Category Archives: HMA v McKenzie and Muirhead

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

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

What Is Open Justice Week? #oj_uk

Open Justice Week is a campaign to shed some light on the “unreported” courts in the UK.

You can find the website here.

It is the brainchild of James Doleman who blogged Tommy Sheridan’s perjury trial. In doing so he showed what real court reporting should be, and which the media today, because of pressures on space and resources, cannot afford to take the time to do.

On the downside, James’ blog was one of the main motivations for me to start my own blog. Therefore James is to blame, indirectly, for each 7,500 word piece on Schedule B1 of the Insolvency Act I inflict on my reader!

In a piece published in the Guardian last week, James explained what Open Justice Week is about.

“We want to create a snapshot of where British justice is in 2012, and we want as many people as possible to join us.”

He argues that social media and the Open Justice project could be an opportunity to “almost reinvigorate and recreate” court reporting. James describes in the piece his shock at visiting Glasgow sheriff court when it was dealing with evictions. “It’s like something out of Charles Dickens. They are throwing up to 70 people an hour out of their homes. It’s just like bang, bang, bang… one after the other. We want to open up the courts to public scrutiny.”

James is blogging on the Open Justice website about the HMA v McKenzie and Muirhead case (better known as the alleged letter bombs to Neil Lennon and others case). You will not read better coverage of the trial than on the Open Justice Blog.

Jon Robbins, who wrote the Guardian piece, says “It seems to me that ‘open justice’ can shine a light on the real experience of ordinary people in the courts.”

Read the Open Justice website and the links there. Why not see about popping to your local court to do some reporting?

It’s is my plan to post a couple of opieces connected with the Project. The first will be here in a short while.

You can follow the Project on Twitter at #oj_uk.

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Filed under Blogging, Courts, HMA v McKenzie and Muirhead, Open Justice Week