What's the difference between the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)?
There is no difference.
They are both the Crown office.
They just use different names north and south of the border to reflect English law and Scots law - they are ancient and historical names for the same thing.
In England we call them the Crown Prosecution Service and in Scotland we call them the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service but they both do exactly the same job, working for us, the British public, prosecuting baddies in all our courts up and down the UK.
And therein hangs a bit of a tale.
In January, a report for the Crown office south of the border (the CPS) concluded that Lord Janner should have been prosecuted three times in the 1990's and 2000's for sexual offences. The police investigation had begun in 2013 and had gathered evidence from 32 witnesses supporting the claims.
Pretty damning stuff and good to know that the CPS in England have admitted the man should have been prosecuted and that they got it wrong.
Just a pity the Crown office in Scotland are not so honest about how things were conducted from their end though.
Because according to the Crown office north of the border (the COPFS) there was 'insufficient evidence' to prosecute Lord Janner.
In other words, the COPFS here in Scotland are claiming they didn't get anything wrong at all. There was simply 'insufficient evidence' to prosecute so that's why Lord Janner was never prosecuted. Yip, no mistakes on their part, no sir-ee.
Now I'll leave you to your own thoughts as to why this very high profile individual, a Lord, a peer of the Realm, was viewed as being a prime candidate for prosecution by some in the Crown office while others in the Crown office appear to think he was a fine upstanding individual who should not face trial.
I have my thoughts on this and I'm sure you have yours.
But what I want to focus on is how the individuals in the Crown office who let him off the hook for prosecution were able to do so and justify it, especially when their colleagues in another part of the Crown office were clearly disagreeing and saying something different?
What excuse did they use NOT to prosecute him?
The answer is a wee phrase that I write about so much in this blog. A wee phrase that allows the corrupt Crown office to prosecute when it suits them, and not to prosecute when it suits them.
I'm talking about the wee phrase 'insufficient evidence'.
Ahhh, don't ya just love the term 'insufficient evidence'?
The Crown office in Scotland expect the public to blindly believe that when they say 'insufficient evidence' it means just that - that there is not enough evidence to prosecute someone, heaven forbid we should convict an innocent person and throw them in jail. And we can't have that now can we?
So on the face of it, the phrase insufficient evidence makes sense, it even sounds quite good.
But there's a catch.
You see prosecuting someone and convicting someone are two very different things.
The Crown office only prosecute cases (ie bring the case before the court).
They cannot decide guilt, nor can they convict a person - only a court can do that.
The Crown's job is solely to conduct the prosecution case. They can only present the evidence before the court and it is the court who ultimately will decide if someone has done something wrong and should be convicted.
So why is this distinction so important?
Well, it's important because the Crown office corruptly exploit this distinction and this loophole for their own benefit.
The only way a person can be brought before a court of law is if the Crown office say so.
No one else gets a say in the matter.
The Crown office are effectively the guards to the gates of the court room. No one gets anywhere near a court, no one gets to talk to a judge, whether it be to prove their innocence, defend themselves, whistleblow, or face a charge, a trial or a prosecution unless the Crown office allows them through the door.
So it's not hard to see that if the Crown office want to, say, protect someone from being prosecuted, they can do it no problem.
They simply refuse to take the case to court (ie they refuse to prosecute that person).
The result is that person never sees the inside of a court of law.
And the Crown office do this more often than you may think.
In fact the corrupt Crown office refuse to prosecute hundreds of cases in Scotland every day.
That's right, not just one or two cases every day - they refuse to prosecute hundreds of cases every day.
Of course they need to justify their lack of action in these cases. The Crown office can't just stand up and say "we're not going to prosecute Jane and John Doe because they are good friends of ours...".
The public would be up in arms against the Crown office if they tried to do that.
So instead they need an excuse not to prosecute cases.
And that's where the phrase 'insufficient evidence' comes in to play.
What the Crown office say is: "we'd love to prosecute Jane and John Doe but, well, unfortunately there's 'insufficient evidence' to prosecute".
It's a very simple wee phrase 'insufficient evidence', but it's implications are enormous.
It means the criminal who is a friend of the corrupt Crown never gets prosecuted and it means anyone who the Crown office fear may blow the whistle on corruption in the Crown office, the police, the Government, or anyone that the Crown office is friendly with, never gets anywhere near a court to do it.
And there's absolutely NOTHING you and I can do about it. Because the Crown, alone, get to decide what is 'sufficient evidence' and what is 'insufficient evidence'.
Anyone with a brain in their head knows that the Crown office use this loophole every day to prosecute who they want and, just as importantly, block prosecutions against people they don't want to prosecute - ie family, colleagues, their friends in the establishment, and other criminals they want to protect.
Anyone with a brain in their head also knows that the corrupt Crown should NOT be the sole gatekeepers to our courts and should NOT be allowed to block anyone from facing court action based on their 'opinion' of what 'insufficient evidence' is.
Only a court can decide on someones guilt and convict them and they should be allowed to do it no matter what the Crowns 'opinion' may be.
By refusing to even let someone get as far as setting foot in a court room, the Crown office are effectively acting as judge and jury.
And that's not right. Not right at all.
In fact it's a disgrace to all things just and fair. This practice has no place in a decent democratic society.
The public already know that the Crown office are corrupt to the core (see http://www.bentfiscals.co.uk) . And as long as we allow the Crown office to keep spluttering out that well-worn old phrase 'insufficient evidence' to prevent a court even getting to see the evidence, they will continue to protect their guilty friends and colleagues.
An independent body, completely unattached to the COPFS and any other legal entity, should be set up to investigate every case the Crown refuses to prosecute and should have the power to over-rule the Crowns decision not to prosecute.
Of course I do realise that if we, the public, could compel the Crown to prosecute a case they didn't want to prosecute they'd probably just sabotage their own case to let the person off with it like they did in the Andy Coulson perjury trial. But at least it would be a start.
Some time ago I recorded a video of three lying Police Scotland officers. In the video they CLEARLY said one thing. The three officers then signed statements which they gave to the procurator fiscal in which they CLEARLY said a completely different thing.
So the video CLEARLY shows and proves unequivocally that the three police officers lied on statements to the procurator fiscal.
It's what you would call 'an open and shut case'.
Any court seeing this evidence would clearly see that the three police officers lied.
Yet the case has never ever come before a court or a judge.
A court has never, ever, seen the video or read the statements.
And that's because procurator fiscals in the corrupt Crown office watched the video and read the statements and then concluded that, yip, you've guessed, there was 'insufficient evidence' to prosecute their friends and colleagues, the three lying police officers, who the Crown work with closely and rely on to help them win cases.
Oh what a surprise.
Who'd have thunk it eh?!