Irrespective of what you thought about the Inquiry into the shambles that was the botched attempt to fit up Alex Salmond few cannot fail to have noticed the incredible connivance between the Scottish Government and the Crown Office. It attracted justifiable criticism as it not only resulted in around £1 million pounds of taxpayers money being lost, caused by ignoring.the facts from when Alex Salmond’s lawyers flagged up the clearly flawed procedures, to the refusal of mediation, the rejection of expert external legal advice that stated they were virtually certain the Government would lose the case. The abject and ill tempered surrender only came when faced with an ultimatum from their own legal team that they were going to be no longer able to act on the Government’s behalf.
The evidence that the Government and the Crown office were operating on a very questionable basis was a concern, not just for the public but also for the legal profession and was the subject to strong criticism from the most senior law bodies in Scotland. They considered it unhealthy and they were right. It is likely greater separation between the Government and the Crown Office will be the result. The question I ask is will it happen in time?
The talk that there are already plans to do away with both jury trials for sex crimes and the not proven verdict fill me with dread. Jury trials are crucial in any democracy. It is the guarantee that the state and the law cannot get so close and in each other’s pocket that justice is lost and unfair prosecutions can be imposed on any citizen the Government seeks to punish. The introduction of people, ordinary citizens to determine guilt or innocence is hugely important and makes such state and legal collusion much more difficult.
Likewise the not proven verdict is a valuable option that again is an important defence and puts the burden on the Government or prosecution to prove their case to a satisfactory degree of guilt rather than the jury having to second guess what might have happened or not, and perhaps condemning an innocent person in error. It’s very presence in the trial process gives confidence in a guilty verdict, knowing a jury had the not proven verdict available, but chose guilty because they were certain.
Now changing either of these tried and tested parts of our justice system after all this time is very concerning. To be doing so when many, myself included, feel this Government and this Crown Office are abusing their powers on a regular basis makes it not only wrong but highly dangerous to our freedoms.
Think about it, our legal system is tried and tested. In general it has widespread support and acceptance. There are no calls from the public to change things. What few calls for change come from, wait for it, the Rape Crisis Centre, or as it is better known these days, the Alphabet Women Press Office.
Now I can understand why they would like to get rid of juries, or at least one in particular. The one that evaluated their allegations, listened to the counter evidence from the mainly female defence witnesses, evaluated all they had heard in detail, not smear or evidence free innuendo, and consigned the entire content of the alphabet women’s allegations to the bin. Not one single guilty verdict!
Now we know some of the Alphabet women have the ear of the First Minister so it’s not a giant leap of speculation to come to a view that this is their Plan B, and unlike Chris McEleny constitutional version, this time the First Minister is listening. She seems convinced the jury got it wrong. She must do or how else do you explain her despicable cowardly smearing of Alex Salmond ever since.? Not satisfied with being First Minister her spite demands she should be the jury and judge as well. I doubt any of the real jury members will be voting for her next month, she has treated them most shabbily, disgracefully in fact.
So how is this recipe? Introduce the Hate Crimes legislation, get rid of jury trials in sex crimes cases and for good measure get rid of the not proven verdict at the same time.
See what I did there? I exposed the real dangers we are facing in this country. There has never been a more important time for our ordinary citizens to stay wide awake and be very aware of these very dangerous proposals which must not be implemented, because if they are, we are all at risk of malicious prosecution. There is nothing easier or more damaging than manufacturing false or frivolous sex allegations. Even now, before the Hate Crime Bill makes it even easier. It is so easy, politically ambitious people can find it so tempting. Not just in Scotland, not just restricted to politics either. You might recall there was an outburst of these cases around the time of the Me Too movement’s birth, some that were genuine and brought justice, others that were false. We would do well to remember that as folk move to remove the protections for the innocent that currently exist and would make malicious prosecution that much easier.
This is a very, very dangerous SNP agenda, they are passing the HCB without any internal discussion amongst ordinary Party members. GRA is next. Democracy has been by passed. History provides terrible examples from many areas of the World when political leaders manage to manipulate the legal and justice systems for their own purposes.
We are going to need good people in the Parliament, people with experience, people who know how to defeat and expose those responsible. My friend, Mr AS suggests there are a lot of Alba Party candidates who would be very good at this. I would listen to him if I was you. He knows about these things.
I am, as always
Yours for Scotland
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