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Open Letters to Kenny MacAskill, Justice Secretary, 28th July

Thanks to Lorna, Juliet, Gillian (apologies, added after this was first posted) and David for these latest letters. At this stage surely it would be appropriate as well as courteous for the Justice Secretary at least to send an acknowledgement of all these serious letters, given that the issue of child-abuse and cover-ups thereof is currently of such widespread concern up and down the country. Could he not delegate the task to an assistant, at the very least?
Dear Mr MacAskill, 
May I say how disappointed I am not to have received a reply to either of my letters to you, dated 28th May and 28th June 2014. 
There is no doubt that the subject of child abuse is currently extremely prominent in the media. Over 100,000 have signed a petition for an over-arching enquiry into historical child abuse, and 145 MPs have pledged their support. In Scotland when Graeme Pearson MSP proposed a motion “Justice for Survivors of Historic Institutional Child Abuse” on  27th March 2014, he had the support of 37 MSPs.  Yet more historical child abuse cases are reported daily unfortunately, so this problem is not diminishing with the passage of time. 
How, therefore, does this equate with the treatment of Robert Green, now to abide by his bail conditions of reporting daily to his local police station and prevented from accessing the internet, until his trial on 21st January 2015? If this is allowed to take place, Mr Green will not have had the use of his computer since his arrest on 13th February 2014, making a total of 49 weeks. Given the charges against him are still not clear, this is clearly completely draconian. In truth, it is preposterous. 
Meanwhile, in Manchester, it has recently been reported that a Judge, Recorder Philip Cattan, allegedly fell asleep during a child sex abuse trial. In contrast, Robert Green, also from the Manchester area, is completely awake to the threat of paedophilia within our society. We should be grateful  to him for his persistent efforts, given the epidemic of child abuse, both current and historic. 
It is also extraordinary that Sheriff Elizabeth Munro made the comment at Dundee Sheriff Court trial of a man who had 2,736 images and 39 videos of child abuse stored on his computer “ A custodial sentence is a distinct possibility”. Will the accused be spared a jail sentence and given community service as was Liam Gibson, of Biggar, in 2012? 
It is frankly quite unacceptable to excuse child abuse in any form.
To the public it is obvious that Robert Green should not be subject to any further restrictions and all charges removed immediately. The emphasis should be on acquiring true justice for the victims, past and present, and exposing all paedophiles so that they can be named and shamed, regardless of their position in society. The true criminals are those that are actively involved in paedophilia, and those that cover up for them; both are guilty of crimes against humanity in my opinion.
It would be a real step forward if Scotland were to lead the way in anti-child abuse measures, and would have a positive effect in the Referendum vote this September. Justice is not being seen to be done and this fact is becoming glaringly obvious to all. 
Yours sincerely, 
Lorna Fulford
Dear Mr MacAskill, 
One looks forward to the day when public servants such as yourself, remember what they are elected for, who pays them, and what their jobs entail.  Your job, quite simply, is to oversee the judiciary and endeavour to make sure they are doing their duty to the best of their ability.
So, where were you when the details of horrific child abuse began to emerge a few years ago and people like Robert Green asked for evidence to be examined?  Where were you when perpetrators were named but never investigated?  Where were you when Robert Green was arrested and actually imprisoned for daring to ask that investigations take place?  Where were you when the law was clearly being flouted and used for personal cover?  Where were you when millions of pounds of taxpayers money was and continues to be used to gag those seeking truth and justice.  One could be forgiven for thinking that justice and child protection are the last things on your mind.  It seems that even the courtesy of a reply to the many letters you have received is far too much to ask for. 
The list of anomalies in the legal processes goes on and on and current ‘reforms’ do nothing to encourage public confidence in the Scottish legal system. They appear to be little more than ‘jobs for the boys’ rather than for any benefit to the public.  The common view of public servants as parasites seems only too well justified.
Yours sincerely,
Juliet Francis
6 Styan Avenue, WHITLEY BAY, Tyne & Wear, NE26  2BD
Telephone:  (0191) 252 5524  
Dear Mr MacAskill,
Further to my letters dated 10 April 2014, 3 May 2014, and 22 June 2014: a full three months have now passed since your extraordinary public outburst in Perth, and still no apology has been received by Nobel Peace Prize nominee Robert Green for your apparent anticipation of a guilty verdict at his trial. 
This questionable behaviour on your part enhances the significance of the many other questionable occurrences encountered by Mr Green in his fight to secure justice for abuse victim Hollie Greig  –  the most recent being the Lord President’s decision to over-rule the Final Determination of the Judicial Complaints Reviewer, who had concluded that rules had been breached in no fewer than 15 instances in the handling of his case. 
Both the failure to investigate the long-term gang-rape of a Downs syndrome child and the apparent use of the justice system as a tool to silence legitimate complaints must be abhorrent to any Justice Secretary worth his salt. 
The prosecution and persecution of Mr Green in ‘Scotland’s most expensive ever breach of the peace case’ (Scottish Law Reporter, 17 March, 2014, see enclosure) has now cost the Scottish taxpayer some £2 million.  It is the result of the original refusal by the police, backed by the Crown Prosecution Service, to interrogate all but two of Hollie’s alleged abusers or to acknowledge the powerful expert and forensic evidence which backed her accusations.  The fact that two of the named abusers, Hollie’s father and brother, were allowed to abscond to Portugal after light routine questioning, when they were known to have a ‘predilection towards very young girls’ (see police report enclosed) is inexplicable.  Did Dennis  –  hardly a VIP needing protection  –  have some kind of hold over the Aberdeen establishment, perhaps acting as a supplier of young flesh to the alleged paedophile ring ?  When the waters are muddied by a failure to adhere to strict legal procedures, this kind of inference must arise  –  particularly in the light of recent revelations south of the border. 
Suspicions that the truth is being suppressed and the course of justice perverted will persist until a full investigation into the Hollie Greig case and all its ramifications takes place. 
Yours sincerely, 
Gillian Swanson  MA Oxon
[written & sent to Mr MacAskill 14th July for publication 28th July if unanswered]

Dear Mr McAskill.

Twice in the last two months I have written open letters to you concerning your stewardship of the Scottish justice system. I have had no reply. Upon further consideration of the case of Robert Green, I find I must bring additional facts to your attention. These do not concern the ongoing case against Mr Green, but rather the situation arising at his previous trial and conviction for breach of the peace.
The background briefly is that Mr Green was campaigning for the child sexual abuse victim Hollie Greig. He was standing for parliament to publicise the case, seeking election in the Aberdeen South constituency. He was arrested almost as soon as he reached Aberdeen.
The facts I refer to were recorded by Robert Green on his blog of 11thSeptember 2013 as follows:
“As readers may know from previous posts, Bowen made an extraordinary outburst at my sentencing hearing on 17th February 2012 that no one present could have anticipated. After I had publicly challenged him about his concealed ten-year relationship with cited defence witness Elish Angiolini, he said something like this during his sentencing statement. ” How dare you, an Englishman, come to Scotland to tell us what to do? We know how to run the justice system here in Scotland.” This was spoken in a crowded open court and was being recorded by audio. When I received a printed copy from the Crown Office a few weeks later of the speech, the two sentences above had been omitted. I asked the Court about this inaccuracy and why these remarks were missing. Having received no plausible explanation , I asked Elaine McLeod, the Sheriff Clerk at Stonehaven Court for a copy of the audio. This was denied to me. I thus proceeded to make a formal complaint to the Judicial Office of Scotland. Eventually, Lord Eassie ordered an investigation, appointing Lady Smith to conduct it. Lady Smith ordered that the audio be produced. A written transcript, said to be taken directly from the audio, was sent to me prior to my being interviewed by Lady Smith on 3rd July 2013. The copy not only differed significantly from the original document, but also omitted the two key sentences. It was now clear that a serious criminal offence had occurred, the falsification and tampering with of official Court records. I made this perfectly clear to her Ladyship during the course of the interview”
I have made independent enquiries with several persons present in court on 17th of February 2012; all have confirmed the accuracy of Mr Green’s account. I have no reasonable doubt therefore that the outburst occurred and that the court records were subsequently altered. I am in the process of obtaining sworn affidavits from several individuals present to this effect.
As you will note from Mr Green’s Blog, he took the action to be a criminal offence of falsifying court documents. My view, as I will shortly explain, is that this may also represent a more serious transgression.
Whatever the legal ramifications, the mere fact of erroneous court records is a matter of concern. It is after all reminiscent of the notorious1933 Soviet show-trial of six British and Commonwealth engineers employed by Metropolitan Vickers to build electricity generation plant in Russia. These engineers were unconvincingly accused of “wrecking” by the Stalinist government, no doubt for internal political reasons. At sentencing, the communist judge said to one of the defendants (Mr Thornton) that “Your only use would be to manure the soil of our soviet fields”, a statement recorded by two of the accused in their memoirs but entirely missing from the official court transcripts. The parallels to Robert Green’s experience are embarrassingly obvious.
Of course, it is not to Russia or any other foreign jurisdiction that we must look to judge the implications of these actions, but to our own laws, customs and legal history. Back in the 1980’s a Sheriff whilst relaxing at Ayr curling club pronounced that the coal miners, then on strike, would not receive legal aid if they came into his court on breach of the peace charges. Some of the people concerned later appealed his decision, on quite different grounds, to refuse legal aid. The matter went to the Court of Session. The Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Ross, concluded that the Sheriff had not brought his prejudice into the court and that his decisions had been correct in law but that this was not enough, there must not be even the appearance of bias.
Lord Ross said “There is nothing to suggest that at the trials the Sheriff acted unfairly. What the Sheriff failed to note was that the interests of justice required not merely that he should not display bias but that the circumstances should not be such as to create in the mind of a reasonable man the suspicion of the Sheriffs partiality.” Lord Ross found for one of those appealing.
Quite clearly the statements by Sheriff Principle Bowen failed to live up to the standard required by Scots Law and defined in the statement by Lord Ross. The logical implication is therefore that the court records were altered not for public relations reasons but to avoid Mr Green having grounds for appeal; an appeal Mr Green could well have won given the previous stand made by the Court of Session on this subject. It is clear that, in Scots law, as in Natural Law, Mr Green’s nationality should have no influence upon the considerations of the sheriff. The fact that it clearly did so calls the fairness of the entire proceedings into question.
In light of this, any reasonable man must conclude that the alteration of court documents to prevent appeal to the Court of Session may constitute an attempt to pervert the course of justice. As such it demands urgent and diligent investigation, without fear or favour. As a lawyer you will be aware that this situation is contrary to natural justice, one of the principles of which is that Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. I therefore request that you examine this issue and take action to resolve the matter.
I will initially copy this correspondence to Lord President Gill and to the First Minister but will not publish it further for a period of fourteen days. If by 28th July  I have received assurances that this matter will be properly and promptly investigated, I will leave the matter in the hands of the authorities. If not, this letter shall become an open letter and may be published more widely.
I await your reply with keen interest; this situation has gone on too long. Action, not words are needed to demonstrate our ancient system of law retains the integrity necessary to achieve just outcomes, to correct errors, and to maintain the confidence of the nation.
David Scott BEng, AMICE, CEng, MIStructE, MIES
Halton House
11 Tullylumb Terrace
Perth PH1 1BA
Tel: 01738 563231
mob: 07885 287672
email: david@alexanderscott.co.uk

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