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Poor Response From Justice Minister

(August 18, 2008)

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 3:31 PM
Subject: Re: E-mails to Cabinet Secretary for Justice

Dianne Drysdale
 
The information is not helpful.
 
I made a criminal complaint to a Chief Inspector Andrew MacLean in October 2007. It related to dozens of irregularities in various court cases and incidents reported to the police involving the same parties. CI MacLean, having considered detailed documentary evidence over a number of months, concluded that the complaint was one of corruption relating to the conduct of various senior legal figures including judges,solicitors, police officers, ex-police officers and a police employee. He concluded the allegations had to be investigated collectively. He confirmed by email that all of the individuals identified in the complaint would be interviewed as part of the criminal investigation. On 21 March 2008 he confirmed in person that Sheriff Principal Sir Stephen Young, Sheriff Derek Pyle, and Justice Simon Fraser would be interviewed and makes it very clear they are the subject of a criminal investigation, my record of the meeting is absolutely clear on this matter. He also confirmed that various solicitors, police officers and ex-police officers and a police employee would be interviewed. On 30 April 2008 he emailed again and confirmed that all of the individuals identified in the allegations would be interviewed as part of his criminal investigation into corruption within the justice system. On 26 June 2008 he emailed to confirm he had been advised by an unamed source that he could not investigate the PF as he had originally intended. On 28 July 2008 he emailed to confirm that he did not interview Sheriff Principal Sir Stephen Young, Sheriff Derek Pyle, and Justice Simon Fraser as he intended on legal advice from Inverness Sheriff Court and Highland Council Solicitors Office. CI Maclean is now refusing to give a timescale for the release of his detailed findings and is refusing to answer questions on his investigation. Your position is that of Mr Dunn who claiming the investigation as detailed to me by CI MacLean never happened.
 
The facts of this complaint are that there is detailed documentary evidence that gives reasonable grounds to be suspicious that senior legal figures within the justice system have not acted impartially in cases involving myself and two ex-police officers, a police employee and one other - this is a criminal matter that requires to be investigated thoroughly and independently and as a matter of urgency. There should be a zero tolerance approach to criminality within the justice system and it is entirely unacceptable that clear evidence of criminality remains to be investigated after this length of time. To suggest that serious criminal allegations of this nature are a matter for the Citizens Advice Bureau or Law Society is absurd and I fully expect the Justice Minister to intervene to ensure justice is done and is seen to be done.
 
Stuart Hunt

Dear Mr Hunt

Please find attached a response to your e-mail and phone enquiries.  In the event that you are unable to open the attachment I have copied the text below.

Yours sincerely

D.Drysdale

<<2008.0029482.pdf>>

Your ref:             

Our ref: 2008/0029482OR

18 August 2008


Dear Mr Hunt

Thank you for e-mail of 25 July and your subsequent e-mails of 29 and 30 July and 1,11 and 13 August to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill MSP about your experiences with the judicial system in Inverness.  I have been asked to reply on the Cabinet Secretary’s behalf.  I am aware that you also phoned this office on 14 August and this is also in response to that call.

The Scottish Government cannot comment or become involved in individual cases.  The courts are completely separate from and independent of the Scottish Government, we therefore cannot change or become involved in decisions made by the courts and therefore cannot reverse any decision made by them. 

If you have concerns about cases you are currently involved in or the sequestration proceedings against you, you should discuss these with a solicitor (who may charge for their services) or the Citizens Advice Bureau.

If you have any enquiries relating to bankruptcy you should contact the Accountant in Bankruptcy, 1 Pennyburn Road, Kilwinning, KA13 6SA.  Further details are contained on their website  http://www.aib.gov.uk/Home

Regarding your complaints about the case against you which has been referred to the High Court by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, I understand that your appeal against your conviction is due to call in court on 28 August 2008.  As the matter is pending before the court, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this time.

In relation to your complaint about the investigations carried out by Northern Constabulary.  I understand that these investigations were carried out  by the Professional Standards Department of that force and related to your complaints against police officers.  I understand that the Deputy Crown Agent, John Dunn, has written to you previously explaining that the remit of the Professional Standards Department extends to the actions of police officers and does not extend to the investigation of the professional conduct of anyone other than police officers.

I understand that your complaints against the Procurator Fiscal at Inverness have been considered by officials at Crown Office in terms of their customer complaints procedure and that they have found no evidence to suggest the Procurator Fiscal has acted improperly in any way.

You mentioned in your e-mail of 1 August that you are already aware of the procedure for making complaints against the police so I will not repeat that process here.  If you have any concerns about the professional conduct of a solicitor you should contact the Law Society of Scotland, 26 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, EH3 7YR.  If you have a complaint about an individual Judge or Sheriff, your concerns can be sent to: Head of Judicial Appointments and Finance Division, Scottish Government Justice Department, Hayweight House, 23 Lauriston Street, EDINBURGH EH3 9DQ.

I hope that this information is helpful.

Yours sincerely


Dianne Drysdale


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