Judges appointed by Scottish Ministers on the say so of other judges have become convicted criminals & alleged Benefits cheats yet Lord Advocate wont name them. AN ONGOING INVESTIGATION by Diary of Injustice into cover ups within the Scottish Judiciary and a lack of a judicial register of interests has revealed a number of Scottish Judges who can earn up to £200K a year have been investigated & charged with, or have PLED GUILTY to a string of CRIMINAL CHARGES while at least one other judge has been charged with BENEFITS FRAUD. However, prosecutors are so worried for the positions of some of the judges who have handed down guilty verdicts on criminal cases brought before them in court, the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) HAS REFUSED to disclose the identities of any of the judges involved, for fear of sparking investigations into their conduct while in office and calls for a wider investigation into Scotland’s judiciary.
The information came to light after Diary of Injustice was handed details of cases where judges have either been interviewed, charged, or cautioned by Police with regards to their conduct outside of the courtroom. As part of the still ongoing investigations, Diary of Injustice approached the Crown Office using Freedom of Information laws to seek details of members of the judiciary who had been prosecuted for criminal offences in the past few years.
The Crown Office, who issued two lengthy responses to FOI requests but refused to name any of the judges involved, even the benefits cheat, admitted several judges had been charged with, & had pled guilty to criminal offences. In comparison, if a member of the public is charged or convicted of Benefits offences by a Scottish judge, the Crown Office are more than eager to share the information with the media, pictures of the accused or those found guilty and issue lengthy comments about how the system catches those who deserve. Apparently not though when it comes to catching a crooked judge.
Mr Anthony McGeechan, the Deputy Director of Serious Casework for the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service said in his letter : “I can advise that the database operated by COPFS does not contain data that would allow COPFS to identify cases where the accused was a member of the judiciary. COPFS uses a live,operational case management system which is specifically designed to receive criminal and death reports from the police and other specialist reporting agencies and to manage these cases for prosecution purposes.The information held on the system is structured for these operational needs, rather than for statistical reporting or research purposes.”
However, as I have identified, Procurators Fiscals report cases where an allegation is made against a member of the judiciary to Crown Office. A hard copy file dating from 2007 is held at Crown Office. The information held in that file is that that 7 members of the judiciary have been reported to COPFS for criminal offences between 2007 and the present day.
The courts have indicated that the most important safeguard in that regard is an absolute guarantee against publication. In particular, I consider that the details of charges contained within a report to the Procurator Fiscal from the police or other reporting agency are not necessarily a reflection of any charges which the Procurator Fiscal may bring or deem appropriate and to release these to the public could cause speculation over an allegation without it having been tested in open court. Having considered the circumstances of this particular case, I have come to the conclusion that the public interest falls overwhelmingly in maintaining the exemptions in this instance.
The released information disclosed the following criminal cases involving Scottish judges came in a further reply from the Director of Serious Casework for the Crown Office, David Harvie :
• 1 contravention of the Road Traffic Act 1988, section 143 with an alternative charge of a contravention of section 165 of that Act – pled guilty to the alternative charge – sentence of £100
• 1 contravention of the Road Traffic Act 1988, section 5(1)(a) – pled guilty – sentence of £650 and disqualification from driving for 2 years
• 1 contravention of the Road Traffic Act 1988, section 3 – pled guilty – sentence of £200 and 4 penalty points
• 1 contravention of the Social Security Administration Act 1992, section 111A(1)(a) – plea of not guilty has been entered and the case is presently ongoing
However, the Crown Office REFUSED to release any further information on the cases, citing fears the public may be able to speculate on the nature & seriousness of the allegations & criminal charges made against the judges who Scotland’s prosecutors are increasingly relying on to hand down verdicts in cases where the Crown Office fails to present accurate or substantive evidence against accused.
Mr McGeechan continued : “The courts have indicated that the most important safeguard in that regard is an absolute guarantee against publication. In particular, I consider that the details of charges contained within a report to the Procurator Fiscal from the police or other reporting agency are not necessarily a reflection of any charges which the Procurator Fiscal may bring or deem appropriate and to release these to the public could cause speculation over an allegation without it having been tested in open court. Having considered the circumstances of this particular case, I have come to the conclusion that the public interest falls overwhelmingly in maintaining the exemptions in this instance.”
Mr McGeechan also admitted in one of the cases where ANOTHER judge had been charged with committing a criminal offence, there was “insufficient evidence to justify criminal proceedings”, a term now familiar in Scotland where members of the justice system appear to have escaped criminal proceedings on multiple occasions after ‘Crown Counsel” gave their usual ‘independent instructions’ not to proceed like in the case of the FOURTEEN LAWYERS who were not prosecuted for millions of pounds worth of LEGAL AID FRAUD after Crown Counsel gave similar instructions claiming a lack of evidence to prosecute.
The Crown Office admitted : “The one case that was not prosecuted, having carefully considered the facts and circumstances of this case, Crown Counsel gave an independent instruction that there was insufficient admissible evidence to justify criminal proceedings.”
While the information disclosed by the Crown Office, which can be viewed online here : Crown Office : Criminal Charges against Scottish Judges does not contain any names of members of the judiciary, Diary of Injustice has been made aware of other cases of a criminal nature involving Scottish judges, now being looked into by journalists.
A solicitor speaking to Diary of Injustice yesterday said it was a very serious matter that members of the judiciary who have been convicted of or are charged with criminal offences, appear to be hiding behind exemptions to Freedom of Information legislation so the public don’t get to find out their identities.
He said : “Clearly it is the public interest the identities of those serving on the bench who have criminal records be released. It is also of fundamental importance to the proper administration of justice that it be established what kinds of cases have been heard by these sheriffs or judges and how the cases concluded. There could well be some miscarriages of justice in all of this.”
The ongoing investigation by Diary of Injustice into members of Scotland’s judiciary has already revealed a series of judges appear to be involved in OFFSHORE TAX AVOIDANCE schemes, associations with convicted criminals & organised crime, prostitution rackets, accepting hospitality & payments from well known corrupt solicitors representing dodgy law firms while others on the bench are engaging in questionable investments & duties which appear to be in conflict with their positions as members of the judiciary. More on these findings can be read in an earlier article here : Offshore trusts, property holdings, insurance syndicates, hospitality from dodgy lawyers, yet no plans for a register of interests for Scottish judges
It has not yet been confirmed by the Lord President what sanctions or disciplinary action, if any has been taken against any of the judges who now hold criminal records like many brought before them in court.
All sheriffs appointed in Scotland by Scottish Ministers are recommended to the position by the Lord President, after being considered by the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland, a Scottish Government quango stuffed full of High Court judges, sheriffs, lawyers & quangocrats who earn £290 per day for choosing judges to fill vacant seats on the bench.
As there is no Judicial Register of Interests in Scotland at this time, there are little if no requirements for judges to disclose their criminal records or dodgy financial interests. However, a public petition has been filed with the Scottish Parliament on this matter, now being addressed by other jurisdictions around the world such as New Zealand who are moving ahead with a Register of Pecuniary Interests of Judges Bill.