Tuesday, May 10, 2016

PASS THE CROWN : As one Lord Advocate exits, another is set to take charge of Scotland’s ‘institutionally corrupt’ Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service

Crown Office set to have new Lord Advocate SCOTLAND'S Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) - based in Edinburgh - would not be out of place in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Seriously.

Remember the opening sketch from At World’s End – where the line of accused sing while walking to the gallows - as various repeals of statutes, rights & laws are ordered suspended.

If one were to loiter around gatherings of prosecution robes in Sheriff courts up and down the land, one would quickly discover this is how some view justice and how to score a conviction, guilty or not.

Headlines and PR please. Who cares about due process and the quality of evidence – that is the stuff of entertainment, drama and fiction.

Thank goodness then, for criminal defence solicitors … well, at least the dutiful, attentive & hard working ones.

Evasion, introducing dodgy evidence into a trial – lets just call it lying, telling plod to read from an empty note book, dead people on witness lists, private briefings against judges who signed a petition to retain key parts of Scots Law such as corroboration.

The Crown has done it all. Ask any solicitor – well, a decent one. Even the judiciary know it. Not too difficult to spot.

Incompetence, corruption, links to gangsters, stage managed media, interference in investigations and subtle threats to anyone who stands in their way of a quick verdict.

What £110 million a year – the cost of the Crown Office - buys you. Really.

The truth is, standards have slipped at Scotland’s Crown Office. And we all know it.

Some may say, were there ever any real standards at the Crown Office? Well - there is an unpalatable answer to that one.

But let us not forget, we are here today to sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the end of one Lord Advocates career in office ... and the beginnings of another.

Among the massed ranks of gangsters, corrupt public officials, legal aid thieving lawyers, the occasional declare-dodging judge waddling along with gemstones, krugerrands, loads-a-property and offshore trusts jingling in their back pockets, there are a platoon of prosecutors who are tasked with keeping the lid on all of it.

That lid – needs a boss.

You know – someone to keep Edinburgh’s version of Al Capone’s Hotel Lexington in fancy red carpets and baseball bats.

And so we come to the role of Lord Advocate. The boss of it all.

The current Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland, announced back in March he plans to step down in May.

Mr Mulholland previously served as Solicitor General and succeeded Dame Elish Angiolini QC as Lord Advocate in 2011.

Speaking of his intention to quit, the Lord Advocate said: “It has been a real privilege to serve as Lord Advocate, leading Scotland’s prosecution service and providing independent legal advice to the Scottish Government . However, after nine years as a Law Officer – the last five as Lord Advocate - I have decided it is the right time to step down and do other things.

“In recent years the Crown has embedded specialisms in the way it does its job. Our expertise in handling offences including rape, domestic abuse, Serious Organised Crime, Counter Terrorism and Cold Cases has helped us become one of the most effective prosecution services in the world and given victims greater confidence to report crimes.”

He added: “It’s been an honour to do this job working with so many dedicated and talented people to deliver justice in some of the most demanding and challenging of cases.

He was duly praised by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who said: “Frank Mulholland has fulfilled the challenging roles as head of Scotland’s prosecution service and as the Scottish Government’s principal legal adviser, with dedication, energy, integrity and intellect.

“He has played a central role in many innovations to our justice system, including leading Scotland’s first successful ‘double jeopardy’ murder prosecution and agreeing a historic communiqué with the heads of prosecution services from across the UK and Ireland to work together to tackle the cross-border crime of human trafficking.

“It is clear that he has worked to bring about change to ensure that the system makes a real difference to people’s lives, and his dedication to the law and his compassion for others has been behind that drive.

“Frank has made a substantial contribution to the law and Scottish society. I’m confident that he will continue to do so and I want to take this opportunity to thank him for his service and wish him well for the future.”

Nothing about the decision to refuse to prosecute anyone over the deaths of six members of the public in Glasgow Bin Lorry deaths case – and countless other deaths in similar situations.

Nothing about inaction in a three year probe of a £400 million collapsed Hedge Fund with links to the judiciary who just happened to represent Scotland’s top politicians and former Lord Advocate.

Nothing about shredding statistics so the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee could not investigate claims in the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012.

Nothing about significant numbers of collapsed cases involving notorious Scottish crime clans – this after being fed yearly Crown Office press releases on crime gangs & professional advisers, none of whom are ever caught.

Nothing about slipping £500K of bonuses to Crown Office prosecutors for a job not well done.

Nothing about the real reasons for the introduction of Double Jeopardy – because Prosecutors were - and are - just not up to the job.

Nothing about the Crown Office role in the plot to remove Corroboration from Scots Law. And what a plot that was.

Nothing about Prosecutors very own crime gang – where Crown Office Prosecutors teamed up with criminals, leaked case files, used drugs & much more.

Oh, and nothing about Prosecutors escaping jail for some of the worst imaginable crimes on the go.

Of course - as we all know - fond farewells are often fond - and written by candle light with a teary eye.

Perhaps not always fair to blame the boss, right? It’s the institution.

Some would say that. Even a clear thinking Scottish Minister, at least privately.

Institutionally corrupt, institutionally racist .. the Crown Office has been branded many things over the years, and rightly so with the evidence before our very eyes.

So, if the institution is to function as it should, a change is needed, much more than a simple elevation of another part of the problem to higher office.

Step up - the next overseas jet set junket, expenses claiming, bonus paying, investigation meddling & truth bending Lord Advocate.

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

In completely unrelated news:

Currently, there is a dirty cash probe into the financial affairs of the Lord Advocate’s brother.

Previously, it has also been reported a relative of the current Solicitor General was convicted of criminal offences involving violence against women.

The same Solicitor General represented the Crown during the Fatal Accident Inquiry into the Glasgow Bin Lorry deaths - where a decision was taken not to prosecute anyone over the “preventable deaths”.

The Crown team’s failure subsequently forced the families of victims to attempt a private prosecution after the justice system and Crown Office, let them down.

And mystery now surrounds how one former high ranking law officer was rejected for a judicial position after intense lobbying for the candidate by a dodgy member of the judiciary linked to top politicians - raised several judicial wigs & brows.

Mulholland joins judicial bench:

In an update to this published article, the Scottish Government announced on May 11 2016 that retiring Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland has been appointed as a judge.

Among five senators appointed to the College of Justice, Frank Mulholland QC, Sheriff John Beckett QC, Ailsa Carmichael QC, Alistair Clark QC, and Andrew Stewart QC will sit as judges in the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary.

Their appointments take effect on dates to be agreed by the Lord President. Four of the appointments are to fill existing vacancies.

The fifth judicial appointment, to be taken up by Frank Mulholland QC, will take effect following the retirement of a senator later in the year.

The appointment of Mulholland to a judicial position comes after the recent appointment of Lord Carloway to the top post of Lord President – head of the Scottish judiciary.


Anonymous said...

A devastating critique and links provided.
Honestly the Crown Office should be scrapped in the current format and responsibility delegated around the regions.
Do not expect any of this in the all centralising Scottish Government 5 year plan as local democracy well democracy of any kind is now taboo.

Anonymous said...

lol so true! brill blog!

Anonymous said...

"Among the massed ranks of gangsters, corrupt public officials, legal aid thieving lawyers, the occasional declare-dodging judge waddling along with gemstones, krugerrands, loads-a-property and offshore trusts jingling in their back pockets, there are a platoon of prosecutors who are tasked with keeping the lid on all of it."

Haha I can just imagine Lords Swill carrying a bucket of krugerrands down the back garden.

Anonymous said...

Pass the crown?
More like pass the clown.
Your praise for hard working criminal defence agents is duly noted!Thanks!

Anonymous said...

well well well prosecutors are as corrupt as lawyers and judges in Scotland and the headline of the lawyer escaping jail is really really bad.They should all be jailed for helping him out.

Anonymous said...

Did you see the possibility of another Lockerbie trial flagged up as a crumb of comfort?A horrible mob.

Anonymous said...

A waste of £110 million

Anonymous said...

Have you read the following:


Being the lord advocate means ‘always being ten minutes away from disaster’

The outgoing lord advocate, Frank Mulholland, dealt with notorious serial killers, revolutionised the Crown Office and may now become a judge.

How exactly did Frank Mulholland revolutionise the Crown Office?

Who is going to be the next Lord Advocate? Deputy Disaster?

Anonymous said...

In short .. corrupt Crown office

Anonymous said...

Pirates of the Crown Office just not in a good way as we now know

Anonymous said...

re your deceased witness reference

I sat in on an attempted murder trial where Crown was asked by defence to produce a witness.PF tells Sheriff Crown making attempts to contact the witness however no response and Police were looking.

Sheriff insisted on appearance PF repeats Police searching for witness who died three months earlier.Trial adjourned case was deserted by Crown with no explanation.

The accused alerted me to death of Crown "key witness".His solicitor confirmed accuracy of details provided.As far as I am aware sheriff took no action against PF.

Anonymous said...

Are any members of the legal profession honest? I think not.

Diary of Injustice said...

Anonymous @ 10 May 2016 at 19:06

Add gold rolex watches, undeclared hospitality and encrusted swords in your thoughts ...

Anonymous @ 10 May 2016 at 19:14

Praise for those who put their clients first ...

Anonymous @ 10 May 2016 at 22:38

Perhaps ...

Interestingly, one individual who was flagged up as a prospective LA wound up dead after being sent by the Crown Office on a mission to bring back a headline.

Entirely shocking no one in the legal establishment broke ranks and spoke out.

Anonymous @ 11 May 2016 at 10:15

Was the Sheriff made aware of the date of death of the witness?

Please contact the blog, interested to learn more and names of those involved ...

Anonymous said...

What does that tell you?

Used for career advancement.

No one in the profession cares about a dead legal eagle even if everyone including a Lord Advocate and First Minister attended his funeral.

Anonymous said...

You dont miss!
Belter of an article!

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed Organised Crime organised by the Crown office

Anonymous said...

Al Capone must be in vogue with the legal set recently.

You will recall Lord Matthews had a go at Police officers for dressing up as Al Capone while giving evidence at a trial.

Perhaps the judiciary should join in on your marvelous take on the Crown Office.

I suppose if the shoe fits.


A JUDGE slammed cops for turning up in court dressed like gangster Al Capone.

By Russell Findlay
06:34, 2 Nov 2015

Lord Matthews, 61, complained the gear some officers wear while giving evidence is “disrespectful” and told the Crown Office to raise his fashion concerns with Police Scotland.

During an attempted murder trial at the High Court in Glasgow he compared one copper to notorious 1920s Chicago mob boss Capone.

He asked: “Call me old-fashioned, but has there been some change as to why officers are not in uniform when giving evidence? I see it here and the last trial I had. There was even one dressed like Al Capone.”

The Prohibition-era mobster, who died aged 48 in 1947, wore double-breasted pinstripe Italian suits, fedora hats and spats — and notoriously carried a machine gun hidden inside a violin case.

Robert De Niro played the feared hood in 1987 gangster movie The Untouchables — which featured cigar-chomping Mafioso in camel coats.

An insider said: “Sometimes judges have a go at neds turning up in the dock in shellsuits and football tops — but it seems the cops need to smarten up too.”

Calum Steele, general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “I’m sure his Lordship’s comments on the sartorial elegance of police officers will be taken into consideration by the next chief constable.”

In 2012, Lord Matthews branded a social work report suggesting a killer get community service as “ill-informed rubbish”. His high-profile cases include the World’s End murder retrial last year and the killing of three members of the Sharkey family in a fire in Helensburgh in 2011.

Anonymous said...

Crown Office waits until his last day to announce no charges against RBS

Corruption right to the end thoroughly corrupt


RBS bosses including Fred Goodwin avoid charges over rights issue in 2008

Former RBS bosses, including Fred Goodwin, will not face criminal charges in connection with the sale of shares in the bank in the months leading up to its collapse, prosecutors have said.

The Crown Office had been investigating the bank's decision to carry out a rights issue in 2008.

The move led to huge losses for people investing in shares.

Prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to press charges against any senior manager involved in the issue.

RBS said it had "co-operated fully" with the investigation and "noted" the Crown Office's decision.

The Edinburgh-based bank was being led at the time by Mr Goodwin.

In April 2008 RBS announced it wanted to raise £12bn to shore up its reserves following the £49bn purchase of Dutch bank ABN Amro, one of the biggest takeovers in European banking history.

The rights issue - an invitation to existing shareholders to purchase new shares - was one of the largest in British corporate history.

Just months later, in October 2008, the value of RBS shares plummeted and it had to be bailed out by the UK government, at a cost to the taxpayer of £45bn.

The Crown Office investigation was launched following a report by the then Financial Services Authority in December 2011.
'Extremely complex'

In a statement, the Crown Office said the investigation had been "extremely complex".

It said: "The Crown's investigation focused on the rights issue of April - June 2008, and involved detailed consideration of whether there was any evidence of criminal conduct associated with the rights issue.

"If there were such evidence those responsible would face prosecution.

"If not, the public in Scotland could be reassured that the matter had been properly investigated.

"This was an extremely complex investigation which included the examination of over 160,000 documents by a team of specialist forensic accountants and banking experts, supervised by the Serious and Organised Crime Division.

"The investigation involved close co-operation with a range of financial regulators and banking institutions, including the Financial Conduct Authority, the Prudential Regulation Authority, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Reporting Council."

It added: "Following careful examination of all the evidence seen to date, Crown Counsel have decided that there is insufficient evidence in law of criminal conduct either in relation to RBS as an institution or any directors or other senior management involved in the rights issue.

"If any further evidence comes to light which is relevant to this enquiry it will be considered by the Crown and we reserve the right to make further enquiry, if considered appropriate."

An RBS spokeman said: "We co-operated fully with this investigation and we note today's decision."

Several shareholder groups are suing over Fred Goodwin's £12bn rights issue in 2008, claiming they were knowingly misled. Cases are likely to reach court this year.

Anonymous said...

Law websites are usually pr advertisements for the profession and therefore untrusted in content.Yours comes out with the truth!
More of this style of postings please!