Saturday, September 02, 2017

DECLARE THE CROWN: Secrecy block on Crown Office Register of Interests - after fears info will reveal crooked staff, dodgy business dealings, prosecutors links to judiciary, criminals, drugs dealers and dodgy law firms

COPFS secret register contains links to judges, crime & business. AN INVESTIGATION has revealed Scotland’s Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) are blocking the publication of a staff register of interests – over fears it will reveal close relationships between prosecutors & judges, suspended solicitors, staff with criminal convictions including drugs crimes, and links to organised crime and sectarian behaviour.

The secret COPFS register of interests only received public acknowledgement of its existence – after the Scottish Information Commissioner became involved over refusals by Scotland’s top law officers to publish the information similarly disclosed in other registers of interest held by public bodies – including Police.

The issue came to light when journalists examined discussions between the Crown Office and the Scottish Parliament over a call for the Lord Advocate to submit evidence on Crown Office employees register of interests.

However, the Crown Office bluntly refused to provide any evidence or testimony to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee – who have been investigating proposals to require Scottish judges to declare their interests as called for in Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland's judiciary.

Senior figures at COPFS put a secrecy block on publication of their own register of interest after journalists uncovered a host of conflicts of interest by COPFS staff, including links to disgraced solicitors and suspended judges, unrecorded meetings with Ministers and members of the judiciary, business connections and interests of COPFS staff and dumbed down criminal convictions of prosecutors still working for the Crown Office.

And the Crown Office block on publication remains in force today - after over two years of refusal to disclose the information in response to Freedom of Information requests.

When journalists approached the Scottish Information Commissioner for assistance, the SIC made enquiries of the Crown Office to be told “As you have noted, our original response indicated that in our view no application could be made to the Commissioner. COPFS considered that section 48(c) of FOISA applied as the information requested is held by the Lord Advocate as head of the systems of criminal prosecution and investigation of deaths in Scotland. You have now asked us for our views on why we consider that to be the case.”

“I can confirm that COPFS holds a Register of Interests which extends to all members of staff. The Register is held on behalf of the Lord Advocate in order to guard against conflict of interest in prosecutorial decision making. The register of interests is designed to ensure that impartiality can be demonstrated in relation to any individual making prosecutorial decisions or involvement in the preparation or presentation of any case. Given the register is held on this basis, we consider that the information is held by the Lord Advocate in his capacity as the Head of the systems of criminal prosecution and investigation of deaths in Scotland.”

 Scottish information Commissioner files released on discussions with COPFS Register of Interests.

However, the enquiries and media interest prompted the Crown Office to acknowledge publicly for the first time the register of interests existed.

The Crown Office statement to the SIC in a letter dated further revealed: “Coincidentally, this issue has recently been considered by the COPFS Executive Board and a decision has been taken that the register should not published. To provide information about the personal interests of prosecution staff could compromise the security of individual staff members, undermine their ability to do their job and create conflict with our obligations under the Data Protection Act.”

“We intend, however, to provide a public statement of explanation about why we do not publish details of the Register of Interests on our website within the next 6 weeks and I will ensure that you are provided with a link to this when it is published.”

However, tt can now be revealed COPFS feared the register would also reveal close links between Advocate Deputes who prosecute criminals in court – and their spouses and partners who work in the Scottish Courts and some who serve on the judicial benches.

Discussions took place with regard to media enquiries , and fears were raised if the public and persons in court found out of  personal and family links between prosecutors and the judiciary, there could be questions over impartiality.

One such example of a Prosecutor with family in the judiciary is that of Advocate Depute Murdoch MacTaggart - who prosecuted the longest fraud trial in UK history in the case of Edwin & Lorraine McLaren - in connection with their sell your house & rent it back property scheme. MacTaggart was married to a Sheriff – Mhairi McTaggart.

There are a number of other personal relationships between prosecutors, crown office staff, the legal profession and judiciary – some of whom have appeared in and on both sides of the court together during  criminal trials – without any questions being raised on impartiality.

It is very clear COPFS felt the disclosure of personal and family relationships between prosecutors and judges may cause problems in a number of previous and ongoing trials.

The personal relationships between COPFS and others may be of lesser importance than prosecutors & COPFS staff business interests, which are significant and wide ranging, in a similar nature to what has recently been disclosed by Police Scotland, more on which is available here: POLICE REGISTER: ‘First responder’ Police Officers transparency in cops business interests register

However, in the case of COPFS employees & prosecutors business interests, there is significantly more potential for conflicts of interest in court.

And, it can also be disclosed a number of COPFS employees relatives and direct family appear to be working in highly paid positions in other public bodies, the Scottish Government and organisations within the justice system  including the courts - some of whom secured jobs without interview.

Enquiries in relation to the work histories of several Crown Office employees also reveals some Prosecutors and Advocate Deputes may also be exposed to questions over their links to law firms alleged to have committed significant fraud  with legal aid cash and embezzlement of client funds.

In a further investigation linked to the long running McLaren fraud trial, COPFS refused to respond to queries in relation to the status of any proceedings against a suspended lawyer - Karen MacTaggart – who was suspended as a solicitor from April 2014, according to a notice issued in the Gazette.

Karen MacTaggart is the sister of a Crown Office Advocate Depute - Murdoch MacTaggart.

The Crown Office was approached for an explanation on this but refused to respond.

The investigation has also revealed further concerns at the Crown Office - over fears publication of their Register of Interests would expose details of serving employees criminal convictions on everything from common assault, to perverting the course of justice, and dealing of Class A drugs including Cocaine – to COPFS colleagues and members of the public.

A further block on publication of the COPFS register of interests came about after members of IT staff at the Crown Office became embroiled in a scandal involving anti-catholic sectarian behaviour 

One COPFS employee was sacked and another quit after an investigation was launched into alleged sectarian comments made on an internal messaging system.

Shocked staff blew the whistle on their colleagues after spotting the anti-catholic remarks & comments on their computer screens, and following an internal probe, the men were found to have breached strict rules on bullying, harassment and discrimination.

As a result, one worker has been sacked and another has resigned, and a third, who had a senior managerial role, was given a final written warning.

The male members of staff who made the comments worked in the IT department of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) in Ballater Street, Glasgow, close to the city’s sheriff court. It is also understood that a second IT manager was moved to another department after the probe was completed.

An investigation was first launched after two Catholic staff members complained that sectarian hate comments had been posted by the three men but the resulting inquiry failed to find evidence to substantiate the claims – even though other members of COPFS saw the actual comments.

None of the COPFS staff involved in the sectarian probe have been named by prosecutors, however the names have now been passed to journalists who are looking further at the case.

Another reason for the Crown Office to refuse publication of it’s own register of interests hit the headlines in March 2016, when the Sunday Mail newspaper reported that the then Lord Advocate’s brother was at the centre of a probe into financial dealings – reported here: Revealed: Lord Advocate's brother Iain Mulholland at centre of dirty money probe after arranging £550k mortgage for rogue lapdance tycoon

Iain Mulholland, the younger brother of Scotland’s top prosecutor who announced he was standing down last week, helped prepare paperwork that secured businessman Steven MacDonald a huge loan now being probed by the Crown Office.

Prosecutors hunting assets linked to organised crime claim MacDonald conned bank bosses into lending him enough cash to buy his Diamond Dolls strip club.

They claim the businessman lied on a mortgage application to get a £552,000 cash injection from the Bank of Scotland to purchase the property in Glasgow city centre.

Mortgage broker Iain Mulholland arranged MacDonald’s loan application through his First to Mortgage firm.

The 48-year-old fixed the loan that is now the focus of a major investigation by the Civil Recovery Unit (CRU) – investigators at the Crown Office, led by his brother, who seize dirty money, property and other assets linked to organised crime.

In another case referred to within COPFS circles amid media queries on the secret register of interests - concerns were raised after a senior female member of staff was discovered to be involved in a relationship with an underworld figure accused of supplying guns and drugs.

There were fears information was being provided to the crook – which may have impacted on a now collapsed prosecution against several gangsters.

And in another development, information has come to light regarding the status of a Grade 6 Manager at the Crown Office, and the employment of his relative who was later charged with drug dealing.

The COPFS Manager’s step-son – who worked part time in the NHS – and has a direct relative working in the same organisation -  was handed a lucrative Crown Office job with access to sensitive information - without even an interview.

The individual – identified as Mr Peter Murphy -  worked at the Crown Office for around two years and was then arrested, apparently, on a Petition Warrant relating to the supply of Class A drugs.

Murphy’s employment at COPFS included access to sensitive information and systems which contained files relating to drug dealers within the city.

Sources said “It was presumed that given the quantity of drugs involved the case would be prosecuted at the High Court” - however no trace of any trial has been discovered and, allegedly, the Crown Office drug dealer received a community disposal at Sheriff Court level.

COPFS staff suspect the watered down and preferential treatment of the COPFS drug dealer was a result of information provided to the police or the Fiscal reducing the charges.

After the incident, Peter Murphy was allowed to resign from the Crown Office, rather than be sacked.

However, investigations around the case first revealed in the Scottish Sun during 2016 in reports of drug dealing at the Crown Office case – has since established Mr Murphy’s identity as the COPFS employee charged with drug offences.

The Crown Office has refused to answer further questions on this case, however, records show Mr Murphy’s step father - John Tannahill – a Grade 6 Manager – has worked at the Crown Office since October 2002.

John Tannahill currently occupies the positions of Head of COPFS Police Reform Team and Process Review Team and Major Incident Co-ordinator, Chair, Judicial Panel Scottish Football Association - according to Mr Tannahill’s Linkedin page.

Further internal discussions on the publication of the register reveal senior legal figures concerns that their own staff may be identified as members of organisations condemned for associations with the far right and racism if the Crown Office register becomes public.

There are now calls to make the Crown Office Register of Interests a polished document, to enable court users and legal representatives have access to the information in relation to Prosecutors interests.

However, the Crown Office has refused to issue any further comment on the content of their register of interests other than a brief online reference to it’s existence, which was only published after discussions with the Scottish Information Commissioner.

Crown Office Register of Interests

The Civil Service Code, which applies to all civil servants, requires that they should not put themselves in a position where duty and private interests conflict, nor make use of their official position to further those interests.
As a public servant, an employee has a particular duty to ensure that their public position is not, and raises no reasonable suspicion of being, abused in their own personal interest.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service holds a formal Register of Interests which extends to all members of staff.

The Interests are defined as:

Business interests (including directorships) not only of the employee but also  close family members

Shareholdings or other securities/financial interest which the employee or members of their close family hold

Any political interest or interest/membership in an organisation, club or society where there is the potential for a conflict of interest to arise as a result of official position

It is held on behalf of the Lord Advocate in order to guard against conflict of interest in prosecutorial decision making.

It is designed to ensure that impartiality can be demonstrated in relation to any individual making prosecutorial decisions or involvement in the preparation or presentation of any case.

The Register is not published.

To provide information about the personal interests of prosecution staff could compromise the security of individual staff members, undermine their ability to do their job and create conflict with our obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998.

It is worth noting while the Lord Advocate is determined to withhold the information contained in the COPFS register of interests from public scrutiny, the Crown Office itself believe members of their own staff are not honest in their own declarations and entries in the register.

And, in a number of trials, prosecutors and COPFS staff have been switched around at the last minute after failing to declare interests which could have potentially harmed criminal trials.

While the Crown Office would only issue the above statement online in relation to it’s secret Register of Interests – the evidence now in the public domain in relation to serious conflicts of interest held by prosecutors, personal links to the judiciary, businesses who themselves have contracts within the justice system, and other more serious issues including jobs handed out to family members – make the case for publication much stronger.

For previous articles on the Crown Office, read more here: Scotland's Crown Office - in Crown detail


Anonymous said...

prosecutors are more corrupt than crooks!

Anonymous said...

I see Pagan Osborne are bankrupt good rotten to the core did a lot of damage to people in their area yet the press gave them free rides and glowing refs down to property advertising

Seventy jobs lost as law firm Pagan Osborne folds

2 September 2017

Seventy jobs are being lost after one of Scotland's oldest laws firms went into administration.

Pagan Osborne Limited, which is based in Fife, employs 123 staff.

The assets and work have been taken on by Dundee-based law firm Thorntons, which is also saving 50 of the jobs.

Pagan Osborne's offices in Edinburgh, Cupar and St Andrews will close while the Anstruther office will be rebranded as Thorntons. The 70 redundancies will affect all the offices.

A 45-day redundancy consultation period will start next week.

Tom MacLennan, partner at FRP Advisory and joint administrator, said: "We are delighted that Thorntons has acquired the assets, goodwill and work-in-progress of Pagan Osborne, thus ensuring continuity of client service, providing employment opportunities and safeguarding client funds.

"We wish the newly enlarged business every success."
'Uncertain time'

Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland, said she was "very sad" to hear the news.

She added: "It represents the loss of a long-established and highly-regarded Scottish law firm operating across Fife and Edinburgh.

"We understand that most of Pagan Osborne's staff, including all trainee solicitors, will transfer to Thorntons but there are to be redundancies following a consultation period, making this a difficult and uncertain time for everyone affected by this announcement.

"There has been ongoing, significant change within the legal services sector which, combined with a challenging economic environment, continues to have an impact on law firms."

Craig Nicol, joint managing partner of Thorntons, said: "Pagan Osborne was a long-standing, highly-respected firm with a high profile in Fife and Edinburgh.

"Our priority will be to provide a seamless transition for clients and to preserve the maximum number of jobs.

"We will be in contact with all Pagan Osborne clients imminently and I would seek to reassure them that they will receive continuity of service from the newly-enlarged Thorntons team for their legal or property matters in the coming days and weeks."

Anonymous said...

If the Crown Office had to declare their vested interests, then the deal they cut with the Law Society of Scotland to save Michelle Thomson's Scottish solicitor from jail over mortgage fraud would expose both criminal organisations?

The corrupt State tried to get the Scottish public off-the-scent by taking over a year to tell the Scottish public that they were letting Michelle Thomson off Scot-free just like they did to her solicitor?

However, the Crown Office & Nicola Sturgeon knew all along that they HAD to let Michelle Thomson off too because if they prosecuted her, then Michelle Thomson would sing-like-a-canary and drop Nicola Sturgeon, the Law Society of Scotland and the Crown Office in the shit by exposing the well practised crimes whereby the Law Society of Scotland and the Crown Office cut-deals to save Scottish solicitors from jail on the Law Society of Scotland's orders?

Now the whole of Scotland knows that these criminal-deals are common-place and that the politicians are too weak to stand up against the lawyers at the Law Society of Scotland and the Crown Office, who now run Scotland on a blackmail basis?

The cherry-on-the-cake was Michelle Thompson crowing on TV and rubbing Nicola Sturgeon's nose in the shit in the process, knowing that she cannot be touched, as the crime committed by the Law Society of Scotland and the Crown Office would be exposed?

The nuclear option. A scandal which would have finished the SNP as a political Party, caused members of the Crown Office to be jailed and members of the Law Society of Scotland to be jailed and the focus of the Scottish Public being centred on how could lawyers inveigle so much power that they can act as if they are above-the-law?

Make no mistake, the Michelle Thomson scandal was not a one off. This exact crime is being committed as a regular occurrence between the Law Society of Scotland and the Crown Office?

It speaks volumes and is indicative of the state our country is in that these crimes are being committed by the Law Society of Scotland and the Crown Office in the full knowledge of Nicola Sturgeon yet the Press won't touch it with a barge-pole?

Peter Cherbi is the conscience of the People of Scotland?

Anonymous said...

This mob were on strike did you know?Big photo there too

Courts strike ‘forced police to cut arrests’ Pickets at the Sheriff Court and Crown Office.

Published: 09:48 Tuesday 27 January 2015 A STRIKE by court staff forced police across Edinburgh and the Lothians to arrest fewer people than normal, it has emerged.

The number of people appearing before Edinburgh Sheriff Court was significantly lower than usual with just 47 yesterday. This compares with between 70 and 90 on a regular Monday, typically the busiest day of the court week.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union had downed tools across Scotland in the latest in a series of rolling strikes over pay.

It has been claimed that Police Scotland decided against holding some accused in custody as a way of minimising the disruption caused by the industrial action.

Edinburgh-based solicitor Paul Dunne said the numbers were “surprisingly low” and said there had been disruption at the courts due to closures and adjournments. But while police didn’t directly deny a change in arrest policy, they said that no decisions were taken that could potentially harm the community.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “It’s clearly important for Police Scotland to work with its partners in the justice system to ensure that planning is in place so that people in custody are managed appropriately and that arrangements are in place to ensure that business continues effectively.

“All decisions made about custodial status were based on the Lord Advocate’s guidelines and ensures there was no potential for risk or harm to the community.”

Limited services were being offered at some courts but emergency planning with partner agencies meant no cases were lost, according to a spokesperson for the Scottish Courts Service (SCS).

The spokesperson said: “No courts are closed although some business has been adjourned to allow essential business to proceed in the Supreme Courts, Sheriff Courts and Justice of the Peace Courts. “Some courts are offering a limited service and there is no public counter service being provided at Stornoway, Glasgow, Greenock, Kilmarnock, Airdrie, Ayr, Lanark and Alloa.

“As part of our contingency planning with justice partners, some routine civil and criminal business was adjourned in advance of Monday to ensure that all essential business could be dealt with.”

The strikes come as a number of smaller courts are expected to close this week as part of a raft of cost-cutting measures.

Among those slated to close its doors is Haddington Sheriff Court, in East Lothian, which has doled out justice for more than 100 years. Locals hosted demonstrations against the closure and have organised a public meeting next week to campaign for its transformation into a Summary Sheriff Court.

From Friday, January 30, all the business from Haddington Sheriff Court will be moved to Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Anonymous said...

You can see why the Crown Office got away with refusing to publish their register given the hands off approach by the Scottish Information Commissioner in those emails you published.

If information in a register is being held for the purposes of crime then doesn't this apply to all registers of interest?

The SIC got this one heavily wrong but then again like all public bodies in Scotland the SIC exists at the whim of the Scottish Government and usually side with vested interests.

Anonymous said...

Mummy works in NHS and Stepdad works at COPFS

No need to be professors to figure out how he came by his employment

Thanks for publishing

Anonymous said...

The crown office register will have the most corrupt people in Scotland on it rotten to the core your report proves this alone and all the other news we know about this rotten bunch

Anonymous said...

Where was the Crown Office when all this was kicking off about slps protected by their Law Society friends?

The Scottish firms that let money flow from Azerbaijan to the UK

Billions of pounds came through two Glasgow-based companies using obscure structure that let owners hide identities
Glasgow. Scotland is an appealing jurisdiction for ‘serious money’ because the rule of law is predictable, said an international financial investigator.
Caelainn Barr

Monday 4 September 2017 19.25 BST
First published on Monday 4 September 2017 18.00 BST

UK companies using an obscure Scottish business structure are at the centre of a multibillion-dollar operation to funnel cash out of Azerbaijan, an investigation by the Guardian has found.

Scottish limited partnerships (SLPs), structures originally established in the early 1900s for farm holdings, acted as shell companies to channel $2.9bn (£2.2bn) from Azerbaijan into the UK where it was used to buy luxury goods and peddle political influence throughout Europe.

The money was moved through the Glasgow-based companies Hilux Services LP and Polux Management LP via an Estonian branch of Danske Bank between 2012 and 2014, according to bank statements seen by the Guardian as part of a cross-border collaboration with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

Anonymous said...

notice only being featured now after the companies dissolved and no comment from crown office or their pals in the legal world who helped form the companies!

The companies, which have since been dissolved, benefited from loose national disclosure laws that allowed firms to hide the identity of their owners while enjoying the benefits of being a UK-registered company.

“One of the real attractions for serious money, however it has been obtained, is finding a jurisdiction where the rule of law is predictable,” said L Burke Files, an international financial investigator.

“When it comes to jurisdiction, would you prefer to use a company in Scotland, under Scottish law, or some place like Burkina Faso or Algeria where the judges go to the highest bidder?

“The [SLP] structure and how it was crafted into law also provides for an element of privacy,” said Files.

Some of the billions moved through the letter-box companies were used to pay for legitimate lobbying work for Azerbaijan, luxury goods and the medical expenses of the Azerbaijani political elite. The Scottish companies have also been linked to a corruption scandal involving the alleged bribery of a member of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe.

Anti-money-laundering legislation was rushed through parliament in June to bring disclosure of the ownership of SLPs into line with EU law. However, there are still concerns the companies could be used as money-laundering vehicles.

“At the moment the combination of corporate partners, minimum filing requirements, and separate legal personality make the Scottish limited partnership particularly attractive to those looking to use it as one of the layers in a money-laundering scheme,” said Duncan Hames, director of policy at Transparency International.

Two companies at the heart of the Azerbaijani money-laundering scheme, Hilux and Polux, were registered to a Mail Boxes Etc shop in Glasgow. The only trace of who may have controlled the laundering vehicles leads to the British Virgin Islands – another secrecy jurisdiction, where the registered partners are Solberg Business Limited and Akron Resources Corp.

The companies are among thousands of Scottish limited partnerships set up in the past decade. The number of SLPs increased rapidly following a tightening of the law elsewhere in the UK in 2006. The restriction prohibited private and limited companies from setting themselves up without a named individual as a director. However the change did not extend to SLPs and as a result it is still possible to register a company only disclosing corporate partners in an offshore jurisdiction.

The surge in the number of SLPs resulted in four times as many companies being created since 2006 as were established in the previous century.

The majority of the companies formed in the past decade are registered to a handful of locations, with thousands of SLPs at the same mailbox addresses. Of the new companies set up between 2006 and 2017, 70% are registered to just 10 addresses in Scotland, a report by Transparency International and Bellingcat found. More than 800 SLPs are registered to the mailbox address in central Glasgow that Hilux Services and Polux Management listed as their business address.

Anonymous said...

Jings not only Scotland involved! no word on what happened to the billions in England laundered away while the cops told to take a back seat and let the money flow!

The structures have also played a role in other UK-linked money-laundering schemes. A number of SLPs were involved in the Global Laundromat, a large-scale money-laundering scheme that moved more than $20bn (£16bn) out of Russia, reported by the Guardian in March. Over 50% of the money transacted through the Laundromat flowed through shell companies registered in London, Birmingham and Scotland.

Following new anti-money-laundering legislation all SLPs were required to register people with significant control by 7 August. However, a review of the disclosures filed after the deadline shows the vast majority of partnerships have not yet disclosed who controls the company, while more than half the partnerships who have filed statements stated that they did not know who controlled the company or were taking steps to find out.

“The initial responses really back up our suspicions about how many of these entities set up recently are being used,” said Hames. “Of those who have declared their beneficial ownership, an analysis by Bellingcat showed that there are as many based in the UK as there are in Russia and Ukraine.

“Even the most recent information to come to light confirms the appetite for using this corporate vehicle in some high risk jurisdictions,” he added.

The new regulation requiring SLPs to declare people with significant control will not apply to Hilux and Polux as they were dissolved in 2016, before it came into force.

Anonymous said...

If a prosecutor is married to a judge sheriff or otherwise this is a matter for public knowledge otherwise who is to know they are going to have a fair trial or hearing?

This is a ridiculous situation they are withholding the register because of links such as this and we all realise now what is going on with the secrecy situation.

Also what about the drug dealer and his relative?Are they seriously saying we shouldn't believe there is any connection?Again ridiculous if there is nothing to hide there is nothing to fear.

Declare the links and everything else of these prosecutors and their employees otherwise we are entitled to assume they are dishonest.

Anonymous said...

If the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service have nothing to hide then it has nothing to fear - obviously it is very afraid.

The Scottish Public can have no confidence in a taxpayer funded public service which has bluntly refused to provide any evidence or testimony to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee - obviously COPFS considers itself above the law and any inconvenient findings by the Scottish Freedom of Information Commissioner can be ignored without penalty.

Given the 'gun club' members outlined in an earlier report and the preponderance of 'public schoolboys (and girls)' who populate the Scottish Courts, it is no surprise that an incestuous relationship may exist between prosecutor, defender and the judiciary.

That however does not mean it is in any way remotely acceptable.

Anonymous said...

Iain Sawers entered the Crown Office same way as Murphy didn't he?

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.

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...

With all that is going on this really makes you wonder where all those supposedly vocal criminal defence solicitors are when it comes to speaking out against what is clear corruption in the crown office.
Perhaps they do not want to rock the legal aid boat or the sheriffs who are making such a financial killing on their own they dare not disclose.

Anonymous said...

Rotten to the core.Did you see the spin from the Lord Advocate today trying to sound in charge of the Corrupted Office at Chambers st?

Anonymous said...

Why should the Lord Advocate want to hide the fact his own prosecutors are married to judges?

Answer is because there must be cases on the go or already prosecuted where hubby PF appears in front of the judge wife and no one says a thing not even the accused's legal team who will obviously know all about it!

What was it Lord Carloway was saying about no corruption in Scotland's courts and this being a world respected legal system?Complete rubbish!

Anonymous said...

Hope this gets your attention LA telling his senior staff to prepare for a new FM Sturgeon described as toast

Anonymous said...

Interesting the comment about Sturgeon however have heard msps secretly warned if they challenge her the party funding source will be terminated so someone else will have to go out and buy a ticket
Getting back to the topic some drugged up advocate depute caught in Glasgow High court with a bag of cocaine this one well known for it also having affair with equally famous female advocate well known to be concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.

Anonymous said...

I assume you are aware ex crown office employees are all over the public sector including Scottish parliament and courts along with glowing if fabricated refs from former employers

Anonymous said...

This proves beyond reasonable doubt the corruption at the crown office and the participation of the authorities (including the judiciary) to cover it all up.COPFS could not be so corrupt and continually get away with it unless they had the highest levels of support in the two outfits who could do something about it as in politics and the judges.They are all part of the same corruption no wonder the lord advocates crowd get away with murder

Anonymous said...

They must have burned their own files because a crooked PF was about to be caught

Investigation launched following blaze at Dumbarton Fiscal's office

Three fire crews battled the fire at the building on Dumbarton High Street on Sunday (April 23).

ByLinzi Watson 16:14, 25 APR 2017Updated16:17, 25 APR 2017

The fire damaged the Procurator Fiscal’s office in Dumbarton High Street

An investigation has been launched following a blaze at the Procurator Fiscal’s office in Dumbarton High Street.

Three fire crews rushed to the scene of the fire at around 3pm on Sunday afternoon.

They found the roof space of the building well alight.
Fire fighters battled the blaze on the roof. Credit: Danielle McArdle

No-one was injured and the Crown Office say there has been no disruption to services.

A spokesman said: “The cause of a fire at Dumbarton PFO over the weekend is being investigated.

“No one was hurt in the incident and all essential services are operating as normal.” An investigation has been launched following the fire

A fire service spokeswoman said: “At 3pm we received a call about a fire inside a building on High Street, Dumbarton.

“Three crews attended and located the fire in the roof space.”

Anonymous said...

Is this the story linked to the anti catholic Crown Office? Are you allowed to publish this in Scotland now or will the armed wing of the Govt aka Police Nationalist Scotland be on the prowl to confiscate all knowledge?Who would have thought eh 2017 Crown Office rancid with catholic hating racist crooked prosecutors and employees and junkies and the cops turn into Gestapo Scotland.Any chance we can flee to Germany as refugees?!

Crown Office staff caught up in abuse probe after making vile comments about colleagues

One employee has been sacked and another quit after an investigation was launched into alleged sectarian comments made on an internal messaging system.

ByNorman Silvester 06:00, 9 JUL 2017

Three Crown Office workers have been caught making vile comments about colleagues on a work messaging system.

Shocked staff blew the whistle on the men after spotting the offensive remarks on their computer screens.

Following an internal probe, the men were found to have breached strict rules on bullying, harassment and discrimination.

As a result, one worker has been sacked and another has resigned.

A third, who had a senior managerial role, was given a final written warning.

The men worked in the IT department of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) in Ballater Street, Glasgow, close to the city’s sheriff court.

It is also understood that a second IT manager was moved to another department after the probe was completed.

An investigation was first launched after two Catholic staff members complained that sectarian hate comments had been posted by the three men.

But an inquiry failed to find evidence to substantiate the claims.

Bosses then ordered a second probe, which examined the workers’ previous messages since January.

Investigators discovered a cache of derogatory and offensive comments made about fellow colleagues and senior Crown Office officials.

The three staff members at the centre of the probe were responsible for infrastructure support – IT systems used by prosecutors on criminal cases.

The vacancies created by the sacked workers were advertised on the civil service website last week.

A Crown Office insider said: “You would think that people who work in IT would know better than to post offensive comments on an internal messaging system.

“They would know that these comments can always be retrieved at any time in the future, even if they’ve been deleted.

“Two people complained that the comments were anti-Catholic.

“The initial allegations which were thrown out included references to colleagues being called f***** b*******.

But nothing was found to back that up.

“A second, more detailed investigation was carried out and they found other comments which were just as bad.

“The Crown Office have a zero-tolerance policy towards this type of thing.”

The COPFS handle all prosecutions in the high courts and sheriff courts in Scotland.

They are also responsible for prosecuting hate crimes and sectarianism.

The Crown Office yesterday declined to say what comments had been made by the three men or what disciplinary action had been taken.

A spokesman added: “We don’t comment publicly on individual staffing matters. COPFS have a policy of zero tolerance of bullying, harassment and discrimination.

“Any alleged instances reported to management are taken extremely seriously and investigated thoroughly.”

Two years ago, Crown Office worker Frances Grubb was sacked for illegally using a work computer to get details of her dad’s assault case.

Anonymous said...

We are now living in a Scotland where the Police want to prosecute newspapers for revealing the truth under the Sturgeon govt and if they wanted to go for the herald the cops have probably discussed going after others too

Police ‘discussed prosecuting newspaper for printing Nazi fancy dress photos’
by David Sharman Published 11 Sep 2017

Police considered prosecuting a Sunday newspaper after it published images of people dressed as Nazis at a fancy dress party, it has been claimed.

The Sunday Herald reported that Police Scotland officers discussed the idea after it printed the “shocking” images of fancy dress partygoers dressed as Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun at an event held by a loyalist flute band in an Orange Order Hall.

10th September
Police discussed prosecution of Sunday Herald over Nazi Orange Order images
Peter Swindon @PeterSwindon Senior reporter, Sunday Herald

POLICE officers discussed prosecution of the Sunday Herald after we published shocking images of people dressed as Nazis at a loyalist flute band fancy dress party in an Orange Order Hall.

The revelations come as Police Scotland “escalated” a complaint against an officer who allegedly refused to take details from a woman who called with concerns about the images.

It is claimed that the officer told the complainant she was “easily offended” by the pictures, taken at fancy dress competitions in 2010 and 2013, and should instead focus on the conduct of former Celtic manager Neil Lennon.

She alleges that the officer – and an inspector who spoke to her subsequently – told her that the Sunday Herald could be prosecuted over publication of the images.

When the woman originally complained it is understood it was treated as an ‘incivility’ matter but after senior officers listened to the call between the officer and the complainant it was escalated to misconduct.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland did not respond to allegations that officers made comments about the Sunday Herald.

You may all laugh but this is exactly how the nazis got started taking out newspapers and people who didnt agree with them now we are living in the same thuggery where the cops can go after any paper or anyone their bosses dont like the herald wont be the first or the last they go after

Diary of Injustice said...

@ 13 September 2017 at 00:08

Could be much worse than that.

If you look at the Emma Caldwell scenario with the Sunday Mail, and articles in other newspapers, there is evidence journalists and sources have been personally targeted by Police Scotland and COPFS ... a report t follow in due course.

In relation to an unposted comment - yes, and contact via the route you suggested.

Anonymous said...

Off topic slightly just want to enquire is the following report the actual reason of the story on the orphanage and the bodies as in lawyers wanting to get their hands on the £6m?
If you do any research on this you will discover quite a few law firms helped keep the daught4ers of charity on the go for many years before and stopped claims of abuse all the time why now they shout about it and did nothing when we all asked?

Mass grave claim nuns try to sell land

AN order of nuns that ran an orphanage where 402 children died is trying to sell the surrounding land for £6million.

The Daughters of Charity, who changed their name from the Poor Sisters of Charity, still own a 40-hectare site near Smyllum Park, in Lanark.

The orphanage shut down in 1981 and was sold to developers, who turned it into flats.

But the order of nuns has set up a property development firm to handle the sale of the land it still owns.

Last week, it was revealed that at least 402 babies, toddlers and teenagers died while being looked after by nuns at the orphanage.

The children are believed to have been buried in a mass unmarked grave in nearby St Mary’s Cemetery.

Josie Drage-Dawes, 73, who alleges she was physically abused at the home, said: “To think the nuns are secretly chasing a £6m sale while they’ve been unable to remember the lost children is unforgivable.”

Anonymous said...

Yes! Finally someone writes about 13th amendment.