Crime & drugs empire at Crown Office revealed. AMID a string of collapsed cases involving high profile criminals, plea deals with gangsters, failures to to prosecute those responsible for multiple deaths, & multi million pound frauds involved legal eagles – documents obtained by the media reveal Scotland’s Prosecutors have their very own crime gang – right at the heart of the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).
Information released in response to Freedom of Information requests now reveal prosecutors & key staff among the ranks of Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland’s £110m-a-year Crown Office empire – have been charged with a string of criminal offences over crimes ranging from violence to misuse of drugs, making threats and offences against Police Officers.
In a period of just two years – from November 2013 to November 2015 – the Crown Office admitted it retained records showing 15 cases reported to COPFS containing allegations of criminal offences by COPFS staff. Court proceedings were taken in 11 cases, three cases were disposed of by non-court disposal and no proceedings were taken in one case.
The charges brought against staff include assault and vandalism; road traffic offences; threatening and abusive conduct; breach of the peace; Misuse of drugs/offences against the police; data protection offences/attempt to pervert the course of justice.
In the 11 cases where court proceedings were raised, these were concluded as follows: Guilty plea accepted (4); accused found guilty after trial (1); case marked for no further action (1); court proceedings active (4).
Crooks among Them – Prosecutors own crime gang revealed. The only case where a COPFS employee was found guilty after trial relates to that of Iain Sawers, 27, from Edinburgh, who was found guilty of passing information to the criminal fraternity – during a seven-day trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in September 2014.
A jury found Sawers guilty on a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice, the Official Secrets Act and nine under the Data Protection Act.
Sawers joined the Productions Office of the Procurator Fiscal Service in Chambers Street in the city in 2008.
His induction covered security of information and the warning that any breach could lead to disciplinary proceedings. He was also told, under the Official Secrets Act, the unauthorised disclosure of documents was an offence.
The offences by Sawers came to light when police began an investigation into the case of 27-year old Calum Stewart on charges of breach of bail and attempting to pervert the course of justice by threatening his ex-partner, Kelli Anne Smillie, if she gave evidence in a trial in July, 2013.
Stewart paid for her and her mother to leave the country and go on holiday to Benidorm on the week of the trial.
The police investigations led them to a number of phone calls and text messages between Stewart and Sawers between 24 and 29 January 2014.
These led to Stewart phoning Kelli Anne threatening her and her mother. They were to be witnesses in the outstanding trial which has since been deserted by the Crown.
The police also recovered Sawers’ iPhone. Although many messages had been deleted, forensic experts were able to recover them and the telephone numbers of the senders and receiver. They showed that between April 2008 and January 2014, Sawers had passed on information to other people on nine occasions.
A check on the productions office computer showed shortly after receiving a call, Sawers’ secret personal user number was used to access the information.
The jury also found Stewart guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice and breach of bail. Neither men gave evidence during the trial – much to the relief of the Lord Advocate.
The Crown Office also admitted 40 staff had been subject to disciplinary action, been suspended, dismissed or have been moved to other duties as a result of disciplinary action between January 2013 to late last year and that 14 of those staff members were suspended in the period requested. The reasons for suspension included allegations related to potential criminal activity and/or charged by Police; and breach of trust.
Of the 40 members of staff who were suspended, 10 were dismissed from the Crown Office.
However officials refused to identify the reasons for their dismissal, insisting they wished to protect the identities of their colleagues and nature of the sackings.
A legal insider has since come forward this week to indicate former Crown Office staff including some of those who were sacked or had faced criminal charges – are back working with private law firms and public bodies with links to the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Sun newspaper reported further, here:
EXCLUSIVE by RUSSELL FINDLAY 7 Mar 2016
COPS charged 15 Crown Office workers with crimes including drugs, police assault and perverting the course of justice.
Violence, vandalism, threats and data breaches were also among the alleged offences.
And 11 of those cases reported over the last two years went to court.
A source said: “The nature of the criminal charges are very serious.
“The Crown Office should be beyond reproach as it’s responsible for highly sensitive information about the most serious crimes and sudden deaths.”
Four of the 11 employees taken to court pleaded guilty, one case was dropped, four are ongoing and the outcome of one is unknown.
It’s thought Edinburgh procurator fiscal’s office worker Iain Sawers, 26, is the only one found guilty.
He was jailed for 18 months in 2014 for attempting to pervert the course of justice by leaking details of cases.
The information about staff charges from the two years to November 2015 was unearthed using freedom of information laws.
Similar data on police officers accused of crimes is published by the Scottish Police Authority.
Last night, Scottish Tory justice spokesman Margaret Mitchell said: “The Crown Office should be no different from Police Scotland in that they should routinely publish this information.”
The Crown Office is Scotland’s prosecution agency headed by the country’s most senior law officer Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland.
A spokesman said: “We employ more than 1,600 staff, the overwhelming majority of whom uphold our high standards of professionalism. Any breach of rules is dealt with swiftly and appropriately.”