Category Archives: General Scots Law Rambling

Exclusive – Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill’s New Blueprint for Scottish Justice**

My sources close to Crown Office and the Justice Department have been able to locate for me the working draft of Mr MacAskill’s latest press release, designed to accompany the next stage of his proposals to “modernise” and “improve” Scottish criminal law.

After all, this follows a week where the Bill bringing to an end the need for corroboration in Scottish prosecutions has been published, despite the united opposition of the judiciary, the Faculty of Advocates and the Law Society of Scotland and where the future of the “not proven” verdict has again been placed under scrutiny, with the clear intention that it disappear too.

The draft below might never see the light of the day, and there are clearly a few parts for the Minister to tidy up. Maybe the Justice Secretary will decide that the latest proposals might be far enough to go.

Or maybe we will wake up soon to see the following in our morning papers… Continue reading



Filed under Alleged Humour, Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill, Criminal Law, General Scots Law Rambling

The Green Brigade and Strathclyde Police – What Are The Rules About Their “Corteo”?

What happened last weekend when the Green Brigade and its supporters decided to walk to Celtic Park together?

Depending on the sources you choose to accept, Saturday’s events constituted one, some or all of the following:-

  • A Fascist gathering of terrorist supporters intent on destroying the British State
  • A National Socialist gathering of terrorist supporters intent on destroying the British State
  • A conspiracy of Catholic lawyers, politicians and journalists intent on undermining the rule of law
  • A brutal episode of police brutality showing we live in a country under the jackboot of oppression
  • A stroll on a bracing March Saturday by committed football fans to watch their favourite team and to draw attention to their unjustified oppression
  • Proof that the Scottish Government is intent on criminalising football fans

I did think of having a poll with these options, but I do not think the answers would help. Continue reading


Filed under Criminal Law, Football, General Scots Law Rambling, Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill

Muirhead and McKenzie v HMA – Appeal Against Conviction for Sending Devices to Lennon, McBride and Godman Refused

On Thursday 14th March 2013 the Appeal Court in Edinburgh ruled against appeals by Neil McKenzie and Trevor Muirhead.

The Appeal Court hearing the case consisted of Lord Menzies, Lady Clark of Calton and Lord Philip. Senior Counsel for the appellants were two of the most eminent and capable QCs in Scotland – Gordon Jackson and Donald Findlay.

(I should say, for the benefit of anyone reading this who feels that they should comment on Mr Findlay’s involvement in the case, that he operates, as does the whole Faculty of Advocates, on the “cab rank” principle, and therefore, if instructed, and available, Mr Findlay would have had no choice but to accept instructions. Bearing in mind his almost unmatched abilities, it would have been more surprising to see him not being involved in this case).

As with many legal matters which are reported in the press, the coverage of the trial seemed to some extent to miss the point. I have read various comments condemning the “vindictive” decision to prosecute these poor men, who were only “having a laugh” or wanting to “put a rise” up the recipients. After all, went the argument, how could someone be condemned as a bomber if the device was incapable of exploding. Continue reading


Filed under Criminal Appeals, Criminal Law, General Scots Law Rambling, HMA v McKenzie and Muirhead, New Media, Press, Uncategorized

Whither Free Speech? 100 Hours Community Service For Shouting at David Cameron?

Yesterday Stuart Rodger, a 23-year-old former Lib-Dem political activist, was sentenced at Glasgow Sheriff Court to carry out 100 hours of community service under the horribly named “Community Payback Order”. Mr Rodger pled guilty to a charge of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner contrary to Section 38 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010.

So what? These charges arise regularly in the Scottish courts. Every day there are people being convicted of behaving in such a manner, or pleading guilty to having done so. Why mention Mr Rodger?

His offence was rather unusual. When the Prime Minister came to Glasgow on 31st July this year, Mr Rodger hid in a toilet in the Grand Central Hotel and, at a suitable moment, burst into the room where Mr Cameron was speaking to Party colleagues.

Mr Rodger shouted “No ifs, not buts, no public sector cuts.” Continue reading


Filed under Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland ) Act 2010, Criminal Law, General Scots Law Rambling, Human Rights

Mr Salmond and the Schrodinger’s Legal Advice on the EU – An Issue Which Will Not Go Away?

This past week has seen what has been a smooth running SNP machine start to sputter and misfire. The apparently dry issue of legal advice to the Scottish Government about admission to the EU of an independent Scotland (the dry issue being the legal advice rather than independence or EU admission) exploded as a result of what seemed to be differing versions of the same matter from Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon. Ms Sturgeon’s comment that now, following the Edinburgh Agreement regarding a referendum, the Scottish Government would be seeking legal advice on EU membership was in contradiction, it appeared, to what Mr Salmond had told Andrew Neil in an interview earlier this year.

Political opponents and the media sought to drive wedges into the crack which seemed to have opened up between them.

What has been said on the official record by Mr Salmond?

(There now follows a lengthy analysis of what has been said on the record and of the Ministerial Code and of the Scottish Information Commissioner’s ruling on the point. If you want to skip that, I have some commentary at the foot of the article. If you would rather skip my analysis, and who can blame you, then feel free to stop at the end of Mr Salmond’s last quote. Thank you.)


On 10th November 2011 the issue was raised by Iain Gray at First Minister’s Questions (FMQ) with specific reference to joining the euro currency, but also in the context of EU admission.

He asked:-

If the First Minister has crystal-clear legal advice on the question, will he publish it?

Mr Salmond replied:-

I refer Iain Gray to paragraph 2.3 of the Scottish ministerial code concerning legal advice, its assistance and its publication. Continue reading


Filed under General Scots Law Rambling, Independence, Politics, Uncategorized