The news broke yesterday that Andy Coulson, former bigwig at the News of the World, and latterly Director of Communications for the Prime Minister, had appeared in private at Glasgow Sheriff Court last Thursday on a charge of perjury. He made no plea or declaration and was released on bail.
Why Was His Case Dealt With In Private?
Before anyone suggests that Mr Coulson was receiving privileged treatment by having his case dealt with in private, that is in fact the required procedure for the first appearance on petition in a serious criminal case. These are always dealt with “in private”. That can mean in Sheriff’s chambers, or in a closed court, where only the Fiscal, defence agent and accused are present (along with the Sheriff and court and security staff).
The reports indicated that Mr Coulson was represented by the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Richard Keen QC. It is unusual to wheel out the “big guns” so early in a case like this, but sometimes “visitors” from England fail to appreciate that solicitors deal with such appearances every single day. So Mr Coulson is likely to have incurred a substantial cost for Mr Keen’s appearance (and even if he applied for and was granted Legal Aid – and there is no indication he did – the public purse would not be paying for Mr Keen’s undoubtedly excellent services). Continue reading
Many unusual and unexpected things are heard in the courts of Scotland. However I had not, to my knowledge, been in court when reference was being made to the football transfer window, at least in a case that had nothing to do with football teams!
A couple of weeks ago, there was the usual crowd in Court 13 at Glasgow Sheriff Court. Lots of cases (83 to be precise) were on the list, many of them mortgage repossessions. Lots of people had turned up without representation in an effort to keep the roof over their heads.
Generally each case has its own specific circumstances – illness, separation, loss of employment – leading to mortgage arrears and frantic efforts to stave off repossession. From time to time an unusual solution to the problem is suggested, but generally it is only liberal applications of money which can solve the problems (there are actually far more things that a debtor can do to protect his position, but that is for elsewhere). Continue reading
Yesterday, as is normal for a Friday morning, there was a packed courtroom in Glasgow Sheriff Court. This court was scheduled to deal with around 100 miscellaneous civil cases, including a number where parties were attending the court themselves as they did not have lawyers.
The Sheriff progressed quickly and efficiently through the morning’s business, taking care to explain to the unrepresented parties what was happening and working to, as the rules require, “secure the expeditious progress of the case”.
Early on came a lovely moment, which could only have occurred in the West of Scotland (and for those who point out it could have happened elsewhere, I disagree, so there!) Continue reading
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
I must say, yet again, that after the original tip by Duplesis re Inverness, the Scotcourts website has again come into its own!
A wee check, and this came into view.
As well as the bankruptcy petition in Inverness on 3rd October, another case is listed for that date, this time in Glasgow Sheriff Court.
||Bannatyne Kirkwood F – v – Craig Whyte
||Bannatyne Kirkwood France & Co – ms fs
This is down as a Summary Cause claim by BKF, well known defamation specialists, and the lawyers instructed by Mr Whyte to sue the BBC after the first BBC Inside Story programme last year (how long ago that now seems).
A Summary Cause means an action for between £3,000 and £5,000. Continue reading