Scottish Information Commissioner rejects call for honesty in Holyrood petition proposal to amend law on inaccurate & false FOI responses from public bodies
Scots FOI Chief rejects calls for honesty over lack of powers to deal with inaccurate data from public bodies.APPEARINGto reject calls for new ‘honesty powers’ to deal with Scots public authorities who provide dishonest or inaccurate data in response to Freedom of Information requests, Scottish Information CommissionerRosemary Agnewhas claimed Scotland’s FOI system is “open, transparent and honest” – even thoughevidence & case examplessuggest public authorities are releasing dodgy data in an attempt to avoid public scrutiny of their activities.
The petition calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to strengthen the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 202 by requiring public bodies to provide full and accurate information in all responses to FOI requesters, and to extend the powers of the Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) to enable the Commissioner to investigate complaints alleging erroneous responses. The petition also seeks powers to impose monetary penalties on any public body which breaches the amended FOISA regulations on accuracy.
Scottish Information Commissioner Evidence to MSPs on Petition PE1512 6th May 2014
Giving evidence to MSPs, Ms Agnew appeared to suggest a variety of reasons could lead to the information being requested not being released, such as public bodies not searching for the information in the correct place, inaccuracies in public records, or the information not being held by the public body.
Throughout the debate Ms Agnew appeared unable to justify her opposition to the petition’s proposals to bring requirements of honesty into the FOI framework, giving at times rambling answers to questions put by msps. The full meeting minutes are available here:Official Report of meeting 6 May 2014 (434KB pdf)
The Commissioner went on to tell the Committee tthe most effective way to deal with FOIs was “getting it right first time” – although many FOI requesters including some msps who use Freedom of Information to find out what Scottish public authorities are really up to, may find Ms Agnew’s claim on this point hard to swallow.
Commenting on Ms Agnew’s appearance before MSPs, the Petitioner, Mr Chisholm said:“In her evidence to the Committee on May 6th, the Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) said she saw no need to amend the current legislation. This, despite the fact that 12,000 responders to FOI requests may be breaking the law in any given year, and even though there has not been a single prosecution or conviction under Section 65 of FOISA.”
Mr Chisholm continued:“The SIC also explained that an individual with a complaint about the accuracy of a FOI response had recourse under other Acts as well as FOISA. But it would seem much more logical for all issues relating to Freedom of Information to be monitored and governed by FOISA. How is that individual supposed to negotiate the labyrinth of legislation which seems to have been concocted to protect local authorities, Government agencies, and other organisations covered by FOISA?”
Concerns have also been raised over the Information Commissioner’s policy towards public authorities who provide dodgy information in response to FOI requests after it emerged in responses to the petition that not one single prosecution of a public body breaching FOI laws has taken place – even though the Information Commissioner and Police Scotland identified 10 cases where there was evidence that suggested a section 65 offence may have been committed.
Concluding the debate. the Committee agreed to defer consideration of the petition to a future meeting to allow time for the Scottish Government to respond and to enable the petitioner to comment on evidence received.
Disclosures obtained under Freedom of Information legislation and forwarded to Scottish Law Reporter have revealed how the Scottish Information Commissioner held discussions on how to respond to queries from the Scottish Parliament’s Petitions Committee on calls to integrate honesty clauses into the FOI Act.
In documents published today, the SIC is seen to discuss with staff as to how to reply to MSPs questions on the petition, and
Apparently concerned of queries over the lack of prosecutions of FOI violations, the SIC staff express concerns as noted :“Rosemary is to give evidence to the committee on Tuesday 6 May. One of the issues we expect will come up is about the number of s65 cases we’ve had. IT s a bit of a side issue (Mr Chisholm’s concern appears to be about whether he was provided all information in scope of his request, though we never did have an application to investigate), but it was raised during Tuesday’s committee meeting as one of the tests of whether FOISA is working.”
Commenting on the documents earlier today, transparency campaigners described the SIC’s efforts to wind up Mr Chisholm’s petition as“outrageous”.
A legal insider added“Considering the Information Commissioner has already admitted she does not have powers to investigate cases of dishonest FOI responses, perhaps the SIC may better focus its obvious influence in ensuring an honesty clause is attached to the Freedom of Information Scotland Act rather than expending so much effort to kill off the idea that anyone making an FOI request should expect honesty in responses from public bodies funded by taxpayers.”
Levy & McRae’s William Macreath accused of professional misconduct & inadequate service in SEVEN YEAR Law Society of Scotland investigation
PAPERSlodged in Scotland’s Court of Session as part of a dispute between two solicitors have revealedWilliam Macreath(aged 60) of Glasgow based law firmLEVY MCRAEhas been accused ofSEVEN COUNTS OF PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCTandFIVE COUNTS OF INADEQUATE SERVICESby a reporter working for the Law Society of Scotland who was given the task of investigating complaints made against Mr Macreath in 2005 by another solicitor, Ms Norna Crabbe.
Scant detail regarding the accusations against Mr Macreath, were outed in a Court of Session hearing which was instigated last month by Ms Crabbe, who wishes to participate a case of judicial review brought by Mr Macreath who is seeking to wipe the findings of the Law Society report and it’s accusations against him.
The court was told little of what appears to be a lengthy complaints process which began in 2005 after a firm in which Ms Crabbe was a partner, folded. Complaints were later made to the Law Society of Scotland by Ms Crabbe who had employed Mr Macreath to unsuccessfully represent her in litigation, which ultimately resulted in FOUR reporters investigating the complaints made by Ms Crabbe against Mr Macreath. Of the unusually high number of reporters working on the case, only two are referred to in Lord Brodie’s opinion, raising questions over why it has taken seven years for details of the complaints to come to light.
William Macreath is also head of theLEGAL DEFENCE UNION(LDU) an organisation which has been linked to a number of scandals involving dishonest and corrupt solicitors who have escaped criminal charges for legal aid fraud and embezzlement of client funds.
No parties involved in the case have given any official comment on the court hearing and the accusations against Mr Macreath.
It should be noted that various unsubstantiated rumours by ‘persons with an interest in the outcome of the action’ have been circulated regarding Ms Crabbe in an effort to discredit her side of the story. However, none of these highly defamatory rumours will be published by Scottish Law Reporter.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has ties to Levy Mcrae.As details of the Hollie Greig case began to be reported in the wider press, it emerged the Scottish Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill has personal links toLEVY MCRAE, the law firm employed by the then Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini in legal action over the abuse case allegations. Mr MacAskill has made no comment on the fact he served his apprenticeship at Levy McRae and also worked at the firm for a considerable time during his years as a solicitor before he entered politics. The revelations of MacAskill’s links to Levy McRae, the same law firm who represented Steven Purcell, were reported by Scottish Law Reporter at the time,HERE
Court of Session opinion from Lord Brodie follows :
 In this application by motion in terms of rule 58.8(2) by Miss Norma Crabbe for leave to enter the process and to lodge answers as additional respondent to the petition, I heard Miss Crabbe in support of her motion and Miss Watts, Advocate, for the petitioner.
 Miss Crabbe objected to my hearing Miss Watts on the ground that, contrary to what appears on the Form 23.4 lodged on behalf of the petitioner, written intimation of opposition had not been given to her on the day that the opposition was lodged with the General Department, as required by rule 23.4(4). The relevant timetable of events, according to Miss Crabbe, was that she intimated her intention to enrol the motion by fax on Monday 30 April 2012. She enrolled the motion on Wednesday 2 May. Those acting for the petitioner lodged a form of opposition to motion (Form 23.4) with the General Department on 2 May but only intimated that opposition in writing to Miss Crabbe by way of letter which arrived on Thursday 3 May. The motion came before me on Friday 4 May. While I understood Miss Watts to dispute that there had been a failure to intimate opposition on 2 May, she accepted that she had handed an amended Form 23.4 to Miss Crabbe on the morning of 4 May prior to the motion calling before me. The amended Form 23.4 stated that the motion should be refused on the basis that the applicant was not directly affected by the issues raised in the petition and lacked the necessary interest and standing to justify her participating in the proceedings.
 Rather than taking further time to explore the factual dispute, I proceeded on the basis that, as Miss Crabbe claimed, written opposition to her motion had only been intimated to her on 3 May 2012 and that therefore there had been a failure to comply with rule 23.4(4). Rule 2.1 gives power to the Court to relieve a party from the consequences of failure to comply with the Rules of Courts. It is not entirely clear to me that there are necessary consequences of a failure to comply with the requirement to give written notice of opposition on the day of lodging it, at least where the motion is starred, the other party is on notice that the motion is opposed and the other party has attended to make her motion. But, assuming that it was open to me to refuse to hear Miss Watts or to grant the motion irrespective of its merits, I decided that it was entirely inappropriate for me to do so andto the extent that my hearing Miss Watts required me to exercise my powers under rule 2.1, I did so. In my experience at least, a motion such as this is unusual. It did not appear to me free from all difficulty. I welcomed the assistance which might be provided from either side of the bar and Miss Crabbe did not suggest that she had suffered any prejudice from having a shorter rather than longer period of notice of opposition.
 The petitioner is a solicitor. The respondent is the Law Society of Scotland. The petitioner seeks judicial review of a decision taken by the Council of the respondent, acting through its Regulation Department, and intimated by letter dated January 2011, to treat its report dated 28 September 2009, on a complaint against the petitioner (by Miss Crabbe) as a nullity and to proceed on the basis of the report, dated June 2011, on the same subject.
 Miss Crabbe is also a solicitor. The petitioner acted on her behalf between 1998 and 2005 in relation to litigation arising out of the dissolution of the firm of which Miss Crabbe had been a partner. Miss Crabbe became dissatisfied with the services provided to her by the petitioner in relation to this matter and in August 2005 intimated the complaint to the respondent which is referred to in the petition. The then statutory provision regulating such complaints was section 33 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990. Section 33 requires the respondent to investigate a complaint made by any person with an interest and thereafter make a written report to the complainer and the practitioner concerned. It is averred in the petition that the respondent has appointed a series of four separate reporters to deal with Miss Crabbe’s complaint. The report dated 28 September 2009 (“the 2009 Report”) was a report by the third reporter and the report dated June 2011 (“the 2011 Report”) was a report by the fourth reporter.
 The 2009 report by the third reporter recommended that all heads of complaint made by Miss Crabbe against the petitioner be dismissed, with the exception of one finding of inadequate professional services. The third reporter recommended that no sanction be imposed on the petitioner in respect of that finding. Miss Crabbe subsequently complained about the terms of the 2009 Report. It was by way of response to Miss Crabbe’s complaint about the 2009 Report that the respondent made its remit (which the petitioner avers was of a limited nature) to the fourth reporter. The fourth reporter reported in terms of the 2011 Report. In the 2011 Report the fourth reporter made five findings of inadequate services against the petitioner and seven findings of professional misconduct. The fourth reporter did not make a finding of inadequate professional services in relation to the one head of the complaint which had been upheld by the third reporter.
 The petitioner avers that he made detailed written representations to the respondent about the unfairness of the approach adopted in dealing with Miss Crabbe’s complaint which led to the 2011 Report. The petitioner avers that he did not receive a substantive response from the respondents until 10 January 2012 when the respondent wrote to the petitioner advising that it proposed to proceed on the basis of the 2011 Report treating the 2009 Report as a nullity.
 In these circumstances the petitioner seeks interdict ad interim against the respondent from taking any procedural step to advance the disposal of the complaint by Miss Crabbe pending resolution of the proceedings; reduction of the respondent’s decision of 10 January 2012 to set aside the 2009 Report and treat it as a nullity; an order by the Court ordaining the respondent to set aside the terms of the 2011 Report; and an order by the Court ordaining the respondent to obtain a supplementary report in terms specified at paragraph 14.4 of the petition.
Rule of Court 58.8(2)
 Rule 58.8(2) provides as follows:
“Any person not specified in the first order made under Rule 58.7 as a person on whom service requires to be made, and who is directly affected by any issue raised, may apply by motion for leave to enter the process; and if the motion is granted, the provisions of this chapter shall apply to that person as they apply to a person specified in the first order”.
 It was Miss Watts’s submission on behalf of the petitioner that Miss Crabbe was not a person “directly affected” by any issue raised in the petition. The petition would not resolve Miss Crabbe’s complaint against the petitioner. To the extent that Miss Crabbe’s patrimonial interests had been adversely affected by the petitioner’s conduct of her affairs then her remedy was an action for damages. Moreover, it was not in the interests of expedient determination of the petition that Miss Crabbe should be allowed to participate. A two day first hearing had been fixed in the petition for 14 and 15 June 2012. It was likely that that hearing would have to be discharged if Miss Crabbe were to be added as a party.
 Miss Crabbe and Miss Watts were agreed that authoritative guidance as to what is meant by “directly affected” for the purposes of Rule 58.8(2) is to be found in the judgment of Lord Reed in AXA General Insurance Ltd v The Lord Advocate 2011 SLT 1061 at paras.170 to 175. In that passage, Lord Reed explains that the traditional analysis in terms of title and interest as a requisite for locus standi in a private law context, as set out in D & J Nicol v Dundee Harbour Trustees 1915 SC (HL) 712, is inappropriate where what is in issue are questions of public law, which is likely to be the case with an exercise of the supervisory jurisdiction. At para.174 of his judgment in AXA Lord Reed considers the terms of Rule 58.8(2). He explains that stipulation in the rule that a person must be directly affected by any issue raised, is no more than a reflection of the pre-existing requirement that a person must have sufficient interest. It is no more restrictive than that.
 There may be instances where having made a complaint to a regulatory authority the complainer should be taken to have surrendered any private interest in the matter to that authority but on the admittedly fairly superficial understanding of the scheme under the 1990 Act which I was able to glean from the parties’ necessarily brief submissions, I do not see this to be such a case. It would appear from the petitioner’s averments that the respondent involved Miss Crabbe in the complaints process. It entertained Miss Crabbe’s complaint about the 2009 Report. It invited her to submit material which she claimed had not been considered by the third reporter. The petitioner complains of lack of procedural fairness on the part of the respondent in its consideration of the complaint. It is at the very least arguable that just as the petitioner had an expectation of procedural fairness, so did Miss Crabbe. The petitioner complains of delay on the part of the respondent. So did Miss Crabbe when she came to address me. It may be that, in contrast to the petitioner, Miss Crabbe has no direct patrimonial interest in the outcome of the complaint, but I consider that I am entitled to have regard to her interest in being vindicated in the event of her complaint being upheld just as the petitioner has an interest (additional to any purely patrimonial interest) in being vindicated by the complaint being dismissed, either in whole or in part. Depending on the outcome of the complaint, I would expect parties to consider that they had “won” or “lost” to a greater or lesser extent. The terms of the operative reporter’s report may not be determinative of the complaint but any final decision will have to be based on that report, hence the petitioner’s wish for the 2011 Report to be set aside in favour of the 2009 Report with any further report being limited to an identification of the documentation which was not available to the third reporter and a decision on the significance, if any, of such additional documentation. If it is clear that the petitioner has an interest in setting aside the 2011 Report in favour of the 2009 Report, then, conversely, I would see Miss Crabbe as having an interest, albeit perhaps not a patrimonial interest, in the 2011 Report remaining as the operative report.
 Were it to be suggested (and Miss Watts did not so suggest), I would not be satisfied that it would be an answer to Miss Crabbe’s wish to participate that her interests can be adequately protected by the respondent’s opposition to the petition. It may be that the respondent will take and maintain all relevant points available in answer to the petition but Miss Crabbe has no guarantee that that will be so. It may be that with a view to the economical conduct of the litigation, Miss Crabbe will not choose to add anything to what is put forward on behalf of the respondent, but she cannot know in advance whether the points which are to be insisted upon on behalf of the respondent and the way in which the proceedings are conducted will exactly coincide with her view of her interests.
 Miss Watts argued that it was not in the interests of the expedient determination of the petition that Miss Crabbe be allowed to participate. Miss Watts envisaged that the hearing fixed for 14 and 15 June 2012 would have to be discharged. I am not satisfied that this is necessarily so but were it to be so I do not see it as a consideration which could prevent a directly affected person being granted leave to enter the process.
 I shall therefore grant Miss Crabbe leave to enter the process. Miss Crabbe sought leave to lodge answers and I would grant leave for her to do so, ordaining that these be lodged within 14 days of the date of the interlocutor granting leave. I reserve all questions of expenses.
(Apologies for delay posting – beginnings of report dictated Friday to 3rd party on failing mobile who emailed it to FRG webmaster but FRG W-M was/is away/absent…) It’s going to take me another decade at least to get my head around legal procedures in Scotland. This was indeed “Round 1”of Robert’s trial but by the end of the morning it had become clear the trial proper is still some way off. This morning’s proceedings, in Court 4, again before Sheriff Fleetwood who granted Robert bail 10 days ago, was described by a supporter who seemed to be marginally more in the know than the rest of us, as a ‘pre-trial debate’. It was basically a legal joust between the Counsel for the Defence and the Procurator Fiscal, the purpose of which was presumably for the Sheriff to acquaint himself with the arguments on both sides as to why the trial proper should or should not go ahead, but excluding the examination and evidence of the witnesses so it was certainly not the trial. However, had anything Counsel for the Defence put to the Sheriff managed to persuade him there was no need or merit in proceeding any further, the trial proper would be dropped. This didn’t happen, therefore the evidential case will be heard on the 16th July with one more interim diet on 27th June. Robert was told he need not attend on either occasion but when we met him briefly outside the court, he said he would attend on 16th July. He looked well after his week of rest and seemed to be pleased with his Junior Counsel’s performance. (to be continued when have posted a quick note to Rusty and had lunch!)
9. In August 2010, Leonie visits the family physician with Demi for the removal of a genital wart, under the supervision of an employee from the OCK Spalier.
Demi panics as the doctor touches her buttocks, she’s afraid “he’ll put something in there”.
Anna Stam, 41, was standing at the back of a shop, in Amsterdam. A little girl asked her in English: “Do you know where my mummy is?” Stam replied that her mother was a little further back in the store. The child said: “She is not my mummy. She is a stranger; she took me from my mummy.” Stam said that when she asked the girl where she last saw her mother, she said: “They took me from my holiday.” Dutch ‘sighting’.
10. In March 2011, Ben and Leonie take Nirvana to an independent doctor in Haarlem to be examined for signs of sexual abuse.
OCK Spalier finds out.
Both children are rushed to a secret location elsewhere in the country.
Leonie is only allowed to visit the girls once a fortnight, under supervision.
A victim of the Dutroux pedophile ring which has been linked to the police, the security services, Bilderberg and NATO.
11. In August 2011, Demi and Nirvana are transferred to the Wilma House, a foster home in Zoetermeer.
Leonie believes that the children are still being abused.
12. In November 2011, Ben and Leonie are brutally forced off the road by police cars.
Ben is violently dragged out of his car and beaten up by several policemen. The police threaten Ben and Leonie with a gun.
13. Under false pretexts, Ben is imprisoned again.
Attempts are made to enforce a psychological report for longer detention, without success.
Children’s homes are used by the elite for child sex.
14. It is discovered that policemen are employed at the Children’s Welfare Agency and that a number of judges make decisions against the official rules.
15. The foster parents at Wilma House try to get passports for Demi and Nirvana. Ben and Leonie are fiercely against this and deny permission.
16. In February 2012, Ben is arrested again.
17. It turns out that Wilma House, in Zoetermeer, is run by the female owner / foster parents as a private business, which is against the rules of the Inspectorate for Youth Care.
The ex-husband of the owner, who regularly visits Wilma House, is an ex-policeman.
He is the same officer who filed the police report after the arrest of Ben in November 2011..
Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands was the first president of the Bilderberg Group. Reportedly, Regina Louf visited his yacht Jumbo VI. Regina Louf was one of the child victims of the Dutroux pedophile gang.
18. In July – August 2012, the children are taken to Croatia, against the wishes of the parents.
19. It is discovered that the documents removing the children from the custody of their parents have been printed on forged court papers, and are not listed in the national register of court cases at the District Court in Amsterdam.
22. In October 2012, an employee at OCK The Spalier reports that at least eight colleagues have abused many children, including Demi and Nirvana.
23. In October 2012. Prof. Dr Onno van der Hart of the University of Utrecht gives his full support to the Van den Brink family and other families Involved.
24. In November 2012 a letter is sent to the mayor of Alkmaar, Piet Bruinooge, but he refuses to help.
General Michael Aquino. In 1986, San Francisco police began investigating claims of sexual abuse centering around the Army’s Child Development Center at the Presidio of San Francisco. In 1987, a girl identified Lt.-Col. Michael Aquino as the person who had had abused her.
25. In November 2012, a court in Amsterdam tries to but Ben behind bars yet again.
26. Ben’s case is given publicity by the Belgian Werkgroep Morkhoven.
27. It seems that Holland is a tyrannical Pedocracy.
In Belgium, Member of Parliament Laurent Louis publicised a list of names that an ‘anonymous‘ group sent to all parliamentarians in Belgium.
The list was of all the people ALLEGEDLY involved in the Dutroux affair.
Among the names listed: US General Michael Aquino , who has had an important role in military psychological warfare; involved in “Monarch” brainwashing; Councillor for Western Europe Chiefs of Staff …
Bonacci Paul , victim of Monarch brainwashing
Willy Claes Secretary General of NATO in 1994 and 95
Elio di Rupo currently Belgian Prime Minister
André Cools , assassinated Belgian government minister……
a] DAILY MAIL, 17 April 13 – “Thousands of children abused in their own homes are not being protected by local authorities, damning NSPCC report warns” THE NSPCC ARE ONE OF THE ORGANISATIONS BEHIND THE CHILDSTEALING RACKET IN THE UK – WHICH SPREADS WORLDWIDE VIA THE U.N. – ALL BACKED BY BRITISH TAX MONEY. How do they know this? do they go into the homes and see the abuse? of course they dont – its propaganda used to steal children – and sadly their mistake record is out of all comprehension. The rubbish is here: dailymail.co.uk/news/article-
2310840/Thousands-children-abused-homes-protected-local-authorities-damning-NSPCC-report-warns.html?ito=feeds-newsxml b] “Figures at an all time high for children being removed from families, most often good, loving ones” – Daily Mail April 12 2012