PETER CHERBI JUDGES COVER UP

http://petercherbi.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/you-are-recused-anti-transparency-top.html

Monday, April 28, 2014

YOU ARE RECUSED: Anti-transparency top judge forced to publish conflict of interest recusal data as Scottish Parliament considers register of judicial interests proposals

Top judge comes clean on limited disclosures of judicial conflicts of interest. SCOTLAND’S top judge, the Lord President Lord Brian Gill has been forced to publish a limited amount of information on how judges recuse themselves from conflict of interests in cases being heard in Scottish Courts. However, the move to disclose recusal data has only came about after Lord Gill gave an undertaking on the issue to MSPs of the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee who are currently investigating proposals contained in Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland’s judiciary calling for judges to declare all their interests in a published available register of judicial interests.
The publication of the limited information on recusals by Lord Gill, who has twice refused invitations to appear before msps to give evidence and face questions on his opposition to the proposal to require all members of Scotland’s judiciary to disclose their interests, is seen as an attempt to stem increasing calls for a full register of judicial interests from the media, members of the public, campaigners and Scotland’s Judicial Complaints Reviewer who all believe the plan will increase transparency and accountability in Scotland’s judiciary.
The first ever published disclosures of albeit limited information on recusals by Scotland’s judiciary contains a brief, but important glimpse of the until now secret links between judges and others in the legal system.
24 March 2014 Livingston Sheriff Court Sheriff Edington. In a Civil action a recusal was recoded because a “Court report was prepared by spouse of a resident sheriff”
8 April 2014 Forfar Sheriff Court Sheriff Veal. In a Criminal case a recusal was recoded detailing the “Sheriff personally known to a witness”
10 April 2014 Selkirk Sheriff Court Sheriff Paterson. In a Civil case a recusal was recoded detailing “Sheriff had previously acted for a client in dispute against Pursuer”
23 April 2014 High Court Lady Wise. In a Criminal case a recusal was recorded detailing “Senator had previously acted for a relative of accused”
While the move to publish recusal information is welcome, there are thought to be a raft of on-going cases in the Court of Session in which recusals have not been made, where judges undeclared relationships with law firms, solicitors, and undisclosed investments including financial relationships with banks, big business and other institutions have apparently not resulted in recusals, due to the judiciary’s resistance to declare a full and true picture of their wealth, earnings and investments.
There is also an increasing suspicion that potentially hundreds of civil cases previously heard in Scotland’s courts may not have been heard fairly due to judges refusing to even consider recusing themselves or openly disclose any conflict of interest in cases they presided over. From investments in banks, to insurance firms, positions on boards, directorships, links to other public bodies, property holdings, directorships, earnings from law firms etc are but a few of the secret interests privately held by members of the judiciary which have never been declared ever in court.
And, in criminal cases, it has previously emerged that prosecutors who were promoted to judges and then proceeded to throw out appeals against people they had themselves convicted, have also refused to disclose any conflicts of interest during court hearings.
In one case reported by the media in which Mr William Beck was wrongfully convicted for a criminal offence, the now retired Lord Osborne who threw out Mr Beck’s appeal then claimed to a newspaper he had forgot he prosecuted the same man in the case years earlier. The report on this case, which has since been presented to the Petitions Committee by Mr Beck, was featured on Diary of Injustice here : Failure to Recuse : Evidence handed to MSPs in judicial register of interests proposal reveals judges who blocked injustice appeal failed to declare interests in court
This very unfair state of affairs in Scotland’s courts, where judges are writing their own rules on what they are required to disclose. and what they can keep secret, will continue until a full register of judicial interests requiring all members of Scotland’s judiciary to disclose their interests is created.
A YEAR TO RECUSE – Top judge branded register plan as ‘unworkable’, then offered disclosure on recusals after year of stalling MSPs on register of interests debate:
Short note from top judge gives little on transparency. Lord Gill made the offer to publish recusal data after a year of resisting calls from msps to hand over statistic on how judges dealt with conflicts of interest in court. Lord Gill’s letter to msps offering the small change said : “I  am  pleased  to say that  my officials have  devised  a means  by  which this  can be  achieved.
Court  Clerks  will inform  the Judicial Office  for  Scotland  when  a judge  or sheriff has  to recuse.  The reason  for  recusal  will be provided. The  fact of recusal and the reason  for  it  will appear  on the Judiciary of Scotland website.
I intend to commence the  collection of information from  1 April  2014 to  give  time for  the administrative  arrangements  to  be put in  place.  The  website  will be updated  as  notification of recusal is  received.”
The concession on recusals by Lord Gill is widely seen as having little value without a full register of interests to accompany it, and comes after the judge spent a year refusing to cooperate with msps looking for answers on the secret world of Scottish judges. Lord Gill also refused at least two invitations from the Petitions Committee to attend evidence sessions and face questions in public from the full Committee. At one point Gill even used loopholes in the Scotland Act to dodge parliamentary scrutiny with an implication judicial cooperation with Holyrood may be withdrawn over the issue.
While a welcome move, the offer by the Lord President does not tackle any of the core issue of calls for greater judicial transparency with the creation of a full register of interests for Scotland’s judiciary – a plan the top judge angrily branded ‘unworkable’, reported earlier here: Judicial Transparency is “not workable” claims Scotland’s top judge Brian Gill in private meeting with Holyrood msps on register of judicial interests petition
However, Scotland’s judiciary are well known as a group of select, predominantly white, extremely wealthy influential lawyers who have an unelected and almost unchallengeable power to stall or close debate on their own secret vested interests, change any of our lives at the stroke of a pen, or strike down legislation desired by the greater community and voted through by democratically elected politicians in our own Scottish Parliament.
Clearly any group in society which have such almost limitless power, must above all, be as transparent as other branches of government and society to which it applies its rulings. However, as Scots have discovered during a full year of debate at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee, if anything, the judges are even more secret than the secret service itself when it comes to the thorny question of judges pecuniary and other interests.
Their personal, undeclared wealth including extensive family and business links throughout the legal profession, offshore ‘tax efficient’ trusts, ownership of numerous and high value properties through a variety of interesting arrangements, investments, directorships and shareholdings, collectively generate millions of pounds in earnings for the judges and their families each year, yet none of it is declared because the judges write their own rules exempting themselves from transparency and any accountability over how their interests collide with their duties in court.
Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland’s judiciary is due to be heard against at the Scottish Parliament on 6 May 2014, and previous articles on the lack of transparency within Scotland’s judiciary, investigations by Diary of Injustice including reports from the Sunday Mail & Sunday Herald newspapers, and video footage of debates at the Scottish Parliament on the register of judicial interests can be found here : A Register of Interests for Scotland’s Judiciary

19 comments:

Anonymous said…

Ha so you were right all along – the judges are all linked to each other fingers in pockets and pies everywhere no wonder there is no fairness in Scottish courts.

Anonymous said…

24 March 2014 Livingston Sheriff Court Sheriff Edington. In a Civil action a recusal was recoded because a “Court report was prepared by spouse of a resident sheriff”

8 April 2014 Forfar Sheriff Court Sheriff Veal. In a Criminal case a recusal was recoded detailing the “Sheriff personally known to a witness”

10 April 2014 Selkirk Sheriff Court Sheriff Paterson. In a Civil case a recusal was recoded detailing “Sheriff had previously acted for a client in dispute against Pursuer”

23 April 2014 High Court Lady Wise. In a Criminal case a recusal was recorded detailing “Senator had previously acted for a relative of accused”

LOL only 4 Lord Gill ?? I think you are pulling our leg a bit!

Get on with it and declare all your interests.

Anonymous said…

A lot of these sheriffs seem to be personally known to people they acted for in the past how is it possible to get any kind of fair hearing in front of this mob?

You have really done Scotland a big service with this petition of yours!

Anonymous said…

These msps must be thinking they are not getting the whole truth from the judge because that’s the way it looks to me.I mean come on a year to come to this recusal thing after all those other threatening letters and refusing to show up at the parliament?

Beggars belief really this guy is not really a top judge when he goes around treating public debate like he has.

Anonymous said…

The six in red robes what do we know about them? It is time for transparency, long overdue in fact and even with transparency I would not trust them.

Anonymous said…

“I am pleased to say that my officials have devised a means by which this can be achieved.”

This is a remarkable turn around because he previously obfuscated that this information would be impossible to retrieve?

In other words, he didn’t bother his arse to find out or try to put this in place. His first reaction was to say NO NO you cannot get this information?

It is simply impossible for a Judicial System to be fit for purpose if it does not monitor, control and enforce that recusals are being made appropriately?

It is simply barmy for No No to say that everything to do with Scotland’s Judiciary is ‘olrite guvna’ ‘nothing to see hear, move along now’, if he has not even thought about recording whether recusals are being declared properly?

The truth is that he knows very well that recusals are not declared where Judges have an axe to grind or vested interests to protect?

The slippery-slope has just had another full bottle of Fairy washing up liquid squirted on it……..better to own up now and face the music or else it may end up with a few noses being pushed up against the wall and arms being forced up their backs?

Anonymous said…

It’s the record of all of the recusals that have NOT been made that is the real concern?

Anonymous said…

Short note from top judge gives little on transparency. Lord Gill made the offer to publish recusal data after a year of resisting calls from msps to hand over statistic on how judges dealt with conflicts of interest in court. Lord Gill’s letter to msps offering the small change said : “I am pleased to say that my officials have devised a means by which this can be achieved.

Court Clerks will inform the Judicial Office for Scotland when a judge or sheriff has to recuse. The reason for recusal will be provided. The fact of recusal and the reason for it will appear on the Judiciary of Scotland website.
==================================
Who polices this, probably those with the stranglehold views like lawyers, Judges etc. Why don’t I trust Mr Gill.

Anonymous said…

After reading through your posts on the judges register I believe your petition has blown wide open the biggest legal scandal ever to hit Scotland and the judge knows this and this is why he is delaying at every turn and refusing to talk in public at the Parliament.
They will never recover their credibility now.

Anonymous said…

and out of all the cases in the courts every month this judge expects us to believe in only four cases the judges recused.

Gill must think everyone outside his wee office is stupid.Too bad for Lord Gill we have been getting an education from you and the papers about these judges!

Anonymous said…

Crown Office announces they took £8million from criminals last year (I wonder what the real figures are after they get their cut and bonus for doing it)

So how much was seized from corrupt and criminals in the legal profession? NIL

How much was seized from the criminal judges with criminal records sitting there in the court and not telling everyone they are criminals themselves? NIL

How much seized from the corrupt judges who are sitting there with shares in crooked banks bailed out by taxpayers and then ruling for the bank and not telling anyone about their shares? NIL

Oh yes Crown Office forgets there are just as many crooks in the legal profession and in the judges and not a penny seized from them.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-27193538

£8m in cash and assets seized from Scottish criminals

Assets worth £8m have been seized from criminals over the past year.

Proceeds of crime actions and civil measures have seen the cash recovered from criminals who profited from drug dealing, human trafficking and fraud.

The total figure is down from £12m the previous year.

However prosecutors hailed a “marked increase” in the use of civil recovery methods, and also focus on new crimes including animal cruelty and environmental offences.

In total, assets worth £3.6m were recovered through the courts in the year running from 2013 to 2014, while a further £4.4m was recovered using civil methods.

Solicitor General Lesley Thomson QC said the Proceeds of Crime Act (Poca) had caused “serious disruption” to criminals operating in Scotland.

She said: “Those who attempt to build up criminal business are finding that we can wreck their ventures by ending their funding streams and their hopes of living off the profits of their crimes.

blah blah blah we get this kind of story from the Crown Office every so often as a headline grabber but we know who is taking most of the money for themselves and all these judges are stashed out with shares jobs and houses and not even a whisper from Crown Office!

Anonymous said…

Why are HMRC not investigating the affairs of Scottish Judges and Sheriffs?

Diary of Injustice said…

it is notable from the four recusals published that no mention has been made of financial interests or other investments which Lord Gill is adamant will not be declared.

Only when a full register of interests exists and rules requiring full disclosure of judges interests will a more accurate picture emerge of the scale of the judiciary’s interests, their undeclared wealth, and links to professions & big business who regularly appear in front of them without so much as a hint of a conflict of interest.

People who have already had cases go through Scotland’s courts and may now suspect they have not had a fair hearing due to undeclared interests and no recusals by the judiciary should now be examining their position and if necessary go public with their concerns …

Diary of Injustice said…

@ 28 April 2014 23:51

This appears to be why the Lord President has so far failed to produce any statistics of historical recusals and requests for recusals in answer to several enquiries from the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee …

Anonymous said…

Interesting about these crooks houses in Spain frozen by the crown office.

I wonder what the odds are some judge or their family or some QC and their partner end up with one as part of a bung.

Anonymous said…

This figure of 4 recusals is a joke.Just look at the reasons for rescusals.Did they think those ones up to avoid the rest of the judges having to declare what they own and earn etc

Very poor from Gill and as someone else already said he must think we are all stupid to swallow 4 cases in a month recused from all the cases heard in Scotland every month.

Anonymous said…

Gill’s letter to the msps about the recusal information is a laugh.It reads like some schoolboy being slapped on the head by a teacher and having to do lines to make up for it.

Anyone else feel we are being served a stuffed pup by this “top judge”?

PS you will have to stop calling Gill a “top judge” because we dont expect our top judges to refuse to show up at Parliament like everyone else especially when they are getting paid 1/4 a million every year to sit there dressed up as some 18th Century tailors dummy.

Anonymous said…

So if I have this correct – Lord Gill Scotland’s top judge refuses to hand over the recusal data for a year and then suddenly claims he has this brilliant idea to publish recusals..

This is just abuse of parliament nothing less.

Think of it this way – Do you think Lord Gill will allow someone to dodge his questions in his court and then take a year to come out with some half answer that doesn’t even answer the original question?

I don’t think so.

Diary of Injustice said…

@ 29 April 2014 12:50

Spain is a bit obvious … If you want to find the houses that embezzled client funds and Scottish Legal Aid money built (and renovated) .. try looking in the South of France …

@ 29 April 2014 17:16

Fair comment … although it is now up to the Lord President to provide the Scottish Parliament and public with the historical data on recusals, or, if the data does not exist, account for why the data has not been retained .. particularly if it becomes the case such statistics suddenly do not exist just because they are now being asked for by the Scottish Parliament and the public …

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