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.