Posted on May 21, 2014
While we wait, here are some jottings from my chats with Robert over the past few days, starting with a repeat of the immediate instructions to press the Scottish Legal Aid Board to fund Senior and well as Junior Counsel for his trial on Friday 30th May at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.
He deserves this a) under the general legal principle of equality of arms b) because the charge at issue relates back to his previous trial at Stonehaven in 2012 when he was represented by both Junior and Senior Counsel.
1) Pressure on SLAB: Repeat of yesterday’s & Monday’s posts, it is useless emailing Kingsley Thomas at SLAB as he is on annual leave till 2nd June and no one else in the office has access to his computer. The person to email/call is Alison Craig (Team Leader, Criminal Applications); her direct number is 0131 240 1887 and her email address is email@example.com or postal address SLAB, 44 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh EH3 7SW. So please re-direct any emails already sent to Mr Thomas to Alison.
2) SLAB should pay: Robert is aware of suggestions that we have a whip-round to try to fund the needed QC ourselves in the event that SLAB remains intransigent but he is most insistent that SLAB should provide for this, not us – after all, look at the millions already spent on protecting people like Denis Mackie, Sylvia Major, Angiolini etc. in this case! The state owes it to him to play fair and enable him to have a fair trial/hearing according to Article 6 of the Human Rights Act.
If he doesn’t get the required level of Counsel then again he is most insistent that he will defend himself, so that really is that. So keep up the pressure on SLAB, there really is no alternative.
3) Robert’s new bail conditions: If Robert is allowed out prior to the hearing on 30th the new bail conditions are about as draconian as can be devised, Mr Sweeney having pulled all stops last Friday to persuade the Sheriff which did indeed work! but now Robert will have to abide by those, so, much as he would like to chat freely with everyone by phone or email this won’t be possible, he says his phone is very likely to be bugged and he won’t be able to go online at all for the next 9 days. Of course people can still write to him if you feel moved to but he will be in a much happier situation and less needy, so he says and I agree, write to poor Rusty instead – after a rumpus at the Peterhead jail Rusty’s been moved to HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow which is a terrible dump so we need to keep his morale up now.
MODEL LETTER TO SCOTTISH LEGAL AID BOARD
Our ‘staff writer’ has copied me in on the letter he has sent to SLAB 3 times (no answer yet) which others might find useful as a guide to the points needing to be made:
Why the Scottish Legal Aid Board should Give Full support to Robert Green’s Defence
A governing principle in law is the concept of equality of arms, simply put, it is in the interest of justice that the quality of representation available to both sides in a trial or court action should be equivalent. Were the situation to be otherwise, then the law would always favour the rich and powerful over the weak and vulnerable. The most extreme version of this is criminal prosecution where the prosecuting authorities bring the full might of the modern nation state, with all of its compulsory tax raising powers and institutional complexity, against a single man or woman. This principle must apply all the more so when that single man is charged solely due to his opposition to the failures of that very state machine. What could possibly be more intrinsically unfair?
To address such imbalance, Robert Green must have every possible support afforded him via the legal aid system. At present such wholehearted support is being denied. This is to the great discredit of the Scottish Legal Aid Board and is an error that must be corrected forthwith.
In Roberts case, we have another entirely separate reason for the SLAB to act: They are currently refusing to grant resources to engage senior counsel. This seems an unsupportable restriction on Robert’s defence since:
- The case arose from the original breach of the peace trial
- Mr Green was granted legal aid for both senior and junior counsel at that trial
Given these facts, it is surely a matter of simple logic to conclude that, if the original case was worthy of senior and junior counsel, and the current proceedings arose from the original case, then these matters too must be worthy of senior and junior counsel. Why then is this being denied?
Thus in the cause of justice, in the interest of protecting the individual against the might of the state and as a matter of simple logic, full Legal Aid must be granted to Robert Green; and granted immediately so as not to hamstring his defence by starving it of resources until the last moment.
LETTER FROM ROBERT 19/5/14
I’m sure all of us treasure the wonderful letters we have received from Robert in prison – here’s my latest such gem received this morning:
I am currently reading about the horrific Marc Dutroux case in Belgium and the comparisons between the Belgian authorities and their Scottish equivalents over Hollie’s case are alarmingly similar and almost as chilling.
It is hard to credit a political system with the slightest perception of civilisation when it consistently refuses to bring the perpetrators of such horrors to justice, particularly when some are known to the authorities, as demonstrated by the contents of the police intelligent report.
I do not know if or when I shall be freed, but thank you for everything. Please tell Hollie from me that any honour I receive or am nominated for will be first and foremost, dedicated to her!
Very best wishes