Sunday 25 August 2019

Why The Fatal Accident Inquiry System Is So Slow

Politician Willie Rennie has called for an overhaul of Fatal Accident Inquiries which he has labeled "bureaucratic and slow".

He's right.

Just ask anyone who has lost a loved one in an accident which resulted in a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) and they'll all tell you similar horror stories of poor communication, screw ups and unnecessary delays in the investigations.

Whether it be the M9 crash, the Clutha helicopter crash or the Lockerbie bombing, the wheels of justice don't only move slowly - they hardly move at all.

And this is no co-incidence.

They do it on purpose.

For years this website has constantly accused the corrupt Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service and their buddies at untrustworthy Police Scotland of purposely slow-walking Fatal Accident Enquires. In some cases they even point blank refuse to even hold FAI's at all, even when it's obvious to everyone that an enquiry is urgently required.

The story is usually the same. If the accident in question involves any person who is in a position of authority or works for an organisation in a position of authority (i.e. police, crown office, council, government etc) then the FAI purposely drags it's heels for years, and years, and years, and years.

And the reason they do this is simple.

It's done to prevent any of their cronies who were involved in the accident being held to account. 

The longer they can make the FAI last, the more chance there is that their guilty cronies will have either moved on to another job, moved to another country, retired, or even better, died by the time the enquiry is complete.

You see folks, they purposely drag the whole thing out so that they can claim in their final report that due to the passage of time memories have faded, evidence has been tainted, witnesses are no longer available etc so there is now no reasonable possibility of a successful prosecution against anyone.

They then close the case and everyone toddles off home quite happy. Well, not quite everyone...there's still the the poor relatives of the victims who were strung along for years on false promises, who were never given answers, who never got closure, and who never saw justice served.

Even on those rare occasions where the evidence is so compelling and overwhelming that the corrupt crown office and their lackies in untrustworthy Police Scotland have no choice but to prosecute their cronies (even though they still bend over backwards to find reasons not to), when it comes to the actual court case the perpetrators often catch a severe bout of 'Scicilian Flu'*.

*Note - For those of you who don't know what 'Sicilian Flu' is, it's a very grave illness mafia big-wigs get immediately before a big trial. The sudden illness appears out of the blue on the day they have to appear in court. The defence lawyer can usually be seen pushing the mafia Don in to court in a wheelchair with oxygen tanks strapped to it while waving a doctors report saying he's too ill to stand trial. You get the idea.

So while I'm very happy that Willie Rennie is standing up and calling out the powers-that-be on their slow and bureaucratic system of FAI's, I certainly won't be holding my breath waiting for things to change...unless Don Corleone wants to lend me one of his old oxygen tanks that is.

Monday 19 August 2019

Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland Recommends Extension Of Victim Strategy...Or Do They?

A recent article in the Scottish Legal News website reported on a review by the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland into the sheriff and jury regime which has been in effect since the middle of 2017.

In the review it was recommended that the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) should extend its victim strategy to all complainers of sexual crimes that are prosecuted in the sheriff solemn courts as well as the high courts.

No complaints there. Taking good care of victims sounds good to me. As for the criminals, lock 'em up and throw away the key I say.

Interestingly though, there was NOTHING mentioned in the review about those innocent members of the public who are falsely accused of sexual crimes.


Could it be that the corrupt Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal are uninterested in helping people who have been falsely accused of crimes? Perhaps the corrupt Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal are uninterested in prosecuting false accusers? Or perhaps they've just forgotten that they also have an equal duty to help ALL victims of crime, and that includes the victims of false accusers?

So, in the interests of fairness and justice, I've decided to step up to the plate today and help our good friends at the COPFS get a more balanced view of things and hopefully, with my help, they'll be able to increase prosecutions against all those disgusting criminals out there who wreak havoc by making false accusations against innocent members of the public.

To achieve this, I've re-worded the original Legal News article to reflect the importance of how COPFS should be dealing with false accusers and false accusations.

In the italicised text below, you'll see that I have <bracketed> particular words or phrases. This is where I have replaced the original articles words and phrases and changed them to refer to crimes where someone has been falsely accused.

I know how much the COPFS like to keep telling the Scottish public how fair, honest, and reasoned they are when marking up cases. Justice for all and protecting the innocent is paramount to what they do (or so they tell us). We are constantly told how the COPFS go to extraordinary lengths to make sure they prosecute ALL crime, no matter how big or small, and without fear of favour. So I just know they'll be absolutely delighted with my re-working/re-wording of the article below (you can thank me later Lord Advocate):

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) should extend its victim strategy to <those falsely accused> that are prosecuted in the sheriff solemn courts. They should examine the effectiveness of procedures, processes and systems in ensuring <false accusation> cases are progressed expeditiously; the impact of the legislative reforms; and the individual needs of those falsely accused.

For all victims of <false accusation> crimes prosecuted in the High Court, COPFS should implement a victim strategy which is dependent on receiving vulnerability reports from the police.

In addition to commitments to advise all victims of the outcome of the <false accusers> first court appearance and bail conditions, the victim strategy should entail a commitment that victim information and advice (VIA) officers will make contact by telephone within seven to 21 days for custody/bail cases where the <false accuser> has appeared in court.

The call should include introducing the VIA and the case preparer to the <falsely accused person> and explaining the process and likely timescales; ascertaining the <falsely accused> person preferred method of communication and whether they would wish an early face to face meeting with the case preparer; an assessment of vulnerabilities and special measures; discussing the <falsely accused> person's attitude to proceedings and to obtaining sensitive, personal records; signposting the <falsely accused> person to support organisations, if appropriate; updating the <falsely accused> person following any ‘significant event’, such as when an indictment has been served on their <false accuser>; and contacting the <falsely accused> person in accordance with the level and type of communication that has been agreed.

The decision to prosecute in the High Court rather than the Sheriff Court can often be marginal and may be due to a <false accusers> record of previous offending rather than the seriousness of the offence.

“VIA officers expressed a desire to provide a consistent level of service to all victims of <false accusation> crimes regardless of the forum. Senior members of COPFS shared this view. An approach similar to that taken in the High Court is currently being employed in Kirkcaldy and a pilot scheme is underway in Glasgow where victims of <false accusation> crimes prosecuted in the sheriff solemn courts will be supported in the same way as those in the High Court. We welcome both developments and urge COPFS to extend the victim strategy to all victims of <false accusation> crimes prosecuted in the solemn courts,” the inspection report states.

<Mr> M, who successfully sued the <woman> cleared of <falsely accusing him> in criminal proceedings, said "There is an assumption here that the provision of services in the High Court is good, but there are areas of criminal procedure that could be improved, regardless of court. I didn’t have much communication with the procurator fiscal”

Kate Wallace, CEO of Victim Support Scotland, said “Victim Support Scotland supports the call for improvements to the communication and support received by victims of <false accusations> crime at the Sheriff Court. Going to court is often a deeply distressing experience and giving evidence can be severely re-traumatising for victims of <false accusation> crime. Ensuring consistent and improved procedures across both courts will give victims a fairer and more positive experience of the criminal justice system.”

So there you have it. A wonderful gift from me to the COPFS. A little bit of a blueprint you could say, to help the COPFS give innocent victims of false accusers the same level of service they give when the shoe is on the other foot.

So when are you going to implement this important strategy to ensure equal and fair justice for all victims of false accusers Mr Procurator Fiscal?


Can you hear me?

Is there anyone there?

Hmmm, yeah, just as I thought.

Original Article:

Tuesday 13 August 2019

Police Ignore Half Of Crime Calls From The Public

As Scotlands drug problems escalate and the death rate from drug abuse in the country soars, it's nothing short of shocking to discover that Police Scotland ignored half of the publics calls about crime at an illegal Glasgow nightclub.

The illegal club in Glasgow is so awash with drug dealers local residents are rightly concerned.

So concerned in fact that they called police 65 times...

...but police only attended 35 times.

Let's just put this in to perspective for a moment. This story isn't just about Police Scotland's lack of response to drug taking (which is already killing our kids in ever increasing numbers).

Police already knew the night club in question was illegal...they knew it had no licence, no permissions, nothing!

So the burning question is, why did Police Scotland allow this illegal club to continue operating? They clearly knew it was there, they clearly knew it was illegal, and they clearly knew it was a notorious drug den...they were told about it 65 times for goodness sake!

Convener of the Glasgow Licensing Forum, Donald MacLeod said "Given the illegal activity being brazenly carried out within the premises, one wonders why no action was taken by Police Scotland to shut them down and arrest the perpetrators".

Yes, Donald, there's a few folk wondering why Police Scotland appear to have turned a blind eye to the goings-on in this illegal night club.

And, I also suspect, another few folk who can probably guess why.

Tuesday 6 August 2019

A Lack Of Trust At The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission?

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) play an important role in Scottish society.

They review and investigate cases where a miscarriage of justice may have taken place. Their important work looks in to the convictions and sentences of members of the public who may have been wrongly prosecuted, convicted or sentenced.

My eyebrows were raised though when I heard about one of their recent staff appointments - a solicitor by the name of Carol Gammie.

On the face of it, it seems perfectly reasonable that the SCCRC would appoint a solicitor to their ranks. After all, the SCCRC is all about investigating miscarriages of justice so it makes sense that they would want to appoint a solicitor who, by the very nature of his or her profession, has a legal background and often a working knowledge of the court system etc, doesn't it?

Hmmmm, well, that depends.

You see the problem is that while miscarriages of justice can occur for a variety of reasons, all miscarriage of justice cases will have previously been through a court and have previously involved prosecutorial decisions taken by the crown office.

This means that all the crown office decisions that were made during a trial in which a miscarriage of justice may have occurred will, by its very nature, need to be investigated by the SCCRC.

And if you dig a little deeper in to Ms. Gammie's background you find that she trained with...wait for it...The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service!

So, let's say you are an innocent member of the Scottish public who has been taken to court and prosecuted by the motley crew at the COPFS, and it resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

Would you be happy to have your miscarriage of justice case investigated by someone who used to be an employee of the COPFS who is, in effect, investigating her former fellow colleagues?

Thought so.