SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE VOTE 18 SEPTEMBER 2014
Vote for independence under the Law Society controlled SNP and you're even more likely to
be made homeless and penniless. Ask Salmond's law society minders MacAskill and Sturgeon.
Top freemason Stephen House behind arming police prior to devolution vote
One very good reason for stopping SNP lawyers taking control of Scotland
Police chief Sir Stephen House has far too much power
ADVOCATE General speaks out after senior officers within Scotland's new unified force bring in armed police policy without consulting MSPs.
ONE of Scotland’s top lawmen has warned that Chief Constable Sir Stephen House has too much power.
Advocate General for Scotland Jim Wallace spoke out days after Police Scotland were forced to reverse their decision to put armed officers on the beat.
Senior officers were slated for bringing in the policy without consulting MSPs or the police watchdog or even telling them.
Lord Wallace, who as Liberal Democrat justice secretary was responsible for eight forces between 1999 and 2003, said: “When I was justice minister, I rejected proposals put to me for a national police force.
“Many of us predicted a lack of proper accountability and I fear that has been borne out.”
In May, we revealed House had secretly authorised 275 firearms officers to carry their handguns in a holster while on normal duties, even when there was no obvious threat to them or the public.
Previously, officers had to collect weapons from a locked safe in an armed response vehicle under authorisation.
In the face of criticism, last week House reversed the policy and said armed police would only be used in firearms incidents and where there was a threat to life. Edinburgh human rights lawyer Niall McCluskey branded the situation a “fiasco”.
In an article for today’s Sunday Mail, he accuses the force of “heavy handed” policing.
Sunday Mail front page in May highlighted how armed officers were routinely on the streets
McCluskey – who works with human rights group Amnesty International – criticised policies such as stop and search – 640,699 of which were carried out in the year to March. The figure was three times higher than that of by London’s Metropolitan force.
Police Scotland’s wave of raids on Edinburgh’s sex saunas was also accused of endangering trust between law enforcers and women in the trade. A former goverment advisor added to the pressure by calling for a review of Police Scotland.
Professor of criminology Peter Squires, 60, was a member of the Home Office Firearms Consultative Committee.
He said: “The Scottish Government needs to establish the exact powers of the new force and its chief constable and to say how much control Parliament has. It is clear the new force was set up without any clear idea of its powers.”
But David O’Connor, former president of the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents defended the firearms policy.
He added: “I thought the original policy to deploy armed response officers on routine patrols was proportionate and a sensible use of resources.”
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “We have balanced our duty to keep people safe with consideration of the views expressed about the perception of armed officers supporting policing activities.”
Petition to force Scotland's judicial mafia to come clean on interests affecting impartiality VIDEO
SNP lawyer MacAskill pressured to resign over arming Scotland's freemason thug cops
Lawyer MacAskill with his cop buddies. ONE very good reason for Scotland NOT getting independence under the
law society controlled SNP
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill faces demands for his resignation after police climb down over arming officers
SNP ministers came under fire himself after announcement that officers will no longer carry guns on routine patrol.
JUSTICE Secretary Kenny MacAskill was in the firing line yesterday amid demands for his resignation over the armed police shambles.
The SNP minister came under fierce attack at Holyrood just 24 hours after a humiliating climbdown that means officers will no longer carry guns on routine patrol.
Police Scotland announced that from now on, armed officers will only be deployed when “firearms offences are taking place, or where there is a threat to life”.
There had been growing concern in recent months as more police with guns were spotted on our streets after Chief Constable Stephen House decided to arm officers without consulting MSPs or the public.
The saga proved a major embarrassment for MacAskill, who had previously said there was public support for the move.
Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
And yesterday Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie - who led the campaign against armed police - demanded his resignation.
To gales of laughter in the Holyrood chamber he asked soon to step down First Minister Alex Salmond: “When you go, can you take Kenny MacAskill with you?”
A stony-faced Salmond simply replied: “No.”
But Rennie pressed the SNP leader further and stressed it was just the latest in a long line of blunders from MacAskill in the justice brief.
MacAskill has also been criticised for plans to scrap the law of corroboration, close courts and his decision to release the Lockerbie bomber from jail early.
Rennie said: “Surely [Salmond] has had enough of defending the Justice Secretary?
“The First Minister said that he was comfortable with stopping and searching children just before the policy was abandoned.
“He rallied to his (Mr MacAskill’s) defence on the abolition of corroboration before it was put on hold.
“He stood on that very spot lecturing me that it was for public safety reasons the police were armed routinely: now that has gone too.”
Scottish Labour also called for MacAskill to be fired.
Justice spokesman Graeme Pearson said: “Kenny McAskill’s charge sheet of incompetence is growing longer than some of the people he used to represent in court.
“The people of Scotland can corroborate that he is not up to the job and Alex Salmond should show clemency and give him early release from ministerial office.
“If Alex Salmond doesn’t sack him, then Nicola Sturgeon surely will.”
But Salmond dismissed Rennie’s calls.
He said: “Crime in Scotland is at a 39-year low. That’s why this Justice Secretary is on a high.”
The controversy over armed cops erupted earlier this year after officers with Glock 17 semi-automatic pistols were seen on the city’s Argyle Street despite no reports of anything more sinister than the driver braking too sharply.
In the same month, shoppers in Inverness were shocked to see officers with holstered weapons mingling with people out enjoying the summer sunshine.
A review by House has now concluded that the 275 officers attached to armed response vehicles will retain the standing authority to carry arms but will be not be dispatched to routine incidents.
Opposition MSPs also attacked the oversight of Scotland’s single police force during First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood yesterday.
Pearson said the civilian oversight body, the Scottish Police Authority, should have examined the options for armed policing before any decision was taken on the controversial issue.
The former senior police officer argued that in the absence of that, MacAskill should have stepped in and called on SPA members to “take steps at a much earlier stage to allay justified public concerns”.
But Salmond defended how the episode was handled.
“I think the process that we’ve gone through on this issue has been a very good one,” he said.
“I think when a police service responds to public concern in a constructive way, I think it should be applauded for doing that and I would have thought that this process has come to a conclusion which I hope and believe that people think is satisfactory.
“Therefore, I think protecting the operational independence of the chief constable and his ability to deploy the resources he has to best effect to keep the people of Scotland safe from harm is something that should be strongly protected.”
Senior Scottish nationalist warns BP it could face nationalization in case of split VIDEO
Paedo's dumped in deprived areas putting children from poor backgrounds at higher risk
There would be an
outcry if these perverts were housed in posh areas of towns
Fury as sex offenders are dumped in our most deprived communities.
A housing chief has quit in protest at a policy that dumps dangerous sex offenders in the most deprived communities.
Outraged Michael Carberry says it is a scandal poor estates are being flooded with an unfair quota of sex offenders and has warned it is only a matter of time before a child is killed as a result of the policy.
He has walked out of his key role with a housing authority in disgust at what he sees as a terrible social injustice forced on Scotland’s schemes.
Other disgruntled colleagues look set to follow his lead and quit too.
In his hard-hitting resignation letter Mr Carberry accused the authorities of taking a “softly-softly” approach which is putting children at risk.
And he warns that a youngster could lose their life simply for growing up under the wrong postcode – just as eight-year-old Mark Cummings was murdered by a sex offender in a Glasgow high-rise 10 years ago.
At present the Scottish Government’s strategy for housing sex offenders in the community urges social landlords to sign a deal which sees them swap information with police and social workers, so volatile criminals can be found a home without giving away their identity.
However fears are growing over the way it is implemented to the extent The Sunday Post understands scores of disgruntled housing chiefs are expected to join a rebellion against them.
And leading disquiet against the strategy is Mr Carberry.
He says: “Our tenants, our communities, are carrying an unreasonable risk. While professional officers develop a culture of ‘Defensible Decision Making’, one of our communities will suffer the same catastrophic event that affected Royston in 2004 [the Mark Cummings killing].
“A victim, or a victim’s family, will challenge the process that placed the offender in that community.
“The process is being extended to include accommodating violent and mentally ill offenders, as well as sex offenders. Trying to protect the interests of our communities with a softly, softly, diplomatic approach is not appropriate.”
He added: “Our concern is about dangerous offenders being placed into the poorest communities.
“It’s about the process being fundamentally flawed and unable to protect our tenants. It’s about our tenants living with that risk every day.
“And it’s about our officers, who have knowledge of these arrangements, carrying that with them every day.
“With every decision we should ask the question: What is in the best interests of the people who live in our communities?”
Mr Carberry has stood down from the board of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF), an influential umbrella group which represents 69 social landlords with 60,000 tenants across the region.
Most of its members have signed up to a new information sharing protocol which means they will work more closely with police and social services to secretly accommodate sex offenders in the community.
But Mr Carberry’s Blochairn Housing Association and more than a dozen others have refused to co-operate – and more resignations may now follow. A GWSF source revealed: “This row has been festering for some time. The fact is that disadvantaged areas are being used as a dumping ground for the worst type of offenders.
“Glasgow and the west of Scotland have a lot more of these neighbourhoods so it’s no surprise a rebellion’s kicked off here first, but you can imagine other housing associations in Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh asking the same questions and refusing to accept what they’re given.
“Nobody’s pretending there are easy answers but it’s time Scottish Government ministers confronted this problem instead of pretending it will go away. It won’t – it will just come back to haunt us again and again.
“Why should a child from a poorer background be put at greater risk simply because of their postcode? And why should that child’s family be kept in the dark ?
“These are not values that the majority of Scots will recognise or accept.”
Last night, Mr Carberry’s stance won support from campaigner Margaret-Ann Cummings – mother of murder victim Mark. She said: “The system didn’t protect my boy and it’s still failing now. It needs pulling apart and a fresh start made.
“The Government strategy says sex offenders should be housed in a way that will safeguard children.
“It says sex offenders should be prevented from creating networks, yet they house them in the same areas.
“Poor areas are the very worst places to put these people. There are more children and schools packed into small districts.
“In the holidays, there are kids playing out all the time because their parents don’t have the money to go away for breaks.
“And there are families moving in and out of the area all the time so youngsters aren’t as wary of strangers. Sex offenders are allowed to hide in plain sight.”
Mrs Cummings, 38, added: “Thank God Michael Carberry had the guts to speak out.”
Tory housing spokesman Alex Johnstone said it is clear “sex offenders have to be housed somewhere”, but he said “it’s concerning that someone so prominent has raised such serious fears about the process”.
He called on the Scottish Government to examine the scandal “as a matter of urgency”.
He said: “The situation appears to be that normal, law-abiding tenants are being placed side-by-side with dangerous individuals and that is an appalling situation.”
GWSF director David Bookbinder admits poor neighbourhoods are bearing the brunt.
He said: “I think that is true and there’s a simple reason for that – when the authorities look to house sex offenders they reach a realisation there is more chance of doing deals with councils and housing associations than with private landlords.
“And council and social housing is predominantly situated in more deprived areas. Michael’s right. But the question is whether sex offenders should be housed in the community. If you don’t make other arrangements then this is the policy we have to live with. Nothing is risk-free. But if they are housed in a particular place then you know where they are and you’ve got half a chance.
“We have suggested to the Scottish Government that as yet there is not enough clear evidence of the benefits of sex offenders being housed in the community.
“The general view of ministers is that this is the best approach. Is that a source of frustration for us? Yes – and we would welcome more evidence so the research picture becomes more convincing.”
Last night, Mr Carberry said: “I can confirm that I have resigned from the forum board, but I cannot comment further at this time.”
Last night the Scottish Government defended its position. “The Care Inspectorate and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland are working together to review how well the public is protected from RSOs,” their spokeswoman said.
“This forthcoming study during the summer of 2015 will provide a valuable opportunity to reassess where improvements in public protection can be made.”
The Facts: Framework to monitor offenders
Scotland had 4,032 Registered Sex Offenders (RSOs) at the last count in 2013, of which 3,335 were living in the community and 494 were subject to additional monitoring because of the extra risk they pose.
The police, council social workers and the prison service co-ordinate their efforts through a set of procedures called Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).
These rules, introduced in 2007, are supposed to ensure that officials are properly prepared and swap crucial information and intelligence so that RSOs are effectively monitored.
Part of MAPPA is the National Accommodation Strategy for Sex Offenders (NASSO), which gives guidance on how to safely house sex offenders when they are released from jail while still keeping their identity a secret.
Under NASSO, so-called environmental scans are meant to pick up on any vulnerable people living nearby the target property along with local schools, play parks and other RSOs.
Council housing officers and housing associations are expected to sign an Information Sharing Protocol (ISP) which sets out how they will play their part in the process.
But critics claim that MAPPA is so complex and creates so many duties that it’s impossible for officials to perform them properly, so corners are cut and
potentially-lethal lower-level offenders go unmonitored.
Darling (law society lackey) and Salmond (controlled by law society)argue over independence VIDEO
Darling a lawyer and Salmond (with his two lawyers Sturgeon and MacAskill) argue over which law society arm
will control Scotland. Meanwhile under both these bastards men continue to lose their homes and livelihoods
The future of Scotland under SNP independence with armed cops on the streets
Salmond with his two lawyer stooges MacAskill and Sturgeon acting on behalf for their freemason masters
at the terrorist cell of the Law society of Scotland. Many more Scots about to be murdered in cold blood by
the masonic thugs disguised as some sort of law enforcement and helping themselves to the estates of men
caught up in their sinister trap.
Police Scotland's decision to allow a small number of its officers to carry handguns will be the subject of two reviews, it has been announced.
The Scottish Police Authority and HM Inspectorate of Scotland will, in parallel, scrutinise different areas.
The HMICS' review will include an examination of how the firearms officers are deployed on regular patrols and tasks.
The appearance of armed officers on routine tasks has sparked a row.
Some politicians have criticised the deployment of specialist firearms officers on regular patrols, particularly in the Highlands and Islands, an area with a low crime rate.
Highland Council has also raised concerns after officers carrying handguns were seen on routine patrols in Inverness.
Police Scotland and the Scottish government said the deployment of firearms officers offered better protection to the public.
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said the force welcomed the reviews.
The HMICS will hold what it calls an assurance review to independently assess the current practices for the issue and carrying of firearms by armed response vehicle crews.
It aims to provide assurance that Police Scotland's approach is compliant with guidance, procedures and recognised best practice.
Following discussions with the SPA, the inspectorate said it had agreed to broaden the terms of the review to include consideration of how armed officers are deployed on regular patrols and tasks.
The HMICS will also look at what impact this has on communities.
The SPA has announced that it is setting up a scrutiny inquiry to consider the public impact of Police Scotland's decision around firearms deployment.
The scrutiny inquiry team will be chaired by SPA member Iain Whyte.
Derek Penman, HM Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland, said: "This assurance role was requested by Police Scotland, but this will be an independent review with the remit and scope that we have assessed is necessary to fulfil our objective to add value and strengthen public confidence in policing.
"Engagement with the SPA has informed the scope of our work, and I am confident that our review will support the SPA in its wider scrutiny of armed policing."
Mr Penman added: "I believe this is a positive example of how different parts of the governance and scrutiny landscape in Scottish policing can work together in a complementary way with Police Scotland to improve outcomes for the public."
Mr Whyte said: "SPA has acknowledged that the issue of armed policing is a contentious one, and that we would keep this issue under review.
"One of the principles of good governance is that the public voice is appropriately heard within decision-making."
Senior officer Mr Livingstone said only trained officers were allowed to carry a sidearm and a Taser.
He said: "We welcome confirmation of the review by HMICS and the Scottish Police Authority following our request to the inspectorate for an independent assessment of the standing authority decision process.
"As part of this, HMICS will attend the next firearms monitoring group in September where the standing firearms authority will be reviewed."
He added: "Following this review and if a decision is made that the authority should remain in place, we will commission further work to consider alternative options for the carrying of weapons by armed officers.
"Police Scotland will also review the operational guidance provided to officers regarding the functions they perform when not engaged in firearms duties and consider how we may improve our engagement with communities."
Green MSP Patrick Harvie said the reviews were "a welcome response to the growing public and political pressure".
He added: "The police do need to deploy firearms in response to serious incidents, but the sight of armed police on our streets while carrying out routine duties has alarmed many Scots and we deserve to know why it happened and why our communities were not consulted."
The Scottish Liberal Democrats Alison McInnes said the decision was "a victory for local communities".
But Scottish Labour's Graeme Pearson the scrutiny had come "very late in the day".
Today in Scotland the Commonwealth (they are having a laugh) games opens with all the usual fanfare .
This has been after the London Olympics, The World Cup , Tour de France and Wimbledon.
The poor have been out en masse protesting in Brazil at the outrageous sums being spent on sport while a
large proportion of their people live in slums.
It is usually the poorest areas of cities that are CLEARED to make way for much of a sporting events infrastructure as you seldom see the rich's homes being knocked down to cater for sporting events.The BBC are pathologically obsessed with pushing sports and especially when the QUEEN'S baton is being taken to the four corners of the UK and the satanic connotations that whole process entails. The sheeple dragged along on a wave of patriotism for someone they revile but as long as the BBC promote it that must be good for us all.
The English supporters encouraged to sing her praises each time they watch their team playing just like Hitler used football to encourage Germany to show more patriotism to the Nazi cause. Sheeple en masse being led by the nose to show deference through sporting madness. There is nothing wrong with liking sports but becoming obsessed with any game to the point were some of the athletes spend all their hours training to come .00000000000001 second faster that the next guy is bordering on obsessive compulsive disorder. They can't go much faster but by cutting the second up into smaller and smaller sections they can claim new world records .
No child should be encouraged to give up everything to attain the impossible and usually without some sort of drug enhancement that they claim has been eradicated by testing. Anyone who managed to see the Tour de France's section through Yorkshire will have witnessed less than 20 seconds of the riders whizzing past and definitely NOT a spectator sport despite the media ranting endlessly on for months before and for something to pass off so quickly . A massive damp squib of an event and only for TV viewing with cars and helicopters that can keep up with the race.
It is one thing for the ruling elite to have sporting events across the globe it is another for them to justify the mass spending on stadiums that quickly fall into a state of disrepair when those short lived events end . No wonder the peasants of the world are rising up in protest at what their governments are spending on sport while the people bend under austerity. There NEVER seems to be a shortage of money for sports, military or billion+ dollar science white elephants like the ISS and Cerne, but always an excuse to keep the poor in their place.
The media are behind the mass brainwashing of the sheeple in their never ending fervour for ever more sporting events that are easy ways of them producing programs that don't take much more than pointing the camera in the right direction. Much less bother than to actually create from scratch interesting programs that are more than just watching a ball passed around the screen for hours on end. Technology offers much more today than the tedium of sports that never really had much going for them in the first place other than a good excuse for the state to push the patriotic fervour that still to this day is a propaganda tool for the ruling political self appointed elite. Many of the British events have a finish line not far from the doors of Buckingham Palace now there's a coincidence?
Maybe the next time Britain wants to waste billions on staging a major sporting event they should knock down
Buckingham Palace and Windsor castle to make way for the new venues instead of flattening the peasants homes?
Scottish woman and her baby miss Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight VIDEO
Murdoch henchman Coulson behind jailing of former Scottish socialist leader Tommy Sheridan
The Murdoch Empire used hacking to take out anyone a threat to the fascist British establishment.
Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson is to appear in court on 6 August to face perjury charges over the Tommy Sheridan trial.
Mr Coulson has been indicted to appear at the High Court in Glasgow.
The formal announcement follows his conviction in England last week on phone hacking charges.
Mr Coulson, 46, was charged two years ago after being questioned in Glasgow in connection with his evidence at the Tommy Sheridan trial in 2010.
It is understood officials at the Crown Office in Edinburgh were awaiting the outcome of his trial in England before announcing any action against him.
The Prime Minister's former director of communications was jailed for 18 months last week.
Mr Coulson was convicted at the Old Bailey in London of conspiring to intercept voicemails at the now-defunct tabloid after an eight-month trial.
Yesterday, a spokesman at the Crown Office said: "The Crown Office can confirm that an indictment was served on Andrew Coulson today, 7 July 2014 and that a preliminary hearing is scheduled for 6 August 2014 at the High Court at Glasgow."
BBC make sure cameramen get a good shot of the masonic monolith in Glasgow Green
Like Glastonbury with its pyramid stage the masonic madmen who are overly embedded in the BBC ensure they provide
the backdrop of Glasgow Green for their BIG WEEKEND festival with another Nelson column similar to the one in
London's Trafalgar Square totally dominating Glasgow Green. Few there would fully understand the significance of
how supposed war memorials
of all descriptions are a disguise for masonic control that is totally rife in Glasgow and protects them from damage
always inferring their relationship to war dead.
Thousands of men,
not part of their creepy satanic network get screwed by these evil bastards, yet the BBC think it acceptable to
shove their creepy monoliths down our throats.
They did the same for many years when their NUMBER ONE disc jockey was the
vile predatory paedo Jimmy Savile who was the force behind the BBC music output. A freemason protected by the
brotherhood within the BBC who got away with decades of abusing youngsters while being given £millions from the
long suffering BBC licence payers to buy his limousines and luxury flats that lured youngsters into his satanic dens
of debauchery. Sick and disturbing these evil bastards are still getting away with the masonic brainwashing.
Scottish independence under the SNP a freemason ruse
Salmond with his two law society minders MacAskill and Sturgeon.
There is NO DOUBT Alex Salmond has been indoctrinated into the masonic ways during his period as an MP at
Westminster prior to taking over as the SNP leader and then to the pending independence vote. Now we more
than most know about the SNP tactics as we were heavily embroiled in evidence gathering that was exposing
the vast plundering of estates right across Scotland by the legal mafia.
Despite giving the impression they were behind the victims they soon reneged on most of those promises and to this
day land and property theft remains the BIGGEST issue across Scotland but none of the flawed parties at Holyrood
dare to mention it nor any of the gutter press for fear of becoming a victim of the law society terrorists who are
controlling the whole media circus and the debate on independence.
The gutter press also get the advertising revenue
for the homes stolen and resold in their rags and a BIG incentive NOT to expose what is actually going on.
The Scottish people are NOT stupid and have ensured the tory mafia NEVER get to power with one miserly tory
MP who will soon be booted out at the next election. However the Scottish people are badly ill informed relying on a few Scottish newspapers, all of them with a law society henchman at the helm of the editorial as their media lawyers, also they are all part of the high level mason club the Speculative society that meets in Edinburgh and was exposed as party to covering up many aspects of Scottish tyranny including the Dunblane massacre.
As we have said previously the SNP are liars and Salmond will prove, as happened with Tony Blair, that he will say ANYTHING to get the power he demands. He will do little to improve the lives of the peasants, instead ensure the ruling elite continue to rampage through the estates of men who thought hard work would lead to a level of material wealth that will quickly be stolen by the legal crooks all part of the SNP strategy to help themselves all the more if independence is handed to the SNP on a plate.
Nicola Sturgeon and Kenny MacAskill are Salmond's law society minders along with other lawyers within the ranks of the SNP, who as spies in the camp relay all the latest developments in the massive ruse on independence freeing the Scots from English rule only to find the ruthless freemason hierarchy controlling Holyrood will use that power to crush men not part of their funny handshake club.
Instead of an English crown it will be high level Scottish freemasons that will reap the rewards of land and property theft who control the legal, political and cop powers that have been used so expertly to fleece men of trillions in a massive land grab.
Many Scots want independence and rightly so but the SNP version will be to hand more powers to the freemason mafia that dominates all aspects of Scottish life that will only get worse for the men who remain unaware of the evil powers that will at some point affect ever aspect of their life and their future stability. How do we know? We just happen to be some of their victims dragged through their courts for years then to be thrown onto the streets homeless, penniless and childless thanks to the evil bastards that are able to continue their reign of terror with hardly a single mention in the rags the Scottish people have become so reliant on that are badly letting them down by failing to fully expose the agenda for the coming years if independence under the SNP is achieved.
Disturbing moves against men in Scotland as independence vote looms
Salmond with his two law society minders MacAskill and Sturgeon.
The SNP are totally controlled by the Law Society of Scotland via Kenny MacAskill and Nicola Sturgeon only two
of many lawyers within the SNP party. Prior to the independence vote in September the SNP are playing BIG TIME
into the hands of the feminist mafia by using potentially new draconian powers against ANY man in ANY form of relationship.
The ultimate goal to give the freemason mafia in charge of the legal system easy access to seize land, business
and property of men who even dare to raise their voice against a woman even if they are having an affair or
treating their husband like a DOORMAT.
CREATING a specific offence of domestic abuse could help ensure Scotland remains at the forefront of efforts to combat violence against women, one of the country's top prosecutors has said.
Solicitor General Lesley Thomson QC also argued making domestic abuses a specific offence would help victims and could ensure the law "remains fit for purpose".
She highlighted the need for a more modern approach to tackling the problem as she addressed a special conference organised by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).
The Crown Office defines domestic abuse as being any form of physical, sexual, mental or emotional abuse that might amount to criminal conduct in a relationship or between former partners.
Police recorded 60,080 incidents of domestic abuse in Scotland in 2012-13, up from 59,847 in the previous year.
Ms Thomson told the domestic abuse conference in Glasgow that Scotland had already "come a long way in dealing openly and honestly with the causes and consequences" of this type of crime.
She highlighted the introduction of legislation on stalking in 2010 as one example of this, saying it "gave prosecutors a new tool to tackle this harmful behaviour and sent a clear public message that this sort of conduct was not acceptable and would not be tolerated".
Ms Thomson added: "Domestic abuse is in my view another area in which specialist legislation has a role to play.
"It has the potential to effect further change in societal attitudes, to instil confidence in victims and, of course, to ensure that their abusers are held to account.
"Creating a specific offence of domestic abuse is one way in which we could ensure that our criminal law is and remains fit for purpose.
"It would help victims by acknowledging the true impact and consequences of all types of abusive behaviours, including non violent tactics of control and abuse, and would solidify Scotland's position as a leader in the field of tackling violence against women."
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said there were already "a range of existing laws that can be used to deal with incidents of domestic abuse such as assault and stalking".
He stressed tackling abuse was a "key priority" for the Scottish Government and added work was being done to look at how new laws could help with this.
"It is vital that our police, prosecutors and courts have the powers they need to hold perpetrators of domestic abuse to account," Mr MacAskill said.
"The Scottish Government is driving forward work to consider, in liaison with justice agencies and victim support groups, how new laws could help ensure those who commit acts of domestic abuse are dealt with effectively by our justice system."
Lily Greenan, the manager of Scottish Women's Aid, said while the justice system had improved the way it deals with domestic abuse, there were many cases where it was treated as a "series of minor assaults".
She added that this approach meant there was only "limited recognition of the enormous impact that years of this kind of abuse has on women and on their children".
Ms Greenan said: "We believe it is time to address this and look forward to working with COPFS and other partners in the Scottish criminal justice system to continue to improve the response to domestic abuse.
"Acknowledgement of the complexity of domestic abuse within a legal context is a positive move which will benefit women."
Anne Marie Hicks, the National Procurator Fiscal for domestic abuse, said there had "undoubtedly been a culture change over the years in the way in which domestic abuse is viewed".
She stated: "I feel proud that by developing our policies and approach to this type of crime so significantly, we have undoubtedly contributed to this cultural and attitudinal shift, and increased public confidence in the criminal justice response."
How can Scots trust independence under SNP when Salmond is rubbing shoulders with vile Murdoch mafia
You can NEVER trust Salmond when he thinks Murdoch is worth doing business with
Alex Salmond has held secret talks with controversial media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.
The First Minister met the News Corp chairman in New York on April 4 during the Scotland Week celebrations.
The private meeting will intensify speculation the Murdoch-owned Scottish Sun newspaper will come out in favour of independence if the referendum polls continue to tighten.
Murdoch has long been an admirer of Salmond, describing him as the “most brilliant politician in the UK” and has previously hinted at his support for independence.
A spokesman for the First Minister last night said Murdoch had “a very keen interest in Scotland’s constitutional future”.
But Salmond’s close links to one of the world’s most powerful businessmen has been under fire since it was revealed the SNP leader offered to lobby UK ministers for Murdoch over his planned takeover of BskyB before it was abandoned in the wake of the News of the World phone hacking scandal.
Salmond has always claimed the lobbying offer was purely because he was fighting to protect the 6,500 Sky jobs north of the Border.
But Paul Martin MSP, Labour’s business manager in the Scottish Parliament, yesterday demanded Salmond release full details of his latest meeting with Murdoch.
He said: “Alex Salmond can’t be allowed to do secret deals with this man on a trip paid for by our taxes. He needs to publish the notes of the meeting and explain why he persists in courting this man.”
The First Minister’s spokesman said: “This was a positive meeting focused on the substantial economic footprint in Scotland of News Corp and 21st Century Fox, through News Corp’s media and publishing businesses and 21st Century Fox’s holding in BskyB.
“Mr Murdoch has a very keen interest in Scotland’s constitutional future, as both a business leader and a person of Scottish heritage.
“This meeting was one of over a dozen the First Minister undertook as part of his Scotland Week programme, which led to the creation and securing of over 1,000 jobs.”
Petition exposes Scottish councils failures during Freedom of Information requests VIDEO
Police Scotland and John Son of David VIDEO
The derisory FOI responses from a freemason controlled Scottish Parliament
Independence will give MORE, not less powers to the freemasons who dominate and control
legislation that is fleecing men in crown courts with Salmond's law society's lackeys
Sturgeon and McAskill ensuring that tyranny will continue. This is the shocking level of
secrecy that allows these bastards to continue to disrupt men's lives and their families
right across Scotland. How do we know? We just happen to be some of their victims wiped out
by a legal system getting away with murder in family courts.
ALL OF IT CONTROLLED BY
THE FREEMASON MAFIA WHO DOMINATE THE JUDICIARY AND EMBEDDED IN HOLYROOD.
WITHDRAWN PE1491 secret society membership declaration by decision makers
The Scottish Parliament show how they avoid Freedom of Information requests
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 5:13 PM
Subject: RE: 2nd attempt from an alternative email regarding failed FOI request to SP
Thank you for your email of 5 March relating to the lack of response to your email of 29 January to Anne Peat. I’m sorry that a response to that email has not been sent to you, but I’m afraid that neither Public Information nor the Public Petitions Committee clerks has any record of receiving the emails that you appear to have sent on 29 January, 31 January, 4 February and 24 February. However, having received your email today containing the chain of correspondence, a response to your email of 29 January will be prepared.
Public Information and Publications
The Scottish Parliament
In light of the recent withdrawal of Petition PE1491 this is a Freedom of information request that has a 20 workings days window to respond to.
1. That a declaration is made by every member of the petitions committee on whether they have any conflicts of interest with that closed petition and if they are in fact members of any secret society? Having viewed the petitions video during discussions on closure it is crystal clear that there was bias shown in how that petition was being handled and a complete failure by the supposed representatives of the Scottish people as a whole to take the matter as seriously as it warrants.
2.Also why they took NO steps to find out if the petitioner may have been threatened or intimidated by the very individuals who the petitioner was seeking to have them declare their own conflicts of interest?
3. Have any of the committee attended any freemason meetings during and before the period this petition has been circulating or has accepted any hospitality in any shape or form from any lodge within the United Kingdom?
4. Are the petitions committee fully aware of the recent exposure in the Independent that provides PROOF as to why this petition is of such serious concern and has the
petitions committee taken steps to investigate if the Scottish Parliament, like the met police, has been corrupted by a similar process? If the most powerful police force in
the United Kingdom can be infiltrated it would not take a rocket scientist to establish if a similar situation was being imposed on the main political and legal establishments
across the UK.
Revealed: How gangs used the Freemasons to corrupt police
Gangsters able to recruit police officers through secret society, says investigation for Scotland Yard
Monday 13 January 2014
Secret networks of Freemasons have been used by organised crime gangs to corrupt the criminal justice system, according to a bombshell Metropolitan Police report leaked to The Independent. Operation Tiberius, written in 2002, found underworld syndicates used their contacts in the controversial brotherhood to “recruit corrupted officers” inside Scotland Yard, and concluded it was one of “the most difficult aspects of organised crime corruption to proof against”.
The report – marked “Secret” – found serving officers in East Ham east London who were members of the Freemasons attempted to find out which detectives were suspected of links to organised crime from other police sources who were also members of the society.Famous for its secret handshakes, Freemasonry has long been suspected of having members who work in the criminal justice system – notably the judiciary and the police.
The political establishment and much of the media often dismiss such ideas as the work of conspiracy theorists. However, Operation Tiberius is the second secret police report revealed by The Independent in the last six months to highlight the possible issue.Project Riverside, a 2008 report on the rogue private investigations industry by the Serious Organised Crime Agency, also claimed criminals attempt to corrupt police officers through Freemason members in a bid to further their interests.
Concerns over the influence of freemasons on the criminal justice system in 1998 led former Home Secretary Jack Straw to order that all police officers and judges should declare membership of the organisation.However, ten of Britain’s 43 police forces refused to take part and the policy was dropped under threat of legal action. In England and Wales, the Grand Master of the Freemasons is Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. The United Grand Lodge of England declined to comment last night.
The Independent revealed last week that Operation Tiberius found that organised crime syndicates such as the Adams family and the gang led by David Hunt were able to infiltrate the Met “at will”.Asked to comment on the Tiberius report, a spokesman for Scotland Yard said: “The Metropolitan Police Service will not tolerate any behaviour by our officers and staff which could damage the trust placed in police by the public.
“We are determined to pursue corruption in all its forms and with all possible vigour.”
Glasgow's homeless hostel scandal trumps the Scottish independence debate
The most important news story of the year so far has not been George Osborne's ill-considered portrayal of an absentee landlord in Edinburgh the other week. The Tories, ever wedded to metaphors about killing foreigners, have called this the "Dambuster" moment. In fact, the entire debate on Scottish independence is simply not as important as the sharp reminder we got last week about how we permit the poorest and most defeated in our society to be treated.
The Bellgrove hotel on Glasgow's Gallowgate, in the east end of the city, must have been something to behold once. If it's not art deco then the original constructor was probably trying to create a close facsimile of it. Now, you walk past it on the way to Celtic Park on a match day, barely noticing it but knowing that it exists in the city's folklore as a last-chance saloon. That though, doesn't even begin to describe the reality of it. The Daily Record, doing what it has always done best, sent their man in for an overnight stay and then splashed his report across its front page. The squalor and deprivation that he witnessed in this place made me ashamed to be Glaswegian.
Without repeating the crushing detail of John Ferguson's brilliant report, the Bellgrove hotel is a place where men go to die, expiring in their own waste and choked by alcohol and drugs – 150 of them at any one time. This hellhole has a staff of two, presumably to keep the costs down. For the Bellgrove is a privately-run facility that rakes in several million pounds a year for the two city property magnates who own it. They make their money from the housing benefit these men receive each fortnight. Basically, the state hands over millions of pounds every year to this pair to keep its most embarrassing citizens away from polite society.
"Don't worry," we say (and it is you and I) "keep them in as much filth as you like, we won't be asking any questions." There are several things to consider here, not the least of which is how any decent person can make so much money out of running such a dwelling place yet knowingly allow the residents to live in such conditions.
Glasgow city council's scandalous response, from its leader Gordon Mathieson, was to say that they no longer referred homeless men to the Bellgrove. "Our social workers have tried to work with residents to help them make positive decisions about living circumstances," said Mathieson. "Positive decisions about their circumstances." What in the name of God does that mean? There are people dying in there, Gordon.
Since then they, and the rest of us who conveniently forget about these places (or choose not to know about them), have allowed a pair of privateers to exploit the tide of human misery that flows through this facility. There appears to be no regulation, no minimum standard of human dignity which a place like the Bellgrove can be made to reach.
There are other places like the Bellgrove hotel that exist in Scotland. We permit slum landlords to make obscene profits from them because we have decided that the men and women who go to reside there are beyond hope and are to be considered to be lower than animals. We forget that they were all fathers, sons, brothers and uncles once and that for various reasons life has chewed them up and spat them out. Divorce, unemployment, ill health, bullying, violence, low pay; each or any of these bumps and blows can send someone off in a bad direction and the rest of us would do well to withhold moral judgment about how a soul has arrived at such a place.
The reason why we allow these men to die in conditions of such decay, satisfying ourselves that their own choices contributed to this, is probably the same reason why we allow the state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland to set aside tens of millions in bonuses despite its record-breaking losses. As long as we're OK, who cares? Other countries across the world have had the spunk within them to rise up and overthrow the society that allows such inequality and unfairness to thrive. In Britain we have simply allowed ourselves to be sidetracked by our governing elite's military adventures and the bread and circuses of royal occasions and sporting festivals. It's how the Romans used to bribe their own citizens 3,000 years ago.
Scotland is a very affluent country which the SNP claims will become one of the world's richest if it gains independence. Yet every local authority in the land allows men like these as well as our sick, elderly and infirm to be left to the tender mercies of profiteers and cowboys. Some of them may be good and decent but the truth that must be spoken is that the welfare of their residents is a very distant second to the profit to be derived by the facility: why else would they be in such a business? How can we claim that our society is built on compassion, fairness and equality when we happily permit greedy and unscrupulous people to become rich by feeding off our most vulnerable people? This country won't be truly free and fair until every care home and homeless men's hostel is wrenched away from the owners and brought under state control.
Nor will it matter which way Scotland chooses to vote in September's referendum if the evil that is allowed to flourish on Glasgow's Gallowgate, is not destroyed. Some things are much more important than a yes or no vote and this is one of them. And I'm not having any nonsense from the nationalists that this wouldn't happen in an independent Scotland. This is something we could have fixed ourselves a long time ago but chose not to.
Any time soon, the bunting will go up all around the city proclaiming to the world that we are hosting the Commonwealth Games. Already, Glasgow's east end has been transformed by the building of games venues and the athletes' village. But it is all merely worthless and meaningless froth while the city council permits a gateway to hell to do brisk business just a few streets away.
How the judicial / legal mafia in Scotland brush aside their victims and block appeals
MSPs hear Scots Party Litigants face Supreme Court civil appeal lock-out due to "window dressing"measures from Faculty of Advocates & lack of help from top judge
MSPs hear of little help for Scots Party Litigants in Supreme Court appeals. MEMBERS of the Scottish Parliament's Petitions Committee were told earlier this week that measures put in place by the Faculty of Advocates to help Party Litigants raise appeals in civil court cases to the UK Supreme Court – measures which require signatures from two counsel for a Party Litigant’s appeal to proceed, are mere “window dressing” and only serve to further obstruct or block access to justice for people who do not have legal representation.
Kathie Mclean Toremar, who took her Petition 1504 to the Scottish Parliament’s Petitions Committee this week in a quest to obtain reform to the way in which the legal profession make life difficult for unrepresented party litigants to appeal against decisions taken in the Court of Session, detailed the difficulties faced by those who do not have expensive legal teams in place to represent their cases before Scotland's judiciary. The petitioner also revealed to MSPs that the average length of case for the majority of party litigants in Scotland is a shocking 11 years.
And it emerged in answers to further questions from MSPs that Scotland’s top judge Lord President Lord Brian Gill - famed for his own sharp criticism of the Civil Justice system and his Scottish Civil Courts Review can only manage to direct people with no legal representation or experience of the law to a web page, rather than provide help or answers to why no party litigant has ever been able to approach the Supreme Court after enduring lengthy, bruising encounters in front of Scotland’s highest court, the Court of Session.
Mrs Mclean Toremar, who has been through a prolonged & arduous case in front of Scotland’s unsympathetic judiciary told an amazed Petitions Committee: “I approached Lord Gill, but he simply sent a letter from his secretary telling me to go www.supremecourt.com. I did not ask for legal advice and I did not ask any unusual questions. I just asked about paragraph 1.8, but he would not answer me.”
In an attempt to secure a fair hearing for her own legal case, Mrs Mclean Toremar also revealed to MSPs she had tried thirty eight different solicitors, all recommended by the Law Society of Scotland in an attempt to secure a fair hearing for an appeal against a decision. However, every single solicitor out of the 38 refused to take the case on, citing reasons including “conflict of interests, lack of funding, too many hurdles, and, last but not least, the fact that the pursuer in the appeal has been a party litigant, in relation to which the legalities are a minefield that a solicitor would be reluctant to enter.”
Prior to questions from MSPs in relation to the petition, the Petitions Committee Deputy Convener Chic Brodie criticised the way in which the Scots legal establishment fails to deliver information or help for those who need access to the courts.
Mr Brodie said: “I will begin with a general point, which does not relate only to the Public Petitions Committee. I am very concerned about how hard it is to get information out of the legal system in Scotland. Given that a number of approaches have been made and that hardly any replies have been received, I wonder what on earth is going on and how our legal system is being administered. People should at least have the decency to provide a reply, whether we are talking about the Lord President, the cabinet secretary or whoever. I leave that point lying.”
In response to questions from members of the Petitions Committee, Mrs Mclean Toremar also referred to a response from the Faculty of Advocates to the consultation on the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill which is soon to be heard by the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee. In that response, the Faculty of Advocates said it found Party Litigants “Burdensome” and confirmed it was aware party litigants have difficulty with obtaining signatures from counsel.
MSPs also heard evidence from the petitioner, that so far, not one party litigant from Scotland has ever been granted the right to appeal to the Supreme Court, so they cannot fulfil the criteria for making an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
The Scottish Government have recognised there is an issue in how party litigants appeals are dealt with in Scotland and have included ‘some’ reforms in the forthcoming Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill. However the current proposals on offer from the Scottish Government do not go far enough and apparently do not even mention the phrase “party litigant” and in response to questions from David Stewart, the Convener of the Petitions Committee, Mrs Mclean Toremar said the proposals from the Scottish Government would not solve the problems raised in her petition.
Video footage and the official report from Tuesday’s Petitions Committee discussion of Petition 1504 by Kathie Mclean Toremar :
Petition PE1504 by Kathie Mclean Toremar on party litigants civil appeals to the Supreme Court
Supreme Court (Civil Appeals) (PE1504)
The Convener: The next item of business is consideration of one new petition, PE1504, by Kathie Mclean-Toremar, on party litigant civil appeals to the Supreme Court. As previously agreed by the committee, we will take evidence from the petitioner. Members have a note by the clerk, the Scottish Parliament information centre briefing and the petition.
I welcome the petitioner and Gordon Mclean to the meeting. I invite Ms Mclean-Toremar to make a short presentation of approximately five minutes to set the context for the petition, after which I will start with some questions and then my colleagues will ask additional questions.
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I hope that you understand that the petition is about not just me but a gross imbalance in the law regarding all persons in Scotland who find themselves being a party litigant—that is, someone who has to represent themselves in court. We are lucky enough to live in a democratic society in which that is possible.
As I said in my petition, in “A guide to bringing a case to The Supreme Court”, paragraph 1.8, which is headed “Appeals from the Court of Session in Scotland”, states that, although “permission to appeal is not required from an interlocutor of the Inner House of the Court of Session”, the appeal “must be signed by two Scottish counsel”.
That is where the flaw is.
As we all know, a party litigant is a person who, for whatever reason, such as a lack of funds for a solicitor, represents themselves. Nowadays, people are more likely to represent themselves because of a lack of funding for solicitors from the Scottish Legal Aid Board. I myself have seen solicitors demonstrating about the issue. We will have a situation in which more and more people will be forced to represent themselves in court.
When a party litigant represents themselves in the Court of Session, loses their case, then appeals and loses that appeal—I learned through a freedom of information request that there are no statistics on how many party litigants have won their case in the Court of Session—they are also then denied the right to appeal to the Supreme Court, which, according to the European Court of Human Rights, is deemed to be the highest court in the United Kingdom. On the Court’s website, which is www.echr.coe.int, frequently asked question 26 states that an individual must have taken their case to the highest court in the land before they can put it to the European Court of Human Rights.
The fact is that people are being denied their human rights; in this case, the relevant article is article 6, on equality of arms. Everyone deserves a fair hearing. We should be on a level playing field, not divided between the have and have-nots in society. Party litigants lose their right to appeal because of paragraph 1.8, which states that two Scottish counsel must sign the appeal, while the experience of all party litigants is that they cannot approach Scottish counsel in their chambers or in the Court of Session, and certainly not at the advocates library. The only way to approach counsel is through a solicitor, which is where the even larger difficulty lies.
The solicitor has only 42 days to read a case that might have been going on for many years. They then need to speak to two counsel and have them read the case, print their opinion and apply for an appeal to the Supreme Court. Although in theory that process can happen, in practice it cannot and does not happen. Legal aid has to be applied for, which takes time. If legal aid is granted, the solicitor can then contact counsel—I said “if” it is granted; the committee should please take into consideration the cuts to legal aid.
The real problem is that solicitors are wary of taking on a case at such a late stage. As part of my research, I obtained a list of 38 solicitors via Law Society of Scotland recommendations.
Having telephoned all 38 with the scenario I have just described, I found that not one of them was willing to take on such a Herculean task. The reasons cited by many of them included conflict of interests, lack of funding, too many hurdles, and, last but not least, the fact that the pursuer in the appeal has been a party litigant, in relation to which the legalities are a minefield that a solicitor would be reluctant to enter. It is not the solicitors’ fault; it is the fault of paragraph 1.8, which denies party litigants their rights.
In paragraph 6 of its response to the consultation on the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill, the Faculty of Advocates states that it knows that party litigants have difficulty with obtaining signatures from counsel. It goes on to say:“It has also become increasingly burdensome. The number of such cases has been increasing: between 2005 and 2010 the Faculty received five such requests from party litigants”.
That is five requests in five years. “Burdensome” is defined as heavy, onerous, troublesome and hard to deal with, so we can deduce that the faculty does not think highly of party litigants I am still waiting for a response from the Faculty of Advocates to my freedom of information request about how many party litigants it has helped to appeal to the Supreme Court, but I have also contacted the Supreme Court and I already know the answer. Not one party litigant from Scotland has ever been granted the right to appeal to the Supreme Court, so they cannot fulfil the criteria for making an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
Paragraph 1.8 denies a party litigant the right to appeal to the Supreme Court and to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. That is a blatant human rights issue. The theory is there but, as I say, the practicalities deny a party litigant the right of appeal. Everyone must be treated equally, with fairness and respect. The current situation contradicts the Human Rights Act 1998 severely.
This is a flaw in Scottish justice. The system that is in place is not fit for purpose. It places insurmountable barriers in the way of the party litigant. That happens in any civil case, and civil appeals show that party litigants have fewer rights. The Scottish Government has clearly recognised that there is a problem. Mr MacAskill mentions the issue in the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill, but nowhere do the two words “party litigant” appear in the bill.
I believe that my petition could serve to support any further planned measures to bring relief in such cases, so I feel that it is in the interests of justice and of all party litigants for the committee to consider it.
The Convener: Thank you very much. If Mr Mclean would like to respond to any of the questions that we ask, I encourage him to catch my eye.You have probably dealt with my first question, but I will ask it anyway, just for the record. You mentioned the two-counsel rule, which seems to be crucial. Are you arguing that article 6 of the European convention on human rights, which is on the right to a fair hearing, is being breached?
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: I am saying that a party litigant does not have the right to approach counsel. That is a breach of equality of arms, for which article 6 provides, so people’s human rights are being breached. A party litigant cannot approach counsel directly—they must go through a solicitor.
The Convener: My second question is about future legislation. You mentioned the Government’s Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill, which will be considered by the Justice Committee, and you hinted at what it could do. My understanding is that that bill will take away the two-counsel rule and that it will be for the inner house to decide whether there are sufficient grounds for someone to go to the Supreme Court. What is your view of that assessment? If the bill went through, would it solve your problem?
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: No, it would not. The bill, which I believe was introduced on 6 February, does not mention party litigants, and I think that that is a gross problem. The phrase “party litigant” does not appear in the bill. Will the bill provide a big umbrella, under which everyone will fit, or will it provide for people who are legally represented? That is where the problem lies. If someone is not legally represented, how will they be able to go to the inner house, which is what it is proposed will happen?
The Convener: So you are arguing that the bill would not solve your problem.
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: It would not cover party litigants.
The Convener: Okay—thank you for that.
Chic Brodie: I will begin with a general point, which does not relate only to the Public Petitions Committee. I am very concerned about how hard it is to get information out of the legal system in Scotland. Given that a number of approaches have been made and that hardly any replies have been received, I wonder what on earth is going on and how our legal system is being administered. People should at least have the decency to provide a reply, whether we are talking about the Lord President, the cabinet secretary or whoever. I leave that point lying.
What is your view of the proposed change, whereby someone would be able to approach the Faculty of Advocates, rather than having to have two solicitors approve their appeal to the inner house?
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: At the moment, a party litigant has to get two signatures from Scottish counsel. That is where the problem lies. It is not possible to approach counsel, to go to the Court of Session to speak to counsel or to phone up counsel. They will have nothing whatever to do with you. It is necessary to go to a solicitor, who will go on your behalf to counsel.
Chic Brodie: I am sorry to interrupt, but in the petition you say:“only a solicitor practising in Edinburgh can contact a counsel.”
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: Yes, that is another problem.
Chic Brodie: Where is the evidence for that?
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: I believe that a solicitor from Glasgow submitted a petition a few months ago on the problem whereby a Glasgow solicitor has to instruct an Edinburgh solicitor in order to be able to go to the Court of Session. That is my understanding—that is the way in which the situation was explained to me. I went to a Glasgow solicitor who told me that. A solicitor cannot do that unless they have what I think is called the right of audience.
Chic Brodie: If that is the case, I find it most disconcerting. I have one last question. I know that we cannot go into the detail of your case, but do you agree that there has to be some filtering out of the number of cases in which the inner house might be approached, other than through the two solicitor rule? Have you any idea how that process might be performed?
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: We do not know how long it will take for the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill to go through. It could be changed so that a party litigant who had gone through the Court of Session, appealed and lost their appeal would have the right to go directly to counsel.
It might be argued that there is already a free legal services unit. You can go to various agencies and ask them to make an application to the FLSU, which is run by certain advocates on a pro bono basis, but the unit can give people only three days. Many cases have taken years to go through the Court of Session, so three days is not enough. It takes more than three days to read the case and do research. The FLSU does not cover a party litigant in that regard.
Angus MacDonald: I appreciate your bringing these anomalies to the Parliament’s attention. It seems unfair that party litigants can approach counsel only through a solicitor, which defeats the purpose of the individual having the right to represent themselves.
I agree with you that the 42-day period for filing a notice of appeal seems excessively short. You did not really touch on that in your preamble. It has been noted that the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill seeks to introduce a provision that requires litigants to seek leave to appeal, rather than there being a requirement for two counsel to certify appeals. I understand that, in the bill, there is no intention to increase the 42-day period for filing a notice of appeal, although I could be wrong. Clearly you would wish that period to be increased.
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: Yes, if possible.
The Convener: As you probably know, we get a briefing from our information service—SPICe—on every single petition that is lodged. Our briefing states:“the Faculty of Advocates suggests that party litigants can approach the Faculty directly for assistance in this regard.”Do you have any comments on that?
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: I have tried—and I know of three other party litigants who have tried—to address the Faculty of Advocates. The faculty does not reply.I sent a freedom of information request on the matter eight weeks ago, but I have not had a reply. As it says in its response to the Government consultation, the Faculty of Advocates finds party litigants “burdensome”. That is shocking. That means that we are not on a level playing field where everyone has the right to represent themselves. The system does not work.
The Convener: Is it reasonable to say that there is an outstanding issue around the Faculty of Advocates? We have picked up that it is offering to provide help and advice, but you are saying that you have found it difficult to get a response.
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: It does not respond. That is where the free legal services unit comes in, which the Faculty of Advocates runs on a pro bono basis. The problem is that you have to find an agency, which could be Strathclyde law clinic or a citizens advice bureau, to make the application to the free legal services unit at the advocates library, and somebody will read it and say yes or no. However, as you can have only three days from the unit, and they take perhaps one day to read it and one day to do a bit of research, when will they stand in court and do the proof? There is no time. I hate to say this, but I feel that the Faculty of Advocates is just doing some window dressing and not addressing the problem. It does not respond to freedom of information requests.
I made an FOI request to the Supreme Court in London, which told me that not one party litigant from Scotland has ever been able to appeal. Why?
The Convener: I am not putting words in the mouth of our information service, but the general comments that we get through it are that the two advocates or counsel that you refer to will not sign an appeal unless they feel that there is a valid issue in law for the case to go to the next stage. That is the general legal position. Do you accept that that summarises where we are in the law?
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: Yes. The average length of case for the majority of party litigants is 11 years. I think that they have a point in law; otherwise, they would not have kept going for more than 11 years and their cases would have been thrown out of court. It is up to the party litigant to put forward the points of law to the advocate, which is not done lightly. However, they are not paying for the advocate or counsel, and I think that money really speaks.
The Convener: Mr McLean, do you have anything to add at this point?
Gordon Mclean: No.
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: Might I add something?
The Convener: Sure.
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: I approached Lord Gill, but he simply sent a letter from his secretary telling me to go www.supremecourt.com. I did not ask for legal advice and I did not ask any unusual questions. I just asked about paragraph 1.8, but he would not answer me. Everybody whom I have asked in the legal system has told me to go to paragraph 1.8.
The Convener: Thank you for that. We have come to the end of questions, but we want you to stay while we look at how to deal with your petition.
You have raised a lot of very interesting points and shown that there is real frustration among party litigants, particularly about getting to the Supreme Court and using ECHR. Normally, the committee wants to go as far as we can with each petition. There are some exceptions, however, such as where another committee is looking at legislation that is relevant to the petition. As you will know, the Justice Committee is looking at the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill. It would therefore make a lot of sense for us to refer the petition to that committee so that it can consider whether the bill could help you.
My advice to the committee is that we refer the petition as soon as possible to the Justice Committee so that, as part of its consideration of the bill, it can look at the issues raised by the petitioner. I think that the petition raises quite a lot of questions, and I would be pleased if our colleagues in the Justice Committee could have a look at it. However, that is a matter for committee members to decide. What are members’ views?
Chic Brodie: I agree with your view. However, sometimes we forget why we are here, which is to respond to people who have genuine issues. I fail to understand why the powers that be are not responding, at least with some degree of courtesy, to the petitioner. Personally, I find it wholly unacceptable that information is not being provided—there is not even the courtesy of a letter. I hope that the message that we send from here, whether formally or not, is that we are here to represent petitioners, whether they are right or wrong, and that they should be treated with courtesy, no matter what part of Government is involved. Frankly, in my opinion, some of the answers—indeed, the lack of answers—that have been received in this case are wholly unacceptable.
The Convener: Mr Brodie makes an excellent point. Do members agree with the recommendation that we refer the petition to the Justice Committee? Members indicated agreement.
The Convener: As the petitioners will have heard, we are keen to ensure that the committee focusing on the bill also focuses on your petition. We will therefore arrange for it to be transferred immediately to the Justice Committee, which will keep you up to date with progress. The petition is still active in the Scottish Parliament; it is simply being referred to the appropriate committee that is considering the legislation.
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: When I went to my local MSP, Michael Russell, he informed me that he had spoken to Kenny MacAskill, who said that the law will be changed when Scotland gets independence.
The Convener: Right.
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: I just wanted to put that on the record.
The Convener: I have to say that that is slightly beyond my pay grade. Mr Russell is entitled to his comments but, as far as what the Public Petitions Committee can do—
Jackson Carlaw: I am sorry, convener, but I must ask the witness whether that comment was communicated to her in writing.
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: Well, my husband was there—
Jackson Carlaw: But do you have written confirmation of it?
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: No.
Jackson Carlaw: It would be very interesting if you were able to obtain that commitment in writing and shared it with the committee.
The Convener: Thank you, Mr Carlaw.
As I have said, the petition is still active and will be referred to our colleagues on the Justice Committee, who will consider it alongside the bill.I thank the petitioners for coming along and raising a number of very worrying points. I hope that the Justice Committee will be able to look at the matter in more detail.I suspend the meeting for a minute to allow our witnesses to leave.
Gordon Mclean: Thank you.
Kathie Mclean-Toremar: Thank you very much for listening to us.
The Committee agreed to refer the petition, under Rule 15.6.2, to the Justice Committee as part of its scrutiny of the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill.
The kidnap of Two Sovereigns by the CROWN/STATE(starts about 1.00) VIDEO
Who put Bowie up to the political posturing on Scottish independence?
BOWIE'S ADDRESSES OVER THE YEARS
David Bowie decides to use the Brit Awards to weigh into the Scotland independence debate via Kate Moss.
Now considering Bowie ain't lived in Britain since April 1974 its a bit rich him saying that Scotland
should hang on in there with the rest of the UK when it is presently being run by a bunch of Eton groomed
toffy nosed bastards with a penchant for dismissing the peasantry as if they were cleaning them off the
heel of their fascist boots. Now we ourselves are not entirely happy that Salmond and his merry band of
lawyers McAskill and Sturgeon are wanting to go it alone to give ever more draconian powers to the
freemason judicial mafia and the law society who have been bleeding the Scots dry for centuries for and on
behalf of an English Crown .
Land and property theft has never ceased no matter whether it's Labour or the
SNP in power, the conservatives have NEVER been in power unless they are bullying Scotland from Westminster
with an unelected tory thug. That has been the main cause of so much
hatred towards a system that treats Scots like some sort of lowly peasantry that has seen its oil wealth
plundered to line the pockets of the London mafia who have creamed off the most lucrative parts of Scotland
for their own multi-billion dollar projects.
Bowie clearly unaware , seeing he has seldom frequented his birth country for decades in what exactly is going on,
yet happy to rant that Scotland shouldn't desert a country he himself deserted decades ago.