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As crooked as bankers & lawyers : No requirement for Judges to disclose criminality, tax dodging or corruption says the Judicial Office for Scotland

30 Jun

Courts Judges Scotland montageJudges claim public have no right to know of Judicial corruption, tax fiddles or criminal records. SCOTTISH JUDGES have NO REQUIREMENT to disclose any criminal charges or convictions, allegations of corrupt made against them, their business & financial affairs which in some cases appear to constitute tax dodging schemes, or associations with well known gangsters, said the Judicial Office for Scotland in response to queries made by Diary of Injustice as part of an ongoing investigation into corrupt practices in Scotland’s ‘untouchable’ & unaccountable judiciary. The refusal was handed down during the final days of Lord Hamilton’s tenure as Lord President.

In response to a Freedom of Information Request, the Head of Strategy & Governance for the Judicial Office for Scotland pointedly REFUSED to provide any details of information disclosing whether any members of the judiciary in Scotland have declared or informed the Scottish Court Service in the past three years of :

Any offshore investments,

Unrecorded cash transactions,

Payments for outside work,

Any application of “tax efficient” schemes to avoid paying taxes,

Associations or meetings with convicted criminals,

Vehicle accidents,  criminal charges, or being interviewed by Police.

The reasons given by the Judicial Office for refusing to disclose key details on what Scots judges are getting up to, are that much of the information requested is held by an ‘arms length body’ created by the Scottish Court Service which holds such information on behalf of the Lord President, rather than passing it directly to him.

Judicial Office for Scotland refusal to disclose criminal records etc of judgesExcuses, Excuses … The Judicial Office said : The Judicial Office for Scotland was established by the Scottish Court Service to provide administrative support to the Lord President in the discharge of his non-judicial functions as head of the judiciary in Scotland. Such information as may be generated in that context, including any information of the nature requested by you and which may be in the possession of the Judiciary Office for Scotland is generated for and held by the Judicial Office for the purposes of the Lord President and in our opinion falls within section 3(2)(a()(i) of the 2002 Act, i.e. held on behalf of another person. I therefore advise you that the information is not held by the Scottish Court Service. I refer you to section 17 of the 2002 Act. Your request for information in the terms outlined above is accordingly refused.

A senior freedom of information campaigner compared this arrangement to a tax avoidance scheme. He said : “One branch of the courts is holding the information on behalf of another so the other is allowed to claim he knows nothing about it. Is this the kind of honesty or transparency we are supposed to expect from our judges ?”

And, even in the face of recent coverage where it was revealed a Scottish Judge was charged with being a BENEFITS CHEAT, the Judicial Office for Scotland also argued there was sufficient regulations in place via a Statement of Principles of Judicial Ethics, a code which one whistleblower has told Diary of Injustice “is a joke”. It was also agued that the Lord President, who earns almost double the salary of the Prime Minister, is conveniently excluded from Freedom of Information legislation.

The Judicial Office continued : The Lord President has issued a Statement of Principles of Judicial Ethics for the Scottish Judiciary and has made Complaints About the Judiciary (Scotland) Rules 2011. However the Lord President is not a public authority for the purposes of the 2002 Act. Accordingly he is not required by law to provide information in terms of that Act.

As part of an ongoing investigation into Scotland’s judiciary, Diary of Injustice has featured several reports on cover ups, tax dodging, benefits cheating and sex scandal within the Scottish Judiciary, all which have been kept secret from the public. Information uncovered by Diary of Injustice, despite a lack of a judicial register of interests 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.

Further enquiries saw Scotland’s Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) forced into disclosing data via Freedom of Information requests submitted by Diary of Injustice which can be viewed in an earlier report here : CAREER CROOKED : Investigation reveals Scottish judges are CONVICTED CRIMINALS, Drunk Drivers,Tax Dodgers & alleged BENEFITS CHEATS.

Disclosures from the Crown Office relating to judges criminal convictions can be viewed online here : Crown Office : Criminal Charges against Scottish Judges. A further report focussing on the refusal to identify any of the judges concerned features here : ALL THE LORD PRESIDENT’S MEN : Benefits cheats, drunk drivers & tax dodgers, yet identities of convicted Scottish judges to remain secret for now

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

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.

More on the petition for a register of interests of Scotland’s judges can be read here : JUDGE OUR JUDGES : Petition seeks ‘judicial transparency’, asks Westminster require judiciary to ‘declare all’ to a Register of Interests and an update later next week will feature the terms of the Holyrood petition.

In an update to the ongoing investigation, Diary of Injustice has been made aware of some efforts underway to streamline the tax arrangements of certain members of Scotland’s judiciary while in another area a law firm has reported at least one member of the judiciary has asked for ‘alternative arrangements for remuneration’ for work including speeches he has undertaken for several unnamed Scottish law firms. As this clearly amounts to an effort to dodge compliance with even the current ‘standard’ of ethics for Scottish judges, more headlines are expected to follow.

Perhaps Scotland’s new Lord President, Lord Gill, will take a different approach from his predecessor Lord Hamilton, and swiftly enact a full register of judicial interests, as Holyrood is now being asked to consider.

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