MARK HIRST’S CLAIM OF MALICIOUS PROSECUTION

Last week my firm sent the following letter to the Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain, QC:

“We act for Mr Mark Hirst. Please treat this letter as intimation of a claim by him against your staff.

“Mr Hirst was prosecuted for an offence under section 38(1) of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 following comments which he made upon the acquittal of former First Minister Mr Alex Salmond. On 07 January 2021 the charges against Mr Hirst were found to be irrelevant, and a no case to answer submission was upheld.

“It is clear that there never was any basis for him being prosecuted, and the prosecution against him lacked reasonable and probable cause both objectively and subjectively. We also maintain that the prosecution was brought maliciously for the following reasons.

“First, it is clear and obvious that there was no reasonable or probable cause. This of itself is instructive in proving malice.

“Second, a warrant was obtained against our client when the primary evidence was plainly available. The warrant application failed to specify the threats that were being made, and was fundamentally misleading to the court. It was disproportionate to obtain a warrant and the application was not framed in a proper manner. It made false allegations about threats being made, which were established to be untrue.

“We are of course aware of the terms of section 170 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 which bears to provide immunity from suit for prosecutors when no imprisonment of the accused was imposed. However, having consulted with Senior Counsel, we consider that that provision is incompatible with Article 6 of the European Convention in that it fails to provide a remedy when a wrong is committed.

“Accordingly, our client’s instructions are that we are to place you on notice that we intend challenging the compatibility of section 170 should you fail to admit liability and offer fair compensation.

“Finally, we wish to make clear that this prosecution appears to have been politically motivated. Mr Hirst was, plainly, a supporter of Mr Salmond. We shall of course investigate whether Rape Crisis Scotland were encouraged to make a complaint for political motives, and indeed whether the complainers in the Salmond trial were similarly encouraged to do so.

“We enclose a copy of a writ that we shall be sending to the Chief Constable which is self explanatory. But prior to service, we would reiterate our demand that you admit liability, and confirm that compensation will be paid to our client, failing which we intend altering the writ to include the Lord Advocate as a second defender.

“Please respond to this letter within 21 days.”

I know that many readers of this blog are interested in Mark’s case and I hope it will be a useful service to you — particularly those of you who are prospective victims of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), and who are contemplating similar action – for me to unpack the contents of this letter a little.

No reasonable or probable cause

Until very recently, it was thought that the Scottish Lord Advocate and COPFS were immune from being sued for malicious prosecution. This was contrary to the position in England, where it was well established that such action was competent.

Partly because of this belief in absolute immunity, and partly because of the extraordinary degree of political protection which they enjoy, COPFS have, for many years now, been a law wholly unto themselves in Scotland, accountable for all practical purposes to no-one.

And so it may have continued had not COPFS made a major miscalculation. They picked for once on victims who had both the resources and the resolve to fight back, namely the liquidators of the former Rangers FC. When the cases against them ended in utter humiliation for the police and Crown, these men sued for malicious prosecution, and a bench of five judges ruled that COPFS, like everyone else in the land, should at last be held accountable for their wrongdoing.

Subsequent decisions in related proceedings have clarified what will be required for such actions to succeed. The first requirement is that COPFS must have proceeded without “reasonable or probable cause”.

There is both a subjective and an objective element to this.

In a very recent case involving one of the Rangers liquidators, the judge said this of the objective element:

“Where, as here, the charges were dismissed as irrelevant, it seems to me that it will normally be difficult to argue that reasonable and probable cause existed from an objective standpoint. A decision that a charge is irrelevant is a decision that even if the Crown were to prove all of the facts narrated in the indictment, the essentials of the criminal charge are not present. As a general rule, it can hardly be said, on an objective assessment, that there is reasonable and probable cause for initiating and continuing proceedings if a conviction cannot result because the circumstances averred do not, as a matter of law, amount to commission of the offence charged.”

As our letter to the Lord Advocate sets out, these were exactly the circumstances of Mark’s case. The sheriff made quite clear in dismissing the case that all of the facts brought before the court by COPFS did not constitute any crime known to the law of Scotland.

Any such crime existed only in the minds of Mark’s powerful accusers, and of their mouthpiece Rape Crisis Scotland, and had no business at all in entering the minds of the police or COPFS.

So much for the objective element.

The subjective element can be boiled down to this:

Did the then Lord Advocate and his COPFS staff have a reasonable basis for belief that they had reasonable and probable cause to proceed against Mark even although, objectively, they didn’t? (And yes, I know it sounds ridiculous, but welcome to the world of the law and lawyers.)

I can think of only one argument the Crown can make here, namely that the then Lord Advocate and his staff at COPFS had an understanding of the criminal law of Scotland so far below the level of the average first year law student that they genuinely believed that Mark’s political comments on a matter of public interest were a crime.

I wish them good luck in making that argument.

So much, then, for the subjective element.

Malice

As our letter suggests, “malice” in this context has a specific legal meaning which bears some relation to its meaning in ordinary usage but is quite far from being the same. In practice, what it means is that some further evidence of bad faith beyond the complete lack of justification for a prosecution should usually be present for “malice” in the legal sense to be established.

In a case like Mark’s, as in the Rangers cases, it’s likely that only a very little more need be shown and, as our letter again indicates, there is in fact a ton more to be had. Here is a paragraph from the writ we’ll be serving on the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, as set out in our letter:

“Further, the bringing of the proceedings by the police amounted to malicious prosecution of the pursuer without that reasonable or probable cause. The police obtained the warrant to search the pursuer’s home on the basis that it appeared that the pursuer had committed an offence. He had not. The police did not produce any information to the Sheriff which would have permitted scrutiny of the application as, had that been done, it would have been obvious that no offence had been committed. It was in any event unnecessary for a warrant to be obtained and it was disproportionate to seek one. As averred above, the police had obtained a copy of the postings in any event. The obtaining of the warrant in such circumstances was oppressive, an abuse of power and unnecessary and indicative of malice.”

In short, we’ll seek to establish that the warrant to search Mark’s home, itself unnecessary in any case, was obtained by the police and COPFS on fictitious grounds. On the basis of that warrant, the police and COPFS, knowing full well what they were doing, seized items which were part of the tools of Mark’s trade as a journalist, thereby depriving him of tools by which he might make his living.

This is far from the only ground on which we’ll seek to demonstrate “malice” – see, for example, my comments below about Rape Crisis Scotland – so suffice it to say that in our submission there will be more than enough COPFS “malice” in what was done to Mark to meet the legal requirement many times over.

Section 170 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995

The relevant part of this provision is in these terms:

“No judge, clerk of court or prosecutor in the public interest shall be found liable by any court in damages for or in respect of any proceedings taken, act done, or judgment, decree or sentence pronounced in any summary proceedings under this Act, unless … the person suing has suffered imprisonment in consequence thereof …”

This was a rather extraordinary provision even before the Rangers cases, when it was still thought that the Lord Advocate and COPFS had absolute immunity across the board from civil actions for malicious prosecution. In light of the law as it now stands, the provision is, in my opinion, completely untenable and will inevitably be struck down by Article 6.

There is no reason in law or in common sense why COPFS should be liable in damages for maliciously prosecuting someone who goes to jail as a result but not someone who is, rightly, acquitted of the charges against them. Nor is there any reason why people tried before a jury (in “solemn proceedings”) should be treated differently from those tried by a judge alone (in “summary proceedings”).

On the grounds summarised in our letter, this is a provision which must be challenged, and will be challenged, in Mark’s action. It is a challenge which, if successful, will have obvious and far-reaching consequences.

Senior Counsel

I’ll admit that it goes against the grain for me to instruct senior counsel in any case as I take great pride in arguing all of my cases myself. I’ve been delighted, though, to make an exception for Andrew Smith QC, whose services we’re privileged to have secured for Mark’s case.

Along with a couple of other top QCs, Andrew has been, and continues to be, in the forefront of the successful challenge on COPFS immunity that has made possible the action we’re now taking for Mark. He knows this novel and developing area of Scots law with a thoroughness and grasp of detail that is unrivalled at the Bar.

That in itself is a fact that will in no way be lost on our opponents.

I know that Andrew is relishing what lies ahead and in particular is relishing our challenge to section 170, which will be of obvious significance to all of the activists who have been and are being prosecuted on political grounds by COPFS at the behest of the Scottish Government.

Frankly, there’s no-one I’d rather have on board.

Political Motives: Rape Crisis Scotland

The following paragraph is taken from the writ prepared by Andrew and which we’ll be serving on the Chief Constable of Police Scotland in due course, as set out in our letter above.

“On 31 March 2020, STV News posted an article online quoting Sandy Brindley of Rape Crisis Scotland (a Scottish Government funded pressure group) stating that ‘the comments [of the pursuer] are sinister, threatening and to identify the women would be illegal.’ On 02 April 2020, the Daily Record, a tabloid newspaper distributed mostly in central Scotland, alleged that the complainers in the case against Alex Salmond had made a complaint to the police about the pursuer’s post. On 02 April 2020, the pursuer contacted the police to advise that he had heard that the police had received a complaint and he offered to cooperate.”

Remember when reading this that Mark’s accusers – which is to say, Alex Salmond’s accusers – include in their number some of the most powerful people in Scotland.

Remember that Alex Salmond was nonetheless acquitted of all of the charges brought by these powerful accusers by a jury of his peers and on the clearest possible evidence that he was innocent.

And remember what some of the charges brought by these powerful accusers in the High Court of Justiciary – the highest criminal court in the land, where only the most serious crimes are supposed to be prosecuted – actually were:

Touching someone’s leg over her clothing in a car (witnessed by none of the other persons present in the car, including the person’s spouse);

Touching someone’s arms and hips over her clothing and congratulating her that she had lost weight while in a nightclub and in the presence of numerous other people (but again, it seems, witnessed by no-one else present);

Touching someone’s buttock over her clothing during a public photo-shoot (again, witnessed by none of the numerous other people present at the event).

Think of any ordinary person – or Rape Crisis Scotland itself, for that matter – trying to persuade the police even to investigate such allegations, let alone persuading COPFS to prosecute them in the highest court in the land, and you’ll get an idea of just how powerful these accusers are, and just how much of a mouthpiece for them Rape Crisis Scotland, the police and COPFS have become.

Hopefully, you’ll get an idea too of why this is an area which we intend to pursue in detail with the court by way of establishing yet more of the extra elements of bad faith which constitute the clearest possible “malice”.

The Scottish Government’s patronage and control of organisations like Rape Crisis Scotland – and the prominent presence in such organisations of Sturgeon’s personal clique of zealots – goes way wider than Mark’s case, as everyone who has been following their disgraceful attacks on the rights of Scottish women will be all too well aware.

21 days

The period of 21 days for the Lord Advocate to respond to our letter runs out on 12 August 2021.

I’ll let you know what happens next.

81 thoughts on “MARK HIRST’S CLAIM OF MALICIOUS PROSECUTION

  1. This is so absolutely clear and concise, written such that even the dumbest of Turdgeons dumbass followers can understand, hopefully they’ll begin to see 👀 the light.

    If COPFS, Police Scotland et al had no idea of the size of the can of
    whoop-ass they opened, they’ll be under no illusions now.

    I await COPFS response with baited breath, but, I’ve no doubt that rather than hold their hands up, they’ll piss another wedge of public money up the wall.

    Our new Lord Advocate has a chance to show us how she intends to function for her remaining tenure.

    Interesting.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Gordon and Mark thank you for attempting to stand up for justice , it is reprehensible and despicable that the justiciary appear to have sat idly by whilst the reputation of Scots justice has been dragged through the putrid mire by the very profession responsible for it’s honesty and integrity

    Liked by 3 people

  3. When you have a Politican influencing, limiting or controlling the media, Police Scotland and the Judiciary then what we have is a dictatorship.
    It’s tragic that the main victim in the AS case (incl. Mark & Craig) has been the reputation of the Scottish Legal system. Mark’s case, if successful will go a long way to redeem that reputation. Thank you Gordon.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Thanks, nallyanders. I’m wary of trusting anything to lawyers and I think that by far the most important counter to the dire situation you rightly identify will be political activism. I have huge admiration for the women — particularly the working class women — who are organising at grass-roots against the disgusting attacks on their rights by Sturgeon and her clique, a big part of that clique being the very organisations that are supposed to be protecting women.

      But I don’t mean to go off-topic — many thanks again.

      Liked by 12 people

      1. Thanks, anadprasad. I was at the Marion Millar demo on Glasgow Green last week and it truly was a heartening experience. Anyone who thinks Scottish women — wonderfully supported by women from England and all over the world now — are going to sit back and take these disgusting attacks on their rights is seriously deluded. There’s a momentum now and a snowballing process of educating the Scottish public on what’s really happening here that simply won’t be halted or contained.

        Liked by 10 people

  4. Gordon, as a fellow lawyer, I’m delighted to see that you and senior counsel are taking up the cudgels on behalf of Mr Hirst. Lawyers should be leading the charge against the creeping, fascistic descent into authoritarianism.

    I donated to Mt Hirst’s fund when he was facing the prosecution. Can you please confirm whether there is a continuing funding scheme in place to which supporters can contribute to the legal fees?
    I’m sorry if this has been set out elsewhere. I haven’t searched too hard yet and it might be helpful if the details could be provided. I really hope that the Crown realises the best option is to just pay the compensation and admit the abuse of process. But somehow, I doubt that notions of justice, fairness and freedom will prevail over the arrogance of those who seek to curtail our hard-won freedoms.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thanks, Ingwe. Your kind words and unfailing support of the blog are greatly appreciated as always.

      I’m staying out of the funding issue for what I hope are obvious reasons but yes, there is a crowdfunder. If you click on Mark’s name in the first line of the post, it will link you to his own website and I think the details are there.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks, Gordon. Fully understand the funding issue.

        Have followed the link and have now donated. Looking forward to seeing the response to your letter of claim. Some sunshine breaking out in our storm-laden political landscape.

        Liked by 4 people

  5. Music to my ears. How wonderful that this group of people have worked at, with intent, the recognition and removal of the rotten apples in the barrel that has been polluting Scotland’s honesty and integrity with increasing success. If crowd-funding is needed, count me in. Thank you so much. (Football shows the way again!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, roscurwood. I agree completely that Andrew and his colleagues have done us all a huge service here and, while I suspect that the Rangers guys are pretty much my complete opposite politically, I respect and admire them for refusing to lie down and for fighting back with such tenacity in the face of what looked like insurmountable odds.

      Liked by 6 people

  6. A truly excellent post Gordon. Easy for this informed layman to parse and understand. Your legal arguments look persuasive. I know it will cost Mark Hirst more if it comes to trial but I really hope ScotGov, COPFS and Police Scotland defend these actions so we can get precedence and Section 170 struck out or having to be heavily amended.

    It should not have taken both the Rangers case and Mark’s to get this changed. Any modern democracy should not have this protection in place. Especially as we saw with Mark just being charged caused major financial strain and restraint of trade by removal of the articles of trade. This is supposed to provide the rest of us with serious pause should we also wish to criticise ScotGov publicly.

    In my own case my bus ticket to and from work is on my phone, I buy a £50 monthly ticket (its cheaper on the phone). Depriving me of my phone thus requires me to pay cash for something I have already paid for while the value of my eticket declines as they hold my phone. Just one example.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thanks, Muscleguy, I agree with all that you say and your example on damages is instructive. I have no doubt that the recent spate of prosecutions of independence and women’s rights activists is designed to have a chilling effect on free speech that doesn’t suit Sturgeon’s Government, and we absolutely must fight back.

      Liked by 7 people

  7. Very, very good to see this. OOFT indeed.

    The Police Team that pursued this are a disgrace. They will have been lead by a Detective Sergeant, and the warrant application will need to have been checked and signed by an Inspector or above.

    And yet not one of them appears to know the most basic, fundamental aspects of common criminal law.

    To put this in perspective, nearly all cases of S38 (Stautory Breach of Peace) and Communication Act offences are dealt by a Uniformed Constable.

    As the You Tube video never mentioned the Alphabet women by name, and was not sent to them, it fell at the very first hurdle, with regards the Comms Act. Basic, basic stuff.

    With regards the warrant, since the alleged threat stemmed from the use of the word ‘pitchfork’ – they had better have specified on the warrant that that was what they were searching for.

    Had the ‘threat’ been, words to the effect of ‘gun’ and ‘shoot’ – then most assuredly (in a genuine threat case) any warrant requested would have been looking for a weapon of that type, and would have had to name it accordingly on the warrant.

    As the You Tube video of Mark talking, clearly identified Mark, and Mark admitted it was him – there was never any need for them to take his computer equipment. Spiteful in the extreme.

    To put that in perspective, any Police team anticipating taking computer equipment needs to / or should be looking to – have a van for loading it, colour coded tape for the wires, cables, chargers for the computers, etc, and given their Productions Officer the heads up about it coming in.

    But as you clearly highlight, it was about taking Mark’s computer equipment to muck him about and affect his income, and his public communication abilities.

    Once obtained, they will have, or should have submitted a form request for the computers to be analysed? This should once again be signed off and checked by an Inspector or above. The justification for analysing it needs to meet the criteria of, for the purposes of proving a crime, proportionate and necessary.

    Once the dust has settled, Police Scotland will have to answer, Did the Detective Sergeant in charge, and the Inspector or above who signed the warrant – were they disciplined? demoted? retrained? in any way.

    Which officer Deponed for the Warrant to the Sheriff? If they lied in the process, are they still in the job, and will they be facing criminal actions against them? Is Police Scotland intending to carry out any criminal enquiry into this?

    Police in Scotland have a duty to carry out the duties of Constable. Each and every one of the Police Officers involved in this, should be seeking legal advice from the Police Federation right just now, because, ‘I was only following orders’ is not going to cut it. They are culpable. The only time a Police Officer is allowed to disobey an order, is if that order is not legal.

    Iain Livingston – the Chief Constable – really needs to go.

    As for Rape Crisis Scotland – their letters demonstrated a lack of understanding about the criminal process that is completely at odds with their supposed remit, and if repeated as per the Alex Salmond Trial – has the danger of compromising genuine rape trials – particularly ones where the Moorov Principle is key to securing a conviction. A disgrace.

    Times we live in. Thank you and Mark for what you are doing, increadibly important.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Many thanks, Daisy. Sadly, the professional diligence you outline here has been lacking for a long time, not only in police officers but in judges who treat warrants as a rubber-stamping exercise and in defence lawyers who should be challenging warrants which are obtained in this manner, and often worded too in ludicrously wide terms so that the police can, for example — in an actual case that I know all too well — literally seize a pair of child’s toy reindeer antlers on a search warrant for a charge of perjury, and still claim that the terms of the warrant covered this!

      Liked by 6 people

    2. Sounds to me like you know what you’re on about. Will you put in a FOI request with a detailed list of questions on those points? Could be very interesting.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I really can’t speak highly enough of the actions you, Mark, Craig, Alex, and a few others have taken with regards this matter. The recent intervention of Kenny MacAskill in the separation of powers argument only confirms what an increasing number of the general populous are coming to recognise, there has been a corruption of our judicial system which is very plain to see now, but should also have been seen and identified by some extremely learned folk at the time. For it not to have been, can only have come around through malice aforethought and corruption. The only other plausible defence would be incompetence; is that what’s going to be promoted here? Following on from Ingwe’s post, “I really hope that the Crown realises the best option is to just pay the compensation and admit the abuse of process. But somehow, I doubt that notions of justice, fairness and freedom will prevail over the arrogance ,,,,”, should it not be incumbent, if not actually written into statute, that this MUST be the de facto solution which MUST be carried out if an abuse of process is established? No more should we allow the perpetrator/s to absolve themselves of responsibility. It particularly galls me that with Mark’s eventual success in this suit that it won’t be the perpetrators who pay the ‘fine’, but me and other innocent taxpayers. Every success to you, Mark and all; you really are doing us an immense social favour.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Many thanks, Brian, that’s much appreciated. Your point about the taxpayer is well taken. As with the Salmond prosecution and the Fabiani inquiry and the Rangers debacle, it’s all of us who end up paying for the corruption and incompetence, and being told that “lessons will be learned”, just as they were the time before, and as they will be the next time and the time after that…

      As always, it’s up to all of us not to accept that and to insist on real change.

      Liked by 6 people

  9. This writ being submitted can only but hearten everyone who has been following the contrived nature of the prosecution taken against Mark presumably to stifle public commentary on matters which should be of genuine concern to the Scottish public at large.

    It may well be the case now that Peter Murrell opened possibly more than one can of worms when he coined the phrase ‘the more fronts he had to firefight the better for all the complainers’. In the context of this subject matter how apposite. This writ will receive support from a multitude of those who seek to eliminate politically motivated prejudice from the judicial system.

    Actions such as this are what will build the type of society we wish to create for a future Independent Scotland. For that is what we must strive to achieve.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Thanks, Robert, your last point is particularly well taken. These authoritarian tactics and this abuse of institutions by Sturgeon’s Scottish Government are exactly what we want to avoid in an independent Scotland and there’s no time like the present to start sorting it out.

      Liked by 6 people

    2. Let’s hope so, Robert. I can only speak for myself but my passion for politics has utterly died through the absolute dishonesty and wickedness evident within Sturgeon’s government, particularly during the previous term. I remain shell-shocked by all I saw and not a little traumatised.
      Notice too, the behaviour of the Scottish media throughout the Salmond business. Despite clear evidence of wrongdoing on Sturgeon’s part they backed her to the hilt and failed to challenge, even the publications who despise the idea of independence and the SNP as a Party. Why? Because they hate Salmond more. Given the seriousness of the matters raised, from the rigging of an official Civil Service Investigation Process onwards, that is deeply concerning yet the Scottish media were happy to cut a clearly dishonest First Minister, Sturgeon, a worrying amount of slack. Even if her dishonesty cost the Scottish taxpayer more than half a million in costs, having gone against her own legal advice.
      They were happy to stress the number of hours she’d sat “answering questions” when, in fact, she answered very few of them! They were happy to follow Sturgeon’s lead and trash a Parliamentary Committee’s findings as “Party-political” when there absolutely was evidence that Sturgeon had misled Parliament. They were happy to accept that she’d been “exonerated” by a further report which was so heavily redacted it was impossible to determine what conclusions had actually been reached! They were happy to overlook the fact that it took a threat from the Scottish Parliament to bring a vote of no confidence to get official paperwork released to the Holyrood Inquiry and that, even when it was released, much of it was still missing. They were happy to snigger over paperwork (relating to an official CS Investigation into the Salmond matters) being illegally released directly to a journalist from inside the Scottish Government and no real investigation into the leak being carried out. They were happy to saturate news with detail from the first part of Salmond’s trial while drawing a veil over the truly gob-smacking evidence which emerged during the defence sessions. The media’s only concern was that Salmond went down. Its hatred of him wasn’t remotely disguised. They have, since, been happy for Sturgeon to openly trash the Salmond acquittal and undermine the verdict (and the jury). (They were happy for an actual lady judge to do that too! And Rape Crisis Scotland.)
      Jings! This has turned into a bit of a rant. I’ll stop noo!

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Excellent summary and analysis, sadscot. It’s astonishing that the mainstream of SNP members, and many other Indy supporters, still can’t seem to ask themselves why the unionist press is so protective of Sturgeon and her Government (which of course they still despise) on all of this. All we can do is keep providing the information and hope that at some point the light will dawn.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Welcome back, I will be following this case very closely as will many, many other people

    You and Mr Hirst, along with Mr Salmond, are fighting a battle on behalf of many fed up, frustrated, victimised, bullied, harassed, threatened, doxxed people in Scotland and personally I think you are wonderful

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I’m blushing, Molly’s Mum, but seriously we all do what we can do and if we keep doing it, we’ll win. Thank you for all your support of the blog and for consistently raising your voice in the face of all the things you mention.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Derek,

      Yes, and the byre needs a fair amount of mucking out. We could do with some more sturdy pitchforks maybe ,,, 😉

      Like

  11. I was concerned that you had gone quiet. This was very much worth waiting for. Thank you all for shining a light into some seemingly dark corners.

    You say above – ‘those of you who are prospective victims of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS)’. Oh dear, might a class action happen under Scots Law?

    Frankly, recent weeks have been depressing for me. This has cheered me up, back to normal.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Well, we’ve cheered each other up, bruceb. I do think one role a blog like this can play is letting each other know that we’re not alone in being depressed and angry at what we see going on. It’s amazing how much just knowing that other people out there feel the same can strengthen your resolve.

      Like

  12. Gordon, thank you. Thank you for how well you laid out the difficult details of the Salmond case, and thank you for this work with Mark. It’s wonderful to see Mark having his day in court after the ordeal he has been through.

    But it’s more than that. Thank you for bringing so many colleagues of yours in the legal profession up to the surface. You have given them an opportunity to speak and to get their integrity registered. I am heartened to hear so many of then speak in defence of decency and integrity in their profession.

    I am a big fan of the police service and our police force. I have watched them deal with extremely difficult situations with great dignity. My feeling is that many of the failings we will see that they did object where they could when their normal processes were over-ridden. That’s my feeling…

    And one last thing, Scottish public life taken pains to clear this mess up now, before a referendum is in the offing, will take away all of this poison that would have come raining down on us mid campaign.

    Thanks, and

    Respect.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sir Robert Peel was the founder of the first Police force, now the London Met. From his name come the terms ‘Bobbies’ and ‘Peelers’. He established Peel’s Principles, which apply today. They are worth reading in full, but the Second seems deeply relevant to coppers at the front line, let down by politicians within and without…

      “To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.”

      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/policing-by-consent/definition-of-policing-by-consent

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thanks for the kind words, tombkane, they’re much appreciated.

      It would be hypocritical of me to say I share your your overall view of the police but there is no doubting that they have a very difficult, and very necessary, job to do. I know for a fact that there are some in Police Scotland who are uneasy at the way they’re being used, just as there are some at COPFS with the same concerns. Whether that will amount to anything remains to be seen…

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Sorry for poor grammar… “In many of the failings” and taken was predictive text problem… Meant “taking”

    🙂

    Like

  14. Thanks to Gordon Dangerfield, Mark Hirst, Andrew Smith and everyone else involved. The potential scope of this, reading the text, is very exciting for those of us who want corruption rooted out of our institutions and the facts of these events to be made available to the punters in Scotland. I’ll be donating again via Mark Hirst’s website on that most fine day, pay day!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Delighted to see a resumption of blogging, Gordon, and with such concrete news of action to pour some salt on the unpleasant big legal (and political/politicised) beasties lurking under highly-placed stones. Their comeuppance is past due and may they reap the whirlwind (now that that’s a judicially-approved figure of speech) of their double-dealing.
    I hope it won’t be churlish to refer to that other important strand of activity – continuing to document and analyse that… what was it called again… a highly Caledonian power-grab? Something like that! Just when you can find time, mind, and I’m sure that isn’t easy but I’ll bet the contents of a Rangers administrator’s settlement* that there’s more, many more, than just me looking out very keenly…. and a few looking out very fearfully: hell mend them!
    [*Disclosure – sad to say, I don’t actually have that kind of money but it’s nice to dream]

    Like

    1. Many thanks, Rhadamanthus, and I promise that the remaining parts of the Highly Caledonian Power-Grab will appear at some point before my death. Also, I promise not to demand Rangers-administrator amounts from you if it turns out there’s only you, me, Morag and Contrary still interested!

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  16. Maybe there’s little point in looking out for Walter James Wolffe QC now that he’s shuffled off the stage and might be regarded as a yesterday’s man, but I was struck by his all-the-right-noises rhetoric about unremedied injustices, fundamental rights and their fragility etc etc just a few short years ago: https://justice.org.uk/james-wolffe-qc/ Oh Wattie, where did it all go wrong?!

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  17. Well!

    First off, welcome back to your favourite hobby Gordon! 🙂 And with quite a splash to return with, to keep your slavvering hordes of readers gripped, too.

    This is fantastic stuff – not fantastic that Mark was so brutally treated by our so-called justice system, but I’m so glad he’s pursuing it – many people would just be relieved it’s over, and cut their losses. I hope mark receives a massive amount of compensation by the end of it.

    I wondered about the police raid, how they could justify it based on a complaint about a blog (and only the wording, not some nefarious content) – so I find it disturbing that no one even scrutinises warrants much, even normally.

    I hadn’t realised that the Rangers cases were a first, or that COPFS was so absolutely untouchable, and now a new precendent is to be set (how can if not? There is no reasonable excuse for the police & COPFS behaviour) (hmm, it’s the law, and reasonable doesn’t always come into it,,,). I hope this moves swiftly to prevent any more political persecutions; it feels like the world has gone mad, but we have all our authorities and media acting as though it’s all perfectly normal.

    I rather like the penultimate closing paragraph of the letter to the Lord Advocate: “…failing which we intend altering the writ to include the Lord Advocate as a second defender” – can I assume this means you are putting her in the position of having to admit wrongdoing or get hauled before the courts? obviously it’s her position, not her personally, that would get claimed against. I can’t think of the significance of this at the moment. What a tangled web. So many potential consequences.

    This is going to be fascinating – I’m still tentatively sceptical that anything can be done about scotgov, COPFS, and the corrupt portions of the police, but I’m hopeful; along with Kenny M speaking out in Westminster and asking for action to amend the Scotland act for the separation of powers. Still I see comments saying this ‘can wait until after independence’ – I don’t believe independence will ever happen unless it’s done. How can you campaign or inform the public if you risk prosecution for having a different opinion from the ruling party? (The irony being that that ruling party still claims to want the same thing!)

    Good on ye Gordon, this is good work!

    Alongside the fight back from many women to protect women’s and children’s rights (so much determination and sense spoken!), I’m becoming hopeful.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Aye, you’re right, we need to go steady with that hopefulness stuff – there will be a scunnering flanking manoeuvre in the offing no doubt!

        I’ll keep my expectations to: any wee chink in their armour that gets exposed, by any means, with be a plus. I suspect crowbars will be needed to prise it all apart.

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  18. Inspirational stuff Gordon. We can only hope this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. If we don’t face this evil down, the independent Scotland many of those behind the current administration will build will be a dystopian nightmare. For all our sakes and the future of our children and grandchildren we have to defeat these regressive zealots.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, NDLS. Like you, I can hardly believe that all the regressive bullshit my mother’s generation fought against is now touted as progressive by brainwashed children. I continue to believe that it’ll all collapse, exactly as McCarthyism finally did, if enough of us simply make clear that the Emperor has no clothes.

      Liked by 3 people

  19. So many people saying that these cases have ruined the reputation of Scottish justice, as if this was something new.

    As someone who spent the thick end of ten years trying to get the COPFS to look at absolutely incontrovertible evidence that the Lockerbie bomb began its journey at Heathrow, not on Malta, I can only say that none of this surprises me in the slightest. We were given the runaround, blind eyes were turned, correspondence was ignored, a major inquiry was indeed launched but in the end that turned out to have been nobbled as well.

    And Kenny MacAskill was right in the middle of all this, so forgive me if I don’t immediately assume that he’s one of the good guys.

    This has been going on for a very long time indeed and I’d hesitate to claim that all was well before Lockerbie either.

    Oh, and for another recent example of the “right” answer being arrived at, for the establishment that is, just look at what happened to Stuart Campbell when he tried to get restitution for Kezia Dugdale defaming him.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I’m still bewildered at the Kezia-Campbell case – it was ruled she was guilty, but too thick to be held liable (in summary) – the law is a weird thing. Surely they’d take into consideration the responsible jobs she had/has and is paid piles of money, and say she can’t be that thick,,, ?!

      Interesting stuff about MacAskill, though I don’t usually ever put someone in politics in the good-guy category – same with Alex Salmond – more like a ‘better than’ category. Their aims and attitude align more closely with what I think is needed and acceptable – one of the biggest things I was looking out for when Alex became leader of Alba and came back to politics, was if he’d learned lessons, and I believe he has – and they are both listening (more than others). People should be allowed to make amends – but as you say, don’t think that makes Kenny a saint. He is doing good work just now though, and a rare voice speaking out.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Morag, I made the exact same point to Alex Salmond the last time I was talking to him! But as Tom Wolfe said, a liberal is a conservative who’s been arrested, and it’s never too late for people to learn. Like Contrary, I’m very pleased that both Alex and Kenny seem to be on that trajectory now.

      Contrary, the get-out for the sheriff — and then for the appeal court — in Stuart’s case was the defence of “fair comment”, a defence I absolutely support in principle as it protects the expression of opinion about facts as long as you get the facts themselves right. The problem is — as usual — in the completely inconsistent way it’s applied, with statements that clearly purport to be factual and are clearly defamatory — like Dugdale’s comments — being ruled opinion while other things that are very clearly opinion are ruled to be purported statements of fact and defamatory.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. although slightly off topic your refence to lockerbie is correct. For a device of that size to have maximum effect it had to be placed near the outer shell of the aircraft near a structural spar.. For a device to have been randomly loaded it could of been been in the centre of the container which would have ended up with a lot of ruined luggage which would have absorbed the blast. Whether a timer based on air pressure could have withstood a feeder flight without triggering is also a point

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s part of it, but there is very specific evidence that proves that the bomb was in a suitcase seen in the container at Heathrow an hour before the flight it was supposed to have flown in on touched down. This was missed at the time – the evidence was in the hands of the investigators but it wasn’t analysed. Now they don’t want to knoe. Read all about it. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adequately-Explained-Stupidity-Lockerbie-Luggage/dp/1783062509

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      2. Sorry about the spaces in the middle of some words. There was a glitch in the transfer from WordPerfect to eBook which didn’t show up when we did the dead-tree version. (The Kindle version was an afterthought to allow people based abroad to access the book easily, but it turned out to sell better than the print edition!)

        I just saw the top comment there, although it was left over two years ago. I’m blushing now, but also cheered because I’m working on a new book (completely unrelated subject) and doubtful whether my writing style is right for it.)

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      3. Just got to the Bedford statement and looked up the January 2021 appeal decision to see what Carloway et al made of it. Nothing, because they’d already decided the appeal grounds precluded them from re-examining the “fact” that the suitcase with the bomb in it came from Malta via Frankfurt. No wonder people think the law is an ass.

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      4. What seems to me to have happened is that all the evidence I presented, which is very detailed and frankly bloody compelling, was brushed aside because they had a “confession” from Masoud, obtained in 2012 probably by torture, in which he gave a highly implausible account of having assisted in the placing of the bomb on the plane in Malta. So their logic was, Masoud confessed, therefore the bomb went on board in Malta, therefore any evidence that it didn’t may be ignored.

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  20. Fantastic Gordon! I sense a buzz in the Indy movement. Like Mark, I am an ex Wm. Low employee and will shoot him few quid to help.

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  21. Well now I have a problem, I’d decided to leave Scotland as it no longer seemed to possess freedom and fairness under the law for all who live here.
    Now there is hope…, always a dangerous thing.

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  22. I thought you had given up but with your pulp hero style name I should have known that Gordon Dangerfield would ride again!

    Your articles have been a great help to me and no doubt many others. You pointing out the email that showed James Hynd lied under oath is just one example of how effective they are. An email that also showed Leslie Evans lied under oath as well it should be noted. Talk about a 2 for 1 deal.

    I am currently putting together a complete subject index to the evidence submitted to the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints and hope to post it on my recently started blog at some point although I also would like to post some of the things I have come across in my research so far on here if that is okay with you.

    You mentioned in a comment from an old article that Geoff Aberdein provided The Daily Record (why would he go to them when they leaked the allegations against his former boss in the first place?) with a copy of the submission he sent into the Committee. Are you sure this is correct? It was my understanding from The Daily Record article that it was simply a statement from him. I have never seen that full statement. Has anyone else? There does not seem to be a copy of it anywhere. I believe that journalists from the Financial Times have a copy of his submission to the Committee but for some reason they have sat on it and done nothing with it despite it being crucial evidence.

    The Daily Record article makes mention of late March as being the time Mr Aberdein had his second ‘catch up’ meeting with a certain person. This late March date contradicts Geoff Aberdein’s own previous testimony given during the criminal trial and mentioned in mainstream media articles of the time. It also contradicts the testimonies of Alex Salmond, Duncan Hamilton, Kevin Pringle and Lorraine Kay. They all put the date down as being early March. The second catch up meeting was on 09 March 2018 which clearly could not be described as being late March by any measure. In some of the media articles Geoff Aberdein makes the point that he found it surprising that the other person wanted another catch up meeting so soon as they had only just met up a few days before, meaning the 06 March 2018. Did this other person somehow convince Mr Aberdein to change the date from early March to late March?

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    1. Thanks, John, I’ll look forward to reading that. I remember that I did get a bit mixed up about the date of the Daily Record story with the quote from Aberdein in it but I thought I’d corrected any comment to that effect. You’re right that Aberdein only provided his submission to the Committee itself and not to anyone else.

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  23. Excellent news.

    The very best of luck for total success in getting everyone responsible for the malicious persecution and prosecutions of Alex Salmond, Mark Hirst and Craig Murray behind bars for a very long period of time.

    Morag is totally right – the Scottish justice system has been rotten to the core for a very long time.

    As to Kenny MacAskill, he is the disgraceful liar of a Justice Minister who had claimed that the Lockerbie verdict on Megrahi had been correct.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Dear Gordon
    I’ve been waiting like an excited expectant new father for 12 August to pass – did the Lord Advocate actually reply by the due date? Not expecting any details but is it quick and clean victory or is it “game on”? All the best with this, things need clarifying.

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    1. David, we got a very short and dismissive reply on the very last day of the 21 days and, on the advice of senior counsel, have written again demanding a proper reply to our letter before action as there are expense implications for them in not engaging with us to narrow down and clarify the issues in dispute prior to any court action that may then need to be raised.

      I’ll definitely let you and other readers know whenever it is “game on”!

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  25. Robert, we’re now in correspondence with COPFS, seeking to clarify some issues before the action is raised. This is something that the court has recommended in previous cases as a means of making the actual litigation as economical and efficient as possible so it’s important to do it.

    Thanks for the interest and happy to keep you and others updated via the comments. In fact, I’ll post this in the most recent comments too now that you’ve caused me to think of it!

    Like

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