Dear Mr MacAskill
One month ago I wrote to you regarding your public statements made in Perth on 28th April regarding Hollie Greig and Robert Green. I have had no reply. From this I must conclude that I now have your tacit agreement that the summary I made of your position is accurate. I wish now to expand on the implications this has for your stewardship and oversight of the Scottish judicial system and for the future of our country as we approach the significant vote on 18th September.
Firstly, I must emphasise that if our legal system cannot protect an “entirely innocent victim” in the person of a young disabled girl, then it is not good for much. Your continued refusal to institute a full and thorough investigation into the Hollie Greig case, even taken alone, undermines fatally your position and that of your government.
There are of course many other concerns that are highlighted by this case, by Mr Green’s campaign, and by your response to it. These issues are, I believe, examples of the problem that the famous Scottish public intellectual, Mr Niall Ferguson, now of Harvard and Oxford, outlined in a speech to the Nobel Institute in Oslo on 25th June last year: the decline of the civil institutions of the west and the consequent impoverishment of western society. As Robert Green has now been nominated for the 2015 Nobel Peace prize for exactly those activities which you so roundly condemned in Perth, it seems appropriate to start this examination at the Nobel institute. The thrust of Mr Ferguson’s thesis is that not only do poor countries become rich if their institutions improve, but rich countries become poor if their institutions get worse. Let us therefore use the prism of the Hollie Greig case to review the state of important Scottish Institutions that fall under your stewardship.
The Scottish Legal Aid Board seems a good place to start. In his campaign for justice for Hollie Greig, Mr Green highlighted the situation surrounding Douglas Haggarty, SLAB Head of Legal Services (Criminal and Technical). Mr Haggarty was arrested with a teenage rent-boy in the Public Toilets of a Glasgow department store and charged with soliciting in a public place. The events were reported in the Sunday Mail on May 3rd 2009. The response by SLAB was to offer instant support and high-profile legal representation to Mr Haggarty in the form of Paul McBride QC. The case was downgraded and handled by the Fiscal by direct measures. Mr Haggarty kept his job. Criminal acts and indecent behaviour it seems are no barrier to a senior career is an organisation with a role in the governance of the judicial system in Scotland.
Next we must examine the state of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. This was famously and recently called “Institutionally Corrupt” by the Scottish Law Reporter (October 24th 2012) in an article entitled “Crown Office, Police & Lord Advocate accused of criminality over Lockerbie trial injustice”. Worse was to follow when the Scottish Law Reporter (Oct 25th 2012) revealed the existence of:
“a secret, unaudited “slush fund of public money” used to pay for legal advice, and private legal representation for its own members of staff who have been charged with criminal offences or who have become involved in civil legal disputes.
The fund, which legal insiders claim is buried deep in the budget for the Crown Office, is rumoured to have paid out millions of pounds over its existence in cases involving its own staff. There are also suggestions the fund has been used to PAY-OFF ‘media friendly’ law firms to keep headlines involving criminal charges against COPFS staff out of the press and that the fund may have been used “to purchase testimony” from witnesses”.”
And which case was used in this article to illustrate the operation of the slush fund? None other than the case of Hollie Greig and the actions of the then Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini to silence the Scottish Press on this subject.
Summarising the situation, the famous Scottish Advocate Jock Thomson QC said:
“We should all be very afraid. Our system of criminal justice is rapidly going to hell in a handcart. “
And where is your action to address these concerns Mr MacAskill? The Crown office is declared institutionally corrupt, the Crown Office runs a slush fund, surely these are claims that warrant investigation, and a full and open public enquiry to restore confidence? Yet you remain silent!
Instead of seeking to protect the public, to ensure transparency and uphold the rule of law, you seek to remove corroboration without thought to the consequences for wrongful conviction. Instead of cleaning up the “institutionally corrupt” crown office you refuse to make the judiciary reveal membership of secret societies with secret oaths that conflict with their public duties. In short there appears to be an abandonment of the rule of law and a failure of public institutions under your government.
The Rule of Law, in its most basic form, is the principle that no one is above the law, including Crown Office officials and the Judiciary. This rule follows logically from the idea that truth, and therefore law, is based upon fundamental principles which can be discovered, but which cannot be created through an act of will. If this no longer applies in Scotland then we are in the state described by Augustine:
“Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on.”
In brief Mr MacAskill, if you and your colleagues cannot provide justice for Hollie Greig, what are you for?
David Scott BEng, AMICE, CEng, MIStructE, MIES
11 Tullylumb Terrace
Perth PH1 1BA
6 Styan Avenue,
Tyne & Wear,
Telephone: (0191) 252 5524
22 June, 2014
OPEN LETTER TO KENNY MACASKILL, JUSTICE SECRETARY
Dear Mr MacAskill,
Further to my letters dated 10 April, 2014, and 3 May, 2014, as a member of an extensive Scottish family, most of them still living north of the border, I continue to have serious concerns regarding the justice system over which you preside.
I have always understood that the maintenance of a free and orderly society depends upon the separation of powers, with an independent legislature, judiciary and executive strictly banned from encroaching upon each other’s preserves. In present-day Scotland this basic tenet of good government appears no longer to apply. Instead, in noteworthy instances it seems that both parliament and courts are content to bow to the will of an over-powerful executive, now backed up by a unitary police force operating throughout the whole of Scotland and, when it chooses to do so, making forays south of the border.
I have already referred, in a previous letter, to the fact that a proper investigation of Hollie Greig’s claim to have suffered fourteen years of abuse from a group of well-connected and influential paedophiles in Aberdeen has never taken place. Indeed, any incipient investigation has been blocked, on the false grounds of ‘insufficient evidence’, by the Crown Office itself: a clear example of the executive directing the courts and, in effect, perverting the course of justice. Others are willing to testify that this is not a unique occurrence.
Reports of your own behaviour at a public meeting in Perth on 28 April last are especially disturbing. On that occasion, when questioned by David Scott, a member of the Scottish electorate well-versed in Scots law, your reaction, as a servant of the public entrusted with the responsibilities of high office, was, to say the least, startling. I understand that at the mere mention of Hollie Greig’s name you cut the questioner short and proceeded to dodge the issue with a string of counter-accusations, irrelevancies, and at least two downright lies, when you stated that Hollie Greig was not abused (you know only too well that evidence exists which proves that she was) and that a full investigation had taken place (when – again as you very well know – the only two persons approached by the police, out of twenty or more named by Hollie as abusers, were allowed to slip off to Portugal after nugatory questioning; when no computers were seized; and when the testimony of expert witnesses was unsought and, if offered, ignored).
On that occasion, you also demonstrated your lack of respect for another basic tenet of the law – that a person is innocent until proved guilty – by referring approvingly to Robert Green’s prolonged imprisonment without trial in HMP Perth, and implying that the very fact that he found himself behind bars was sufficient proof of guilt. When eventually released on bail, Mr Green had already served six days more than the maximum required for a summary offence, allowing for his customary good behaviour – but having paid the full price of guilt, plus some, he may yet be found innocent! (Or could it be that you have your own reasons, not entirely transparent, for being confident of an appropriate verdict?)
Still awaiting his final court appearance in Aberdeen, Mr Green – a Nobel Peace Prize nominee who has never harmed a single member of the law-abiding public – remains under house arrest, forbidden use of the internet, and forced to report to his local constabulary on a daily basis. Even now he does not know the exact nature of his offence, only that he is vaguely charged with breach of a harassment order. Presumably the fiscal and Crown Office have not yet determined the exact nature of the breach. During his 96 days in prison Robert Green was not allowed to be present at appeals for bail, and was disconcerted to hear from a member of the legal profession that in his absence the procurator fiscal, Andrew Shanks, had claimed that he had been distributing leaflets in Aberdeen – something which Mr Green has never done, even when he was first arrested, in a pre-emptive strike, back in 2010: which brings me to a further point.
If Mr Shanks did, indeed, make a false statement under oath before Lady Wise on 19 March, 2010, he is liable to charges of perjury. Yet when Mr Green, after giving the fiscal ample opportunity to set the record straight, attempted to make a formal complaint to the police, DC Johnstone of the Perth constabulary informed him that he must first refer the matter to his solicitor, and then ‘go through the Crown Office procedure’. This conversation was reported to you in full in my letter dated 3 May, which I will enclose with this to refresh your memory. The natural conclusion to draw from the police officer’s statement is that Crown Office employees may only be prosecuted if the Crown Office itself decides to let the prosecution go ahead: and no argument refuting this assumption has been offered by Mr Shanks or yourself, either to Mr Green or to anyone else who asks exactly which Scottish law authorises such a privilege.
It seems, then, that equality under the law – another fundamental tenet of justice and good government – is being routinely infringed under your regime.
At present there are, in addition, grounds for concern in relation to the treatment of another campaigner against child abuse who currently finds himself on the receiving end of Scottish justice. Timothy Rustige, sentenced to a hefty nine months for allegedly causing ‘fear and alarm’ to a former Lord Advocate, fully expected to be released from prison on 3 June. At first it appeared that delays in his tag-release paperwork were a result of the sudden mass transfer of prisoners to HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow, after rioting beyond Mr Rustige’s control, and in which he took no part, devastated HMP Grampian. However, a recent conversation between Mrs Belinda McKenzie, spokesperson for the Justice for Hollie, Free Robert Green and Release Rusty campaigns, with Derek McGill, Governor of Barlinnie, suggests otherwise. According to Mr McGill, a potent reason for Mr Rustige’s detention beyond the call of justice is that it is thought likely that, once released, he will return to his customary blogging and ‘re-offend’. Indeed, it was indicated during this conversation that not only might Mr Rustige be required to endure the full nine months of his sentence, regardless of good behaviour: even after he had served his time to the bitter end, his case might still be subject to ‘review’.
The clear implication is that Mr Rustige is being kept in prison simply to shut him up. It would be quite possible to release him on home arrest, with the proviso that he must cause no further fear or alarm to any nervous VIP, on pain of re-imprisonment. Apparently, though, this is not enough. The real stumbling block, it seems, is not the fear and alarm from which one particular friend of the establishment must be protected at all costs, but a more generalised dislike of legitimate, if robustly worded, criticism, of the establishment as a whole – particularly in the run-up to the independence referendum. Will Robert Green’s trial, too, be deferred, in order to keep him under house arrest and gagged until after September 18th? If both men are held in detention/under strict bail conditions until that crucial date has passed, the conclusion that the courts are being used for political purposes will be inescapable.
No separation of powers; indefinitely renewable periods of imprisonment without specific charges, or on trumped-up charges; no assumption of innocence; attempts to section inconvenient people like Anne Greig and Robert Green; special dispensations, ‘in the public interest’, for privileged persons accused of a criminal offence; arrest and detention for political objectives: some might say all this points to the emergence of a police state.
I hope I am mistaken. I hope that you will call a halt to the cross-border raids and the arbitrary arrest and imprisonment without trial of inconvenient people. I hope that, even at this late stage, you will see fit to initiate a full public inquiry, along the lines of Hillsborough, into organised paedophile activity in Scotland, both actual and historical, to complement and assist that which is already being demanded by Westminster MPs (see letter enclosed). I hope that Hollie Greig’s allegations will finally be investigated, and that her father, Denis Mackie, now being dubbed ‘Scotland’s Savile’, will soon take his rightful place in the dock. And I hope that both Robert Green and Tim Rustige will be allowed to return to their homes in Cheshire, without the imposition of restrictions and without any further strategic delays.
Enc: Open letter to Kenny MacAskill, 3 May, 2014; Letter from 7 Westminster MPs calling for a national inquiry into organised child abuse
Dear Mr MacAskill,
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” is a much quoted saying attributed to Edmund Burke. However, at an address at the University of St. Andrews on 1st February 1847 it is known that John Stuart Mill said “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing”.
Since Hollie Greig reported repeated abuse by a paedophile ring to Grampian Police in May 2000, there have been four First Ministers of Scotland, namely Donald Dewar, Henry McCleish, Jack McConnell and Alex Salmond. Then we have two Chiefs of Grampian Police, Andrew G Brown and Colin McKerracher followed by the Chief of Police Scotland Sir Stephen House. Then Ministers for Justice Jim Wallace, Cathy Jamieson and yourself. Assuming you are all “good men”(and women), then why is there no full investigation into the case and the possibility of child abuse continuing in the Aberdeen area, and maybe further afield.
It is undoubtedly time for this situation to be reversed. The good men and women who are campaigning for a thorough investigation are certainly not standing by doing nothing and they look to those in positions of power to act accordingly. Credit must be given to the 117 MPs who have pledged their support for an over-arching enquiry into child abuse.
Noting that £60 million has just been spent by the taxpayer to restore Parliament House which houses Scotland’s Court of Session, the epicentre for Justice in Scotland, it begs the question why money is not spent on establishing a child abuse free Scotland. People surely come before buildings in importance.
The image of Scotland is tarnished at the present time and it needs people of courage to come forward, this I ask you to do.
CHILD ABUSE IN SCOTLAND
Dear Mr MacAskill,
As the referendum draws nearer, the above issue is drawing more attention from around the world as it continues to be avoided by the authorities whose job it is to investigate them. The stratospheric spending on luxuries only adds to a picture that suggests something is very amiss with the Scottish Government and begs the question as to the real motives for the drive for independence.
Instead, the authorities are using the law to silence people like Timothy Rustige and Robert Green who try to speak up about or even ask questions about the lack of investigation into the child abuse that undoubtedly exists on a wide scale. This suggests a desperation to keep the lid on a very large can of worms.
The more evidence there is of suppression of the truth, the more determined people become to find out what is really going on. Here in England, all the current enquiries have exposed endless historical cover-ups and then stalled. This has frustrated many people to the extent that there is a parliamentary campaign for an over-arching investigation into high level child abuse, now signed by at least 118 MPs, including several from Scotland.
How is it that spending on unnecessary luxuries is more important than the protection of children and the pursuit of justice for criminals and their victims?