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JUSTICE MINISTER ASKED TO URGENTLY INTERVENE

(July 25, 2008)
Mr MacAskill
 
I write to highlight concerns and request your intervention in a matter of considerable public interest, namely that of the operation and conduct of the justice system in Scotland.
 
My specific concerns relate to the operation of the justice system centred in Inverness. Over a number of years clear evidence has emerged relating to dozens of irregularities in a number of cases involving myself and two ex-police officers, a Northern Constabulary employee and one other. The evidence strongly supports the position that a number of senior legal figures, solicitors and serving police officers within the justice system in Inverness have not acted impartially in the cases concerned.
 
After discussions and consideration of various issues detailed to HMIC, SCCRC, SPSO etc a criminal complaint was made to Northern Constabulary on 26 October 2007 - it was clear that the remit of the various regulatory bodies was extremely limited and they were unable to consider the allegations as a whole. Some of the issues identified in the complaint suggested to me that it would be appropriate for Northern Constabulary to pass the complaint on to another independent investigating authority, possibly another police force. These concerns were expressed to the investigating officer who assured me that Northern Constabulary were capable of investigating the allegations as a whole and the complaint would be dealt with in proper manner. The investigating officer was also firmly of the opinion that the irregularities should be investigated collectively. He made it very clear that all of the individuals identified in the allegations would be interviewed as part of his investigation - this included various senior judicial figures, solicitors, police officers, ex-police officers and a Northern Constabulary employee. In his opinion the complaint being made was effectively one of corruption within the justice system and would be investigated as a criminal complaint.
 
A statement was given to the police on 12 November 2007. I was updated in person by the investigating officer on two occasions, 16 January 2008 and 21 March 2008 and was told the investigation was likely to be concluded by the end of May 2008. I was then told by the investigating officer on 26 June 2008 that he had been advised that he could not consider the role of the Procurator Fiscal in the complaint as he had originally intended - this was of great concern as it effectively meant he could not follow up significant lines of enquiry relating to the investigation.  I am now being told by a senior figure in the Crown Office that the investigating officer I have liaised with over a 8 month period has told the Crown Office that no such investigation, as detailed to me by the same officer, has ever taken place. Not surprisingly, what little confidence I had in the Northern Constabulary "investigation" has now evaporated.
 
Clearly these are extremely serious allegations and I would have reasonably expected that any investigation would be carried out expiditiously, thoroughly and totally independently of those individuals and organisations directly identified in the complaint. This has not happened and at this point in time it would be very easy to believe that the primary objective of many of the individuals involved in this complaint has been to supress the evidence that is currently available. The impression I have formed is that there are individuals within the justiciary, fiscal's office and police who see the distortion and manipulation of evidence for friends and associates as a perk of the job - impartiality has now been replaced by vested interests and self preservation. I believe this impression is fully supported by the evidence and is now very much in the public interest and the interests of justice that the evidence is independently scrutinised. The circumstances of this case have already lead to one referral from the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission with a second application being "peculiarly" outwith their remit.
 
I trust that you will take immediate steps to ensure the evidence associated with this complaint is independently examined with the associated individuals held accountable for their actions.
 
I look forward to your response.
 
 
Stuart Hunt

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