have graced the bench.

On his 70th birthday, Sheriff Robert Dickson walked out of court for the final time after 29 years as a permanent sheriff in Airdrie.

Sheriff Dickson was appointed to Airdrie Sheriff Court in March 1986 to assist with the increasing workload within the court.

He graduated in law from Glasgow University in 1967 and after an apprenticeship in Edinburgh in 1970 he returned west to become a solicitor and partner in Glasgow.

He began as a temporary sheriff in 1982 and four years later arrived in Airdrie on a permanent basis.

As well as being a sheriff, such was his extensive knowledge and high standing within the legal profession, he wrote a book on medical negligence. He has also written many well-regarded articles for newspapers and magazines down the years.

Anonymous said...

Well spotted the earlier comment about Sheriff Dickson who retired after going to New Zealand!

If this were a politician the media would be all over it so why is the judiciary sending their members everywhere and they just keep on doing same each year?Publishing the figures is one thing the junkets should be stopped completely as others are saying.

No one can argue any of these old duffers are going off to learn something new after their long esteemed careers in the legal profession so why all the money wasted on sending them off on 7 day holidays?


Anonymous said...

Good going.
The judiciary never do anything off their own bat therefore proving media attention has an effect now and then..

a reader said...

The same Sheriff Dickson who unlawfully jailed a man for five days..

Judge halts bid to sue sheriff

15 May 1997

A judge yesterday rejected a £10,000 damages claim against a sheriff by a man who was unlawfully jailed for five days.

Temporary Judge Mr Gordon Coutts QC decided his hands were tied by a 120-year-old decision that judges enjoy absolute immunity from being sued for their conduct on the bench.

Mr Coutts added, however, it seemed unjust that a man could spend five days in prison ''unreasonably and improperly'' without compensation.

Only a decision by three Court of Session judges could a reconsider the ''Victorian expressions of absolute immunity'' for a judge, however unreasonably his actions on the bench might be.

Mr Richard Russell, of Howe Road, Kilsyth, sued Sheriff Robert Dickson, following an appearance at Airdrie Sheriff Court on a number of road traffic offences in February, 1993.

He originally denied the offences, but changed his plea to admit careless driving,
driving with excess alcohol and failing to stop after an accident.

Sheriff Dickson remanded Mr Russell in custody so inquiries could be made about the case, and he spent five days in Barlinnie. He was later sentenced to 160 hours community service and give a two-year driving ban. But the conviction and sentence were overturned on appeal.

The Appeal Court judges criticised the decision to remand Mr Russell in custody as unreasonable, and said depriving him of bail was excessive.

In a written judgement issued yesterday, Mr Coutts said: ''It is an ironic footnote to these events that the result of the sheriff's conduct has been that Mr Russell's plea of guilty to Road Traffic Offences (including that of driving a vehicle when the alcohol content of his blood was above the prescribed limit) was quashed by the High Court so that not only did he escape sentence, but he also avoided being convicted on his own pleas of guilty.''

Mr Peter Ferguson, counsel for Mr Russell, argued Sheriff Dickson had been acting outwith his judicial capacity and had lost his protection from prosecution when he ordered Mr Russell to be detained.

Mr Robert McCreadie, for the sheriff, maintained the damages action was incompetent as were claims the sheriff had erred as to the extent of his powers.

Mr Coutts said the issue of judicial immunity was one of public policy, that it was essential to the ends of justice that judges should enjoy freedom of speech without fear of discharging their public duties.

In the case of Harvey v Dyce in 1876, Lord President Inglis stated: "No judge is responsible for acts done in his judicial capacity in an action of damages." Mr Coutts said he was bound by that statement of the law and had to rule the action against Sheriff Dickson be dismissed.

"The sheriff, although manifestly wrong and, as the Lord Justice General said, 'un-reasonable', cannot be sued."

Anonymous said...

Maybe President Erdogan should check up on if the suspended judges in Turkey were on the take or into junkets as much as Scottish judges and wouldn't be surprised if so because as I read your blog the judiciary look more and like their own unelected and not accountable government they do as they please whatever country they are in probably right up their street assisting or turn a blind eye to a coup to get their own way

Anonymous said...


In the case of Harvey v Dyce in 1876, Lord President Inglis stated: "No judge is responsible for acts done in his judicial capacity in an action of damages." Mr Coutts said he was bound by that statement of the law and had to rule the action against Sheriff Dickson be dismissed.

"The sheriff, although manifestly wrong and, as the Lord Justice General said, 'un-reasonable', cannot be sued."

To think we in 2016 are under the thumb of a judicial dictatorship that relies on drivel from 1876 is an utter disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Not so much the trips the more important part is what occurs or is discussed during the trips.I doubt much of what goes on is to do with law.More like a front for something far more important.
After all how much more can a group of 70 year olds learn from meeting each other in the far flung corners of the earth.
Stinks to high heaven

Anonymous said...

Good article as always.

Can anyone give good reasons why judges should remain obsessively secret?

I think not.

Well at least not unless the person or group defending judicial secrecy is another vested interest or have secrets of their own to hide from the rest of us.

It is blatantly obvious the only people defending the judiciary against full transparency and your register of judicial interests are those of questionable character and links to the legal profession/judiciary.

Who can trust anyone who claims to have an immunity from anything.The answer is no one.

Carry on your good deeds Peter and Diary of Injustice

Anonymous said...

Dickson is the same sheriff who caused the stooshie between the judges and and Police over his rant about bent cops in court I saw you featured the letters between the two on your blog

Sheriff warns against culture of corrupt police after officer is caught lying to cover up colleague's drink-driving

8 Dec 2014
By Keith McLeod

A SHERIFF has warned that police cover-ups must be "stamped out" immediately to prevent police corruption after shamed PC David Carmichael, 41, was found guilty of wilful neglect when he lied to conceal the drink-driving of colleague Daryl McKinnon.

A SHERIFF warned yesterday that he fears there is a culture of police officers covering up for colleagues who break the law.

Sheriff Robert Dickson launched a blistering attack as he jailed a disgraced PC who lied to stop a fellow officer being arrested for drink-driving.

And he said any cover-ups must be “stamped out” immediately to prevent a “corrupt force”.

Shamed Constable David Carmichael, 41, was found guilty of wilful neglect of duty and jailed for seven months for trying to cover for PC Daryl McKillion, who had been reported for being under the influence at the wheel.

Carmichael told a shocked probationary colleague he did not want to “grass on another cop”.

An off-duty officer had reported that McKillion had been drink-driving .

But the court heard she did not reveal he was a serving officer because she feared the incident would not be dealt with properly if she had.

McKillion, who had been suffering from depression , tragically later hanged himself.

Airdrie sheriff Dickson told Carmichael: “We trust our police officers to be honest, fair and to treat everybody equally.

“You breached that trust and deliberately concealed facts that could have led to the arrest and prosecution of another police officer.

“That attitude is totally unacceptable and if ever condoned would lead to a corrupt force.”

He said he hoped the cover-up of a criminal offence was a one-off. But in a stinging rebuke, the sheriff hit out: “I am seriously concerned that it is not.

“In her evidence, the off-duty police officer who reported the apparent drunk driver knew he was a serving police officer.

“She deliberately chose not to state his name or job because she was concerned that if she revealed that the driver was a police officer that her report would not be dealt with appropriately.

“That suggests that there may be a perceived culture that police officers are willing to prevent the arrest and prosecution of a colleague.

“If that culture exists, then every superior officer and anybody involved in the training of the police must ensure that it is stamped out forthwith.”

Anonymous said...

and to follow up

Dickson's conviction of Carmichael was quashed on appeal in a similar way to the 1997 Herald story someone posted earlier.

Cases like these and many more really make you wonder who these judges really are and how they stay in jobs after denying people their freedom in the most irregular of circumstances

Monklands police officer jailed for neglect of duty has conviction quashed

23 Jul 2015
By Graham Miller

A MONKLANDS police officer who was jailed last year for wilful neglect of duty has had his conviction sensationally quashed by appeal judges.

PC David Carmichael was sentenced to seven months imprisonment in December after a court heard he deliberately lied to protect a fellow officer from being investigated over allegations of drink driving three years ago.

At the time, Carmichael explained his motives to a colleague by claiming: “You don’t want to grass on another cop”.

The explosive case resulted in Sheriff Robert Dickson voicing “serious concerns” there “may be a perceived culture that police officers are willing to prevent the arrest and prosecution of a colleague”.

These remarks went on to spark a terse exchange of letters between Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House and Sheriff Principal Brian Lockhart.

Sir Stephen wrote to the Sheriff Principal saying he believed the comments were “unsubstantiated”, but Mr Lockhart responded that he believed Sheriff Dickson had “ample evidence” to make the inference.

PC Carmichael, who the Advertiser understands is still a serving officer, was freed on interim liberation pending an appeal against his conviction and the jail sentence imposed on him.

And Lord Drummond Young, sitting with Lady Clark of Calton and Sheriff Principal Ian Abercrombie QC, last week ruled the facts in the case were insufficient for a conviction. The senior judges’ reasons will be given in writing later.

PC Carmichael’s counsel, Gordon Jackson QC, said: “This appellant was convicted of a common law offence of neglect of his duty as a police officer.”

Mr Jackson said the alleged failure fell into three parts – failure to make full and proper inquiry, failure to follow a procedure requiring a person to reveal who was the driver of a car and a false report.

The senior counsel argued: “That would be a matter of police discipline but would not be neglect of his duty.”

At the time of his sentencing, Sheriff Robert Dickson told PC Carmichael: “We trust our police officers to be honest, fair and to treat everybody equally. You breached that trust and deliberately concealed facts that could have led to the arrest and prosecution of another police officer.

“You did it because as you said at the time, ‘you don’t want to grass on another cop’.

“That attitude is totally unacceptable and if ever condoned would lead to a corrupt force.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We note the court’s decision and a report will be submitted to the Deputy Chief Constable for his consideration.

Anonymous said...

Anyone care to justify sending a judge to a conference and then he retires a few weeks later? Taxpayers money on this one Lord Carloway and Co

Anonymous said...

thing is your publication of the trips caused another 'stooshie' when the JPs association wanted in on the junket circuit although another plus for you as the repercussions of that one roped in Gill and the travel controls I saw you referring to yesterday

Anonymous said...

All credit to you for the amount of detail links and actual evidence you put into your blog.None of the he said she said routine or miserable judicial excuses for not attending Holyrood here instead everything presented up front for us readers to make up our own minds.Very persuasive arguments.

Anonymous said...

Funny one on Gill he gives 30 days notice cant wait to go and takes a junket in the last few days,they should have asked him about it when he went to meet the msps and charged them for the privilege of facing him.You couldn't really make this up!

Anonymous said...

I am with the curious - you have to wonder why a judge visits a country like Qatar on the pretense of giving a speech about judicial ethics and takes five days to do it.

Qatar and ethics go together about as much as the Cayman Islands and financial propriety.

Sorry M'lord, time has moved on from when judicial dinosaurs ruled the world and people are more informed thanks to those [few] who take on the judiciary.

Anonymous said...

Lockerbie Pan Am 103

Posted on Scribd - the concealed 167 page Scottish police report 5th June 1989 confirming PFLP-GC as the perpetrators of the Lockerbie atrocity.

Anonymous said...

and every time one of these old gits jumps on a plane to go somewhere they will be thinking of you because now they have to declare it not like before eh!

nice one Peter keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Only because you pursued it.However I feel there is a more sinister underlying motive to those junkets.
The judiciary often present themselves as aloof from society however they are exactly the reverse.Well tuned in and honed abilities to squirrel away their interests from prying eyes.Your most recent piece on the lack of any visible wealth compared to decades of sky high salaries is enough to peak anyone's interest.Well done on your petition and good luck.