Thursday 31 March 2016

Time To Open The Floodgates

Police Scotland have been criticised because they dropped an investigation in to a young woman who was photographed on the top deck of a bus smoking crack in broad daylight.

The young woman, Lisa McGhee has pretty much admitted to it all on social media but still police have taken no action.

There is a bit more to this story than meets the eye and, you may be surprised to know, in some ways I actually even have a little bit of sympathy with police here.

Lisa McGhee has a drug problem - she's admitted that. From what we gather from the reports, she was doing well trying to get off crack until there were problems with her prescription. Without knowing all the details, it seems she couldn't get access to medication she needed here in Scotland because her prescription was from England.

Whatever the full circumstances, it looks like this wasn't just some wee ned on a bus, lighting up, and thumbing her antisocial nose at everyone and anyone. Rather, it looks like it may have been a young woman, ravaged by addiction, in a pretty hopeless and difficult situation, who was seriously in need of help. And perhaps a bit of red tape in our society let her down a bit. I don't know.

What I do know is that Police Scotland had a choice whether to arrest her or not and they decided not to.

Police Scotland were probably correct in this particular case because it's beginning to look like there may have been unique circumstances here - especially if her actions were down to desperation rather than any mal intent (and especially if the publicity around this event has perhaps prompted her in to seeking genuine help for her problem). Let's face it, there seems to be more drugs inside our prisons these days than there are outside them so Ms McGhee might have a better chance of recovery outside than inside. I don't know.

What I do know though - and it's the problem I have with Police Scotland and the Crown office - is that they have sole discretion when it comes to deciding who to arrest and prosecute and who not to arrest and prosecute. They may have got it right on this occasion but they don't always. And that's a problem.

Yes, of course, I do understand that there are many circumstances which are not clear-cut and Police Scotland and the Crown office need to make a decision on whether to prosecute or not.

This is not ideal though and it's not good that they get to decide alone who faces a court and who doesn't.

Many police and Crown office decision makers are actually corrupt themselves so they should not be allowed to take these decisions themselves.

I do realise that someone has to take the decision to prosecute or not. I get it, believe me I do.

What I do NOT get and I will never ever accept is that the decision of police to arrest or not and the decision of the Crown office to prosecute or not should rest SOLELY with them. It should NOT be entirely their decision. They are not trustworthy enough to take these decisions alone.

Three police officers acted corruptly in a case I was involved in (and in front of witnesses). I even have a VIDEO of them doing it!

But their colleagues in the police refused to arrest them.

And their friends in the Crown office refused to prosecute them.

So they got away with it.

They never saw the inside of a court.

A judge or Sheriff was never allowed to hear the evidence or see the video (if he had done, those three police officers would be sitting in a jail cell right now).

That's why a separate organisation should be set up to investigate when a member of the public complains that police have refused to arrest or the Crown office have refused to prosecute. 

It should be an independent 'group' made up of ordinary random members of the public who are not connected to the police or the Crown office in any way. 

They would look at complaints from the public about cases the Crown have refused to allow to go to court and decide if they should indeed be pursued. 

The group would not decide innocence or guilt in any way - the courts alone are the only ones who decide innocence or guilt. The group would just simply decide whether a case, which the Crown office have refused to pursue, should be pursued and heard in court of law or not, that's all.

This way, if a member of the public is unhappy that the police have failed to arrest when he feels they should have, or the Crown office have failed to prosecute when he feels they should have, he can take his case to a group of his peers, made up of random ordinary members of the public who would have the power to reverse the police and Crowns decisions and force them to arrest and prosecute where appropriate.

There's no good saying we already have that with bodies like the ombudsman, the PIRC, the SPA etc etc - we don't.

We have Sheriffs, and jury's, and trials. But you cannot do anything to get a baddie anywhere near a Sheriff unless you can get them through the doors of the court first - and the corrupt Crown office guard the doors to the court room.

No one sees the inside of a dock unless the Crown office say so first. It's not right.

Every member of the public I have shown my video to and the police statements to, are absolutely convinced that the three officers involved in my case acted corruptly. Everyone. So I know that a group of members of the public looking at the same thing would overturn the Crowns decision not to prosecute the three police officers. I'm sure of that.

I'm sure that the same group, looking at the bin lorry tragedy, would overturn the decision by the Crown not to prosecute the bin lorry driver too.

I'll remind you again that just because I'm saying police and Crown office decisions not to prosecute can be overturned using my suggested system, this doesn't mean that those who face prosecution will necessarily be found guilty - that'll be entirely up to the court, not the group who agreed to send them there.

All I'm suggesting here is that we put a stop to the Crown office being the sole guard to the door of the court room and the sole decision maker as to who gets access to justice and who doesn't.

The current system cannot continue the way it is at this moment.

Police and the Crown office are acting as judge and jury and abusing their powers every day by blocking their friends and connections from facing justice.

And that's just plain wrong.