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Drug smuggling, threats to destroy clients & Prosecutors convicted of child porn offences : Welcome to Scotland’s not-so ‘world class’ or ‘well respected’ legal profession

18 May

Scotland’s ‘well respected’ legal profession in the dock as solicitor jailed for drugs smuggling. YET another rough week for Scotland’s world famous legal profession has ended with the sentencing of solicitor David Blair Wilson to four years in jail for attempted smuggling of mobile phones & drugs into Saughton jail. As some legal observers have pointed out to journalists today, many feel the case only reached court because the media had reported on events surrounding the high profile swoop on Blair Wilson outside Saughton Prison in October 2011.

Blair Wilson had been targeted by a sting operation after Police & Prison authorities had been tipped off he was running a well planned operation, smuggling illegal drugs which had been heat sealed into pages of A4 paper, and other banned items such as mobile phones into Saughton Prison.

Lawyer held by jail Drug Cops Sunday Mail 09 October 2011Sunday Mail reported arrest of David Blair Wilson in October 2011. His trial, which lasted six days in April, saw dramatic CCTV footage of plain clothes police officers blocking any attempt by Blair Wilson to drive away in his silver hatchback after making an exit from prison buildings. Police then led him away in handcuffs. Police subsequently searched Blair Wilson’s car and uncovered mobile phones, diazepam tablets worth up to £2800 at inflated prison prices, and cannabis resin with a prison value of £4000 along with other contraband items.

A jury’s majority verdict convicted Blair Wilson of attempting to smuggle three mobile phones, three SIM cards along with two chargers and two earphones into the jail. He was also found guilty, by majority, of being concerned in the supply of cannabis resin, diazepam and body-building drugs, in particular to prisoner Lee Brown who is serving 18 years for attempted murder.

Blair Wilson rose to fame as a central character in the Magic Circle scandal of the late 1980’s, where the most senior members of Scotland’s judiciary had been investigated for having inappropriate liaisons with ‘young males’ and ‘rent boys’, liaisons which has clearly spilled over into the courts system, according to Police intelligence at the time.

Scottish Law Reporter has reported on the Magic Circle in an article HERE and has also featured a report on the key role of a former Lord Advocate in what was known at the time as Operation Planet, an investigation run by Lothian & Borders Police to catch crooked judges & prosecutors ‘who were swapping boys for favours in Scottish Courts’, HERE. Lord Nimmo Smith QC’s REPORT ON MAGIC CIRCLE GAY JUSTICE SCANDAL, has been widely refuted by many as a whitewash of the corruption in the Scottish judiciary, which some claim, with evidence, continues to this day.

Solicitor Grant Docherty – threatened to destroy a client. THIS WEEK had already started on a bad note for Scotland’s legal profession, when it was reported Police are allegedly investigating another solicitor, Grant Docherty, the current head of Banking & Finance for DWF Biggart Baillie after evidence presented to the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal (SSDT) revealed a torrent of messages containing threats & abuse from Mr Docherty to a client, over a failed house purchase. More on the story can be found at Scottish Law Reporter here : Police called in to investigate DWF Biggart Baillie’s Banking & Finance head solicitor Grant Docherty, fined £7.5K by Discipline Tribunal over ‘crazed’ threats made to client

Scottish Law Reporter reported that evidence presented to the SSDT and included in complaints made to the Law Society of Scotland revealed that solicitor Docherty (aged 49), who is currently head of the Banking & Finance team at DWF Biggart Baillie said Robert Rankin would be ripped “to shreds” after failing to come up money for a house purchase. The Discipline Tribunal also heard that Docherty, 49, sent his client a string of abusive texts including one which warned: “I’ll come after you with everything I have.” A further text said: “This is personal. You’re a liar and the worst sort of human being.”

It was also reported the Law Society of Scotland’s Prosecuting Fiscal, Paul Marshall, told the Scottish Solicitor’s Discipline tribunal in Edinburgh of the contents of the messages, which said in one case : “He said he would rip Robert Rankin to shreds.” Mr Marshall went on to tell the Discipline Tribunal that some of Docherty’s 33 messages, which had been sent between December 2010 and January 2011, were also seen by the client’s young son. One of the messages said Docherty would “ensure” Robert was “destroyed”.

Docherty only stopped threatening his client, who had been put in a state of fear & alarm by the solicitor’s actions, when Police were called in. Complaints were then made to the Law Society of Scotland who brought the prosecution of Docherty before the Tribunal hearing in April where the solicitor was eventually fined £7,500 after being found guilty of professional misconduct although allowed to continue working.

A month on from the Tribunal hearing involving Grant Docherty, the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal have failed to publish its decision and any evidence heard during proceedings. Scottish Law Reporter added in their report that discussions have apparently been taking place “with a view to refrain from publishing some of the more threatening texts sent by the solicitor, which a well placed legal insider claims are allegedly of a violent nature”.

The brewing row over the SSDT’s conduct in the Tribunal hearing against solicitor Grant Docherty apparently relates to the content of many of the messages sent by Docherty to his client, content which some allege to contain life threatening statements which the SSDT do not want to publish in their final decision. Yet despite the seriousness of the threats made by the solicitor, the Tribunal chairman Alistair Cockburn could only manage a comment claiming : “The expressions used were unfitting of a solicitor.”

Admittedly, Mr Cockburn’s lack of shock may well be put down to the fact that solicitors physically threatening their clients has become commonplace in complaints, with substantial evidence pointing to the Law Society watering down client;s allegations to ensure most cases never made it to the media.

Former Procurator Fiscal Depute Stuart MacFarlane who served in Iraq, awaits sentence for downloading child porn. MIDWEEK faired no better, after the media reported that former Procurator Fiscal Depute Stuart MacFarlane (45), from Glasgow, had admitted downloading child pornography from the internet, reported further on Scottish Law Reporter here : Shame for Crown Office & Lord Advocate as former Procurator Fiscal Stuart MacFarlane admits downloading child porn, added to sex offenders register

The former Procurator Fiscal, who had served in the Army in Iraq, and is now apparently working as a contractor in Afghanistan, was caught with at least 15,000 images of child pornography on computer equipment at his home after Police succeeded in gaining a search warrant to raid his premises and seize computer equipment. Images seized by Police from computer equipment owned & used by MacFarlane showed acts of a sexual nature against minors, and also pictures of sexual acts with animals. Macfarlane now awaits to hear if he will be handed a custodial prison sentence on MacFarlane although his name was placed on the sex offenders register.

MacFarlane had served as a Procurator Fiscal Depute at Scotland’s Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) for many years, and during his time there the media reported MacFarlane strangely escaped prosecution for earlier charges of indecency with a prostitute the Crown Office claiming at the time “it was not in the public interest” to prosecute.

The current Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland, and the Crown Office have issued no statement or comment on their former colleague’s admission to downloading child porn, instead preferring to run off Press Releases praising their own conviction rate, and doubtless hoping for the reinstatement of bonuses or inflated salaries.

Philip Yelland, Head of Regulation at the Law Society of Scotland. Coming along to reassure us the Law Society of Scotland would act further in the case of David Blair Wilson, but apparently not in the case of the convicted former Prosecutor, or the top banking lawyer who threatened his client, the Law Society of Scotland’s Director of Regulation, Philip Yelland issued a Press Release stating : Former solicitor, David Blair-Wilson was today, Friday 17 May, sentenced to four  years in prison at Edinburgh High Court. The length of sentence means that he faces automatic prosecution before the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal. Mr Blair-Wilson has not held a practicing certificate which would allow him to work as a solicitor since October 2011.

Mr Yelland, who has been at the Law Society of Scotland for 23 years and who’s name has become familiar to clients who have received no justice against corrupt solicitors, commented : “Solicitors are expected to maintain the highest standards both in their professional and personal lives. They are bound by rules including rules about their conduct, and serious criminal convictions are a breach of these rules. We will get official notice of the sentence from the authorities, which will allow us to raise a formal complaint which enables us to take a prosecution to the independent Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal.”

Mr Yelland, after twenty three years at the Law Society, handling all the cases you have, your department & its staff saving hundreds of solicitors from the long arm of the law, from justice for clients, saving those solicitors who should rightly be stuck off after they ruined clients lives, interfering in many client’s legal cases in courts against solicitors … you must be kidding.

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