Making Our Own Heaven 27 February 2006
By Henry Makow Ph.D.
The world often seems like a stinky public toilet without ventilation.
This is because Protagorus' dictum "man is the measure of all things"
is the official religion.
Modern culture mostly consists of reflections of our degenerate selves, a "wilderness of mirrors" as T.S. Eliot said.
We inhale our own fumes.
The religion of man is "humanism "or "illuminism."
Plato tried to correct Protagorus. "God and not man is the measure of all things."
We didn't listen to Plato.
God is now banished from public life. When was the last time a Divine Standard was applied to anything? That would be like a breath of fresh air.
J. Edgar Hoover said, "The individual is handicapped by coming face-to-face with a "conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists."
The Illuminati, a Luciferian secret society, the highest echelon of Freemasonry, controls the world. (That's their logo on the US dollar along with the words "we did it!" in Latin.)
Lucifer represents man's rebellion against natural and moral laws i.e. God's design. The Luciferians are very rich. They need to short circuit God's plan in order to impose their "New World Order."
We are being inducted into a Luciferian cult via the mass media and education. It promotes our animal instincts because we are to be cattle and servants.
The Illuminati created Nazism and Communism (and Zionism), and every war including the "War on Terror."
Wittingly or unwittingly, our "leaders" have sworn allegiance to the Illuminati, the price of success today.
Look at Dylan Avery's video "9-11 Loose Change" and tell me the ruling class is not the accomplice to mass murder or its cover-up.
The Sept. 11 outrage took place exactly eleven years after George H.W. Bush proclaimed the "New World Order" to Congress Sept. 11, 1990. Coincidence?
An adjacent 47-storey building, World Trade Center Seven, was admittedly demolished on Sept. 11, 2001. Another coincidence?
The Illuminati have declared war on God and the human race. We are cannon fodder, human sacrifice.
The human race has suffered more than enough duplicity and degradation to justify revolt. But we have been programmed by occult magicians to accept our suffering as inevitable, necessary and even heroic.
REMOVING THE NEW WORLD ODOUR
This is about spiritual survival in a world gone insane. A few weeks ago, I mentioned taking breaks from the world, and finding ways to uplift and nourish the soul. http://www.savethemales.ca/001374.html
We have a tendency to feel helpless, unable to affect faraway events. In fact, we are on the front lines. The New World Order wants our mind and soul. We fight back by dedicating ourselves to God instead.
First we have to short-circuit their two main control systems: sex and money.
We can direct our sex drive by confining it to a monogamous relationship.
We can escape the money compulsion by living within our means, and disciplining ourselves so money is a minor concern.
Henry David Thoreau said, "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to leave alone." The truly rich man is the one who does not think about money.
By this standard many billionaires are paupers. In fact, the more money a person has, the harder it is to think of anything else.
Why should we obey God? God is really the principle of our own development and the path to our happiness and fulfillment. We serve ourselves when we serve God.
Think life has no meaning? Life has intrinsic meaning when we fulfill God's purpose. We need to ask, "What does God want of me? What was I born to do?"
God speaks to us through our spirit and conscience. We don't hear Him because our minds are like mirrors facing the world. We need to turn the mirror around so it faces the soul inside and shows its back to the world.
Instead of blotting up the world, which makes us weary and sick, we focus on things that reflect our desire for purity, hope beauty and goodness.
Instead of letting the world determine what we think (and therefore feel) we create our own world based on how we want to feel. That's what faith is all about, making spiritual reality paramount.
"I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor," Thoreau wrote in "Walden."
"It is something to carve a statue...but it is far more glorious to carve ...the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour."
By making our thoughts conform to our soul, instead of the world, we create our own heaven.
All great religions teach us to control our thoughts. Our minds are altars and our thoughts are offerings to God.
"Muddied water, let stand, becomes clear," said Lao Tzu.
In the Hindu tradition, mind discipline is called "Raja Yoga." By learning to meditate, we learn to have constructive thoughts. Christians might maintain their vigilance by asking, " What would Christ do? What would Christ think?" Christianity, in a nutshell, is the imitation of Christ.
Prayer is another form of meditation. Whatever our opinion of Timothy Leary, he had the right idea in High Priest: "Prayer is the compass, the gyroscope, the centering device to give you direction, courage and trust..."
A CONCENTRATION CAMP IN THE MIND
How long has it been since you felt happy? Yes, it rankles that pathetic scoundrels control the world. But man is not the measure of all things. No matter what happens on earth, God is the only Reality. Look beyond man and focus on spiritual reality: beauty, goodness, justice and love.
We place ourselves in concentration camps before they're even built. The Illuminati is not likely to shatter the illusion of freedom. There is no better way to control people. But even if they did, we must be capable of joy even then. God is Joy and God is far greater than men.
The key is to ignore the crowd, which is manipulated by the Illuminati. It's good to be aware but we do not dance to a tune tapped out by degenerates.
Retiring from the world periodically ensures that we don't forfeit the only sphere where we still have power. It enables us to make a wholesome contribution to society.
As Paul Elmer More said, "A day that makes me happy makes me wise." Let us master the art of happiness.
MASONS TARGETING JAPAN 27 February 2006
Saburo Katagiri, 32°
Senior Grand Warden
Grand Lodge of Japan
FREEMASONRY IN JAPAN
A long history of anti-Masonic propaganda has hindered the growth of Freemasonry in Japan
Some of the prejudices(OR TRUTH) most Japanese currently have in their minds are:
Freemasonry is ruled by the Zionists;
Masonry's goal is to conquer the world's economy;
Freemasonry is responsible for many of the past wars;
Masons are devil worshippers.
In my view, these misconceptions were caused by various happenings during the past 150 years. Prior to the mid-19th century, Japan was isolated from the outside world, and its people had no knowledge of Freemasonry. In 1865, Masonry was started in Japan by Westerners in the foreign communities of Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe, and Nagasaki. These Masons, in order to maintain the privacy of their Lodge meetings, had to deal with the Meiji government's regulation that required the attendance of an official from the government at all private meetings. After negotiations, the Masons gained the government's approval for privacy, but, in return, they had to promise that no Japanese would be accepted into the Fraternity and no publicity regarding Freemasonry would be imparted to the Japanese people.
This was the "Gentlemen's Agreement" which remained in effect until 1941 when the Pacific War started. Because of this agreement, the Japanese were completely ignorant about Masonry, and the concept slowly developed that Masonry was only for foreigners. Some newspaper articles reported that Masons refused to be interviewed when asked questions about the Fraternity. Notwithstanding, a handful of Japanese did become Masons while residing overseas.
After World War I, General Erich von Ludendorff and his wife wrote books and lectured to the effect that the war had been caused by the joint conspiracy of Jews and Freemasons, which led to Germany's defeat. Although these were Ludendorff's personal concepts, they became the first accusations of an alleged "joint conspiracy." This scapegoating campaign was not too effective, but when Hitler gained power, the Nazis used Ludendorff's ideas, more than 7,000 Germans, including 1,265 Masons were imprisoned, and many were killed during World War II.
Coinciding with the Japanese invasion into Korea and China after the Russo- Japanese War in the early 20th century, militarist groups in Japan gained power and copied the Nazi Jew-Freemasonry strategy, mainly because of the fear of the spread of Communism. They thought liberalism and democracy, the fundamental principles of Masonry, were the roots of Communism. Anti- Masonry and anti-Jewish campaigns were aggressively carried out by General Shioten who, through his books and lectures, was effective in deceiving the average Japanese citizens. In some years, he conducted over 100 lectures.
When the Pacific War started in 1941, the political police raided the Masonic Lodges, and most of their paraphernalia was seized and later exhibited to the public at major department stores, further brainwashing the public with anti-Masonic and anti-Semitic propaganda.
Thus, the concept of "The Joint Conspiracy of Jews and Masons" was deeply implanted in the minds of the Japanese, and this prejudice still remains, especially among the aged Japanese who were directly influenced by this illogical campaign.
In 1945, the restriction forbidding Japanese to petition Masonic Lodges was removed, but most Japanese were and still are either uninformed or misinformed about Freemasonry because no significant efforts were made by the Fraternity in Japan to furnish factual information to the Japanese.
Further, Japan's imaginative and sensational journalism has published hundreds of books and articles accusing Masons of being devil worshippers and conspirators working for world domination by Masonry. Accordingly, suspicion has deeply accumulated in the minds of the Japanese people, and this situation has been compounded by Masonry's refusal to respond. Rather than working to dispel these misconceptions, Masonry has simply hoped the deceptions will somehow disappear.
Clearly, today we must realize the seriousness of this problem and turn the tide by conducting aggressive educational activities to target the Japanese who represent the potential and future Masonic membership in Japan.
Why the USA backs Israel against the Middle East 27 February 2006
Masonry and the Middle East
by Paul Rich, Ph.D.
University of the Americas-Puebla, Mexico,
and Hoover Institution, Stanford, University
There is a profound irony to the relationship between Freemasonry and the Middle East. No world organization owes more to the region in the way of its motifs, its symbols, and its rituals. But no organization in the course of its presence in the Middle East has encountered more criticism, more disapproval, and more outright government persecution.
Both because of Muslim injunctions against Masonry and because of the suspicions of Middle Eastern regimes about its political purposes, the fraternity has had a twilight existence in Arab world. Often the lodges meet in secret and in fear of their officers being carted off to the police station. A raid on one lodge in Saudi Arabia is described by a Mason in graphic detail:
"Individually and as a group, the four Masons were subjected over and over again to a never-ending interrogation concerning their Masonic activities. An officer with the rank of major was in charge and conducted the lengthy, detailed investigation. And all of the materials seized during the raid on the Masonic Lodge were gathered and pored over in fine detail. Later on, George Freygang related that the documentation in possession of the secret police before the infamous raid convinced him that the Saudi Security had 'copies of everything' (George’s own words) that had been generated by many of the Masons, including a number of phone conversations."
Whatever Masonry may be in Europe or North America, it truly is a clandestine organization in much of the Arab world, notwithstanding its public relations efforts elsewhere to achieve a better image. The present situation of Freemasonry in countries where the majority of the population are Muslims is precarious, despite long efforts to establish a Masonic presence:
"The first Lodge erected in the Middle East was established by Scotland at Aden in 1850. This appears to have been followed by a Lodge in Palestine about 1873. However, most Masonic development was spawned in this century, beginning with English Lodges located in Iraq shortly after the First World War. Unfortunately, the lot of the Craft in the Middle East has not generally been a happy one. Only in Israel has Masonry flourished, with that country possessing a regular Grand Lodge.
"Outside of Israel very few Lodges remain, with the oldest survivor being a Scottish Lodge in Jordan, dating from 1925. British-warranted Lodges that formerly existed in Iraq, South Yemen (Aden), and elsewhere on the Arabian Peninsula have all been extinguished as the result of political pressure. A few German-warranted Lodges work in Arabia, having been set up in only very recent years. However, their longer term future must be uncertain. In Iran, which has lately had a regular Grand Lodge, Freemasonry has been destroyed, almost literally, and this occurrence must rate as one of the greatest tragedies in Masonic history. In short, in view of the turbulent political and religious situation in the Arab world, it would appear most unlikely that the Craft will expand in the Middle East in the foreseeable future."
Most Masons would deny that there is any just cause for the animosity or that Masonry conflicts with religious views. Despite being outlawed in Saudi Arabia, the lodge leaders there like to think that their presence is benign. Many conservative Muslims would be much less charitable. These differing opinions depend partly on interpretation of symbolism. What Masons take simply as fraternal ritual is—to some of the deeply religious, Muslim or Christian—a parody of their faith. A Masonic authority comments on the custom of lodges of displaying a version of the Bible on the lodge altar:
"The Bible is not displayed on our altars now and has never been for the reason that Masons are required to believe its teachings. We know that there is a very large element of the Craft the world over who do not believe the teachings of the New Testament. We know that many individual Masons do not believe portions of the Old Testament. Hence, unless we are perpetrating a grim mockery, we do not employ the bible as a profession that we as a Society accept all its teachings and doctrines...Masonry as an organized society does not and has never exacted this belief of its members. It can, therefore, have no other place in our lodges than that of a symbol...It is a symbol of Truth, of Divine Truth, of all Truth, whether drawn from some book of Revelation or from the Great Book of Nature."
Although such a view may seem perfectly innocuous to a secularist, to others it is the height of blasphemy. One critic remarks, “that in order to sell phoney Chanel No. 5 on Oxford Street, you would make it look like the real thing. Freemasonry has chaplains, prayers, ceremony, candles, and all the ‘trappings’ of religion. Because selling phoney Chanel No. 5 is wrong, so is Freemasonry.”
Masonry is prohibited in the Muslim countries of the Middle East partly because there are aspects of Masonry which, to religious people, verge on mocking their faith. An example of Masonic ritual which offends some and which shows the gulf between believers and Masons, is the resemblance between the assassination and exhumation of the candidate in the third or Master-Mason degree and religious accounts of resurrection. Almost nothing can be said to correct the common interpretation of the third degree that the Mason is saved by Freemasonry, and not by religion.
(Rest of article and notes omitted.)
"Masonry and the Middle East" appeared in the Winter 1997 issue of DOMES, Volume 6, Number 1.
Israels Masonic elite determined to control the world 27 February 2006
by Texe Marrs
"On May 3, 1996, in Israel, Tel Aviv police raided an apartment, joined by reporters from a TV news program and the daily newspaper Davar Rishon. They found a bizarre scene. The walls were covered in Latin script, skull and bones graced the shelves, and swords were mounted behind an altar. Five doors led to secret passageways with red blinking intruder warning lights."
"The news reports the next day announced 'The apartments were used for ceremonies by the Freemasons, an organization whose membership boasts cabinet members and high ranking army officers.'" (Inside Israel, August 1996 edition, pages 4-6)
Until that extraordinary news event, most Israeli citizens knew little or nothing about Freemasonry and the involvement of their leaders in the Satanic inspired Masonic Lodge secret society. Sadly, today, most Israelis are still unaware of the secret rulership of their country by elite members of this hidden order. And few have any idea of just how wicked are the methods and goals of international Freemasonry.
In an effort to probe the depths of this great deception and to unveil the dark workings of this secret elite which rules Israel and, furthermore, also controls American politics and culture, I have just released my telling new video, Masonic Lodge Over Jerusalem, subtitled The Hidden Rulers of Israel, the Coming World War in the Middle East, and the Rebuilding of the Temple.
Among the shocking discoveries chronicled in this incredible new video: The fact that every Prime Minister of Israel since that nation's founding by the United Nations in 1948 has been a high-level initiate of the Masonic Order. Also revealed is the Masonic plot to destroy the golden-domed Islamic mosque that now sits atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and then rebuild the Jewish Temple. The new Temple will be a shrine of infamy. It will facilitate the ushering in of the Antichrist, the beast of prophecy, and the worship of strange gods, as prophesied by Daniel.
Of course, the destruction of the mosque and Dome of the Rock will outrage Muslims worldwide. It will set off a fiery explosion of anger and revenge by militant mullahs, the Mujahadeen (holy warriors of Allah).
However, this counterattack is expected by the Jewish Masonic plotters, and they intend to use the resulting chaos as an opportunity to wield America's mighty military power—and nuclear weapons if need be—to strike a final, conclusive blow to Moslems.
Israel and the Jewish-dominated New World Order will thus have won a resounding victory. Their messiah shall reign over the planet from the "holy city," Jerusalem. They believe they will have achieved Jewish Utopia without end, Amen.
In my video, I examine the Grand Lodge of the State of Israel. I name the top leaders in the U.S.A., in the Middle East, and in Israel who are Masonic plotters, and I unmask their poisonous goals and intentions. Their target is not only Israel and the Middle East, but America and Europe; indeed, the whole world. To know and prepare against the coming onslaught of these devil-led men is essential.
Anyone who truly desires to understand today's news headlines and to prophetically discern what is to come must obtain a copy of the profoundly powerful video, Masonic Lodge Over Jerusalem. Also essential is my new, exposé video, Thunder Over Zion, which outlines the Illuminati plan for a Jewish New Age Kingdom led by a satanic "Messiah."
Unjustified protection 27 February 2006
In this country, a person seeking to establish the truth and seek redress for a wrongful act faces two barriers. First, any complaint will be investigated by the institution itself through self-regulation. And, secondly, the institution is given legal protection/privileges.
To obtain compensation proving negligence is not enough - an "honest mistake" is a complete defence to an institution. An individual can only succeed by proving "malice", evidence of which is often hard to come by.
In the McKie case, if all that happened was the result of an "honest mistake", why has the Executive paid out? Either it has doubts, in which case a public inquiry is essential to establish the truth, or the system is so unjust to an individual that an ex gratia payment was in order, in which case we need a public inquiry to recommend appropriate change, correct the current imbalance and ensure a fairer system in the future.
GORDON COUTTS THOMSON, High Street, Kingussie, Inverness-shire
HOW THE POLICE WILL USE DNA TO STITCH YOU UP 27 February 2006
Should police in Scotland be given the power to keep DNA samples taken from innocent people? This is one of the powers that is likely to be written into the Police Bill during its forthcoming passage through Holyrood. The argument in favour is simple: it will help police catch criminals.
The meticulous collection of DNA from the vehicles and crime scenes involved in last week's Securitas heist is a timely reminder of the potential importance of genetic material in the fight against crime. Last year DNA taken from a man arrested for drink driving resulted in him being found guilty of a rape and murder committed 27 years ago.
In England and Wales, since April 2004 police have had the power to retain for ever the DNA of any person arrested for any recordable offence, even if they are subsequently neither charged nor cautioned. This includes those arrested for being drunk, begging or participating in an illegal demonstration. There are now more than three million people's DNA profiles on a record which is regularly cross-checked against hair, blood, sweat and semen found at crime scenes. Proportionately, it is by far the largest such database in the world. Recently, it emerged that it includes more than 24,000 children.
At present, police in Scotland are obliged to destroy samples from those arrested if they are cleared or not charged. If that is about to change, we need a much wider debate than is currently the case. Given that 100,000 people in Britain are responsible for nearly half of all crime, it makes good sense to keep their DNA somewhere handy. There is also widespread public support for the practice of matching DNA from crime scenes with those of individual suspects. However, this does not require a huge database for which the litmus test must be whether it really solves crime.
A forthcoming report from the policy and research unit, Genewatch UK, suggests that there has been much misinformation on this point. For example, although it has been claimed that 10,000 offences, including 88 murders, have been resolved as a result of keeping the DNA of innocent people, this figure appears to refer to matches between individuals and crime scenes, not convictions. Many are victims, people who went to help or those who visited the scene before the crime. In fact, since the practice of keeping DNA of every arrested person was introduced in April 2004, the number of crimes detected by using the database has fallen.
It is time an independent evaluation determined whether maintaining this ever-expanding body of personal information and extending it to Scotland is a sensible use of public money and whether it might be better spent on, for example, intelligence-led policing. Many, including Sir Alec Jeffreys, the inventor of DNA profiling, have suggested that the form in which it is used in Britain could allow false readings. The material can also be accidentally contaminated. In several instances convictions based on DNA evidence has been overturned.
There is another reason why Scotland should hesitate before adopting the English model. This is the latest of a series of intrusive uses of technology. CCTV cameras record our movements and now log our car journeys. Radio frequency identification (RFID) can track what we carry or wear. ID cards packed with our biometric data are likely to be compulsory within a decade. All intrude on our privacy and fundamentally alter the relationship between the individual and the state. The logical extension of the DNA database is that one day it will cover every citizen from cradle to grave.
Are we paving unwittingly the road to a Big Brother society, while surreptitiously eroding the presumption of innocence?
DARK SHADOW OVER WHOLE JUSTICE SYSTEM 27 February 2006
McKie case has cast a dark shadow over the integrity of the whole Scottish justice system.
The Shirley McKie affair
An independent judicial inquiry is essential
IN A nasty jibe during his Scottish Labour Conference speech, Tony Blair branded the Liberal Democrats as craven opportunists, always happy to take the easy option and the credit but never the tough decisions. Well, here's one tough decision I suggest they take immediately — tell their coalition partners at Holyrood that they will suspend the partnership forthwith, unless a public inquiry is set up into all aspects of the Shirley McKie affair.
For the LibDems this should be a matter of fundamental principle, of far greater importance than short-term political advantage. They must know that this disturbing case has cast a dark shadow over the integrity of the whole Scottish justice system.
I'm sure most of your readers are as appalled as I am at the astonishingly arrogant behaviour of the Labour-controlled executive. Aided and abetted by what now appears to be a highly-politicised legal establishment, they seem determined to cover up possible wrongdoing by a few government employees. In view of all the obstruction and obfuscation over several years, it is now essential that an independent judicial inquiry is set up to examine all the evidence. It's not the "honest mistake" that matters, it's what went on thereafter, right up to the last-minute financial deal which prevented the evidence being heard in court.
Readers don't need to be reminded of the many questions that still remain unanswered, not least the role of the lord advocate in deciding who and who not to prosecute in the criminal courts, and what reports to keep secret from the public that paid for them.
I hope that the media and all honest politicians (another oxymoron?) will not let this matter rest until all the facts have been placed in the public domain by an independent inquiry. The McKies and the Scottish Criminal Record Office experts both want this, so what has anyone got to fear?
Iain A D Mann, 7 Kelvin Court, Glasgow.
IN 1965 a policeman clipped a youngster on the ear and was not prosecuted. So great was the public concern that a judicial inquiry was instituted – the Thurso Boy Inquiry, the most celebrated judicial inquiry of its time.
How much more important is the need for an inquiry into the SCRO. As Lord McCluskey points out elsewhere, the chance of a mistaken fingerprint is given by experts as "billions to one" against. In eight years the SCRO have made three known mistakes, two in the McKie case and one in the case of Sinclair at the Ayr circuit of September 2003. We cannot "move on" as the justice minister would have us. This is too important. The SCRO stand alone in the world as having made mistakes which they themselves say are mathematically impossible. The very arteries of justice are being clogged. This is nothing to do with politics. Why cannot we have an inquiry, as was held in 1965?
Ian Hamilton, QC, Lochnabeithe, North Connel, Argyll.
THE reason the furore over the McKie case will not go away is this. In this sorry affair, there is one clearly innocent party, McKie, and at least one but probably two or more guilty parties, most likely employees of SCRO.
Despite that fact, the senior law officer of this country was provided with, allegedly, enough evidence to prosecute the innocent but provided with, allegedly, not enough evidence to prosecute the guilty. The real scandal of course is that all of the evidence emanated from within the Scottish criminal justice system.
The public are not daft, they simply want to know how this was possible, to see the guilty rooted out of the Scottish criminal justice system and brought to justice, and finally to be given confidence that such an event can never happen again.
If the justice minister and the lord advocate cannot see this, then Jack McConnell should ask them to step aside and find replacements with vision who have the determination to carry out the will of the people.
Aidan McLaughlin, 20 Ledi Road, Glasgow.
Unanswered questions in the McKie case
THE Scottish Executive's policy of stonewalling demands for a public judicial inquiry into the McKie affair has left too many unanswered questions. Here are just a few.
1. Harry Bell (then head of the SCRO) tried to rubbish embarrassing conclusions of international experts on the McKie print, by claiming their judgment relied on inferior internet images, but refused to release his, of supposedly higher quality. Why the secrecy?
2. Did someone from SCRO instigate the pernicious attempt by FBI agents to warn off two US experts, David Grieve and Pat Wertheim, from giving evidence for McKie's defence?
3. Colin Boyd, the lord advocate, recently rubbished international experts more subtly, by implying that all fingerprint experts are prone to disagree. His new-found distrust of fingerprint evidence lumps together those with little standing and eminent practitioners. HM Inspectorate of Constabulary called in two such "established and senior experts," who concluded unequivocally and independently that SCRO were wrong; the disputed mark was not made by McKie. Not surprisingly, SCRO disagreed, but more to the point, did Colin Boyd accept the HMIC findings in 2000?
4. That same year, Arie Zeelenberg and Torger Rudrud attended a SCRO presentation alleging 45 points of McKie print agreement, way beyond the 16 SCRO had in use as an ident criterion. The Dutch and Norwegian experts concluded that the 45 total was spuriously inflated, by, inter alia, confusing the print with wood grain from an internal door frame. Do SCRO stand by their "Disneyland" total? If not, why not? Curiously, Harry Bell's once pristine print was now described as "blurred and cropped".
5. We now know much more about SCRO's 1997 sloppy methodology in homing in on McKie. Pressure to suck up to the goals of superiors seems to have been combined with lax procedures for ensuring independent conclusions. How much pressure came from Strathclyde Police? Kathleen Ryall (Letters, February 23) says SCRO staff have not had their say. That is untrue. Three of the four had their day in court at McKie's trial. They had their chance to open up candidly to Mackay and Robertson, but presented the police investigators with "no comments". Two Sunday Herald reports (February 12/19) quote top-notch fingerprint experts presenting a wealth of evidence against the SCRO that can't be brushed under the carpet as equivalent experts disagreeing.
6. The lord advocate was in something of a lather to shelve the Mackay and Robertson conclusions, pointing firmly to conspiracy. Given the serious nature of the potential charges, why was he not sufficiently aghast to insist on a more in-depth follow-up investigation? Key SCRO computers could have been seized. It now appears that non-compliant SCRO staff were quizzed to find out whether they were pressed to toe the SCRO party line, and why they did not subscribe to the McKie identification. So, was the temptation for Boyd to "close the SCRO patient up" because the cancer had apparently spread too far within the organisation? Whatever the reason, his failure to address the "disease" should lead him to consider the honourable course of resigning.
7. Will Cathy Jamieson's makeover of SCRO include a searching attainment test of competence for suspect SCRO fingerprint personnel? The McKie print could be slipped into this examination to determine how repeatable their earlier analyses are. If the justice minister thinks a simple reshuffle of the same pack under a different brand name will quell public disquiet, she'd better think again. How is it possible to, in her trite words, "learn lessons from the past" without knowing precisely what went wrong?
Iain McKie claims to have further evidence of wrongdoing, but that would have to be cast-iron, and leaked in its entirety to the press, to spur Colin Boyd into reluctant action. The executive have tainted the whole Scottish justice system in their desire to cover their own backs, and have undermined the international science of fingerprinting by lumping together the eminent and the fallible.
Freud wisely concluded that dark secrets will bubble inexorably to the surface. The more the executive tries to keep a tight lid on Scotland's disgrace, the harder it will prove to do so.
Dr J R Calder, 52 Ulster Crescent, Edinburgh.
No wonder the executive wants the facts hidden
FINGERPRINT analysis, like any other form of pattern recognition, is an art requiring human judgment. No two human fingertips are the same, but the scope for broad similarity is enormous. The easiest way to compare two images is therefore to look for differences between them — if there aren't any, or if those that seem to exist are negligible and/or explained by contingent factors like weight of impression, then you have a probable match. The more variations there are, the likelier it is that you've got nothing.
It's not an easy job, which is why you need experts to do it — but in principle it's like those picture puzzles where one of the footballers in panel two is missing a stripe from his jumper and another guy is wearing the wrong colour of socks.
What seems to have happened in the Ross/Asbury/McKie debacle, though, is that at some point between A Study in Scarlet and the mid-1990s, somebody somewhere decided that Olympic-level spot-the-difference was too "unscientific" and "subjective" a method of comparison, and set out to devise a more mechanistic system which could be easily promulgated without relying on exceptional talent. As a consequence, the current generation of analysts at the SCRO were trained instead to look for a certain quota of positive correlations, so that 16 or 32 "points of similarity" is considered a match.
That is a much lower standard of proof, and many people convicted under it might have walked free if the more stringent method of comparison had been used instead — or even if the jury had been aware of the degraded nature of the "expertise" employed.
No wonder the Scottish Executive didn't want the facts examined in open court. No wonder it still resists calls from all sides for a public inquiry. What proportion of criminal trials over the past half-century would have to be reopened if it admitted that its fingerprint analysis system was less reliable than the public had been led to believe? But that's not the worst of it.
No commentator has yet pointed out that the technology involved in the UK government's identity-card scheme is based on the same "points of similarity" principle, and that every person in the UK is soon to be attributed a "unique biometric profile" just as reliable as the SCRO's identification of the unfortunate Ms McKie.
Will Pickering, 86 Grange Tower, Motherwell.
WHO FAILED TO STOP LAW SOCIETY MONOPOLY? 27 February 2006
QC appointed in disclosure battle over legal services
SCOTTISH information commissioner Kevin Dunion has appointed eminent brief Paul Cullen QC to try and force the disclosure of sensitive documents which could explain why the nation's legal services market has never been opened up to greater competition.
The Scottish Executive is expected to be represented by equally senior counsel, raising further questions about why ministers are determined to thwart the release of information on a subject which is no longer a political hot potato. Taxpayers will foot the bill for both parties in the landmark case, which will be heard later this year at the Court of Session. The final bill could run into six figures.
Bill Alexander, a long-standing campaigner for wider consumer access to legal services, sought disclosure of ministerial correspondence and memoranda from the last decade concerning the enduring ban on people other than solicitors and advocates being paid to represent clients in the Scottish courts. Sixteen years have passed since sections 25-29 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990 should have abolished the ban on non-lawyers applying for rights of audience in Scottish courtrooms. Somewhat mysteriously, the sections were never commenced.
Ministers refused to comply with Dunion's order to publish the documents, which include letters from the late first minister Donald Dewar to both deputy prime minister John Prescott and Lord Irvine of Lairg, the former lord chancellor. As The Herald reported last month, the case constitutes the first occasion since freedom of information legislation took effect 14 months ago that the executive has elected to fight its case before the courts.
The executive's working group on legal services markets has said it will recommend removing the lawyers' monopoly in its final report, which is due shortly. Industry observers are puzzled, therefore, why ministers are going out on a limb on the issue. Some suspect the documents sought by Alexander could prove embarrassing to members of the New Labour hierarchy.
Former SNP leader John Swinney failed to persuade Holyrood ministers to shed any light on the reasons for non-commencement in a series of questions to justice minister Cathy Jamieson last month. Responding, her deputy Hugh Henry said it would "not be appropriate to comment on the reasons for non-implementation (of sections 25-29) by previous administrations".
LAW SOCIETY TRYING TO PROTECT ITS CORRUPT ASS 27 February 2006
Law Society fires off warning over breach in Hadrian’s Wall
The Law Society of Scotland has warned of the dangers inherent in new moves to modernise legal services in England and Wales, which will have major implications north of the border. The society's director of legal reform, Michael Clancy, issued stark warnings about the prospect of state interference in the Scottish profession and the absence of an effective means of policing multidisciplinary practices.
Clancy's comments will be viewed as a "shot across the bows" of justice minister Cathy Jamieson, as the Scottish Executive prepares to formulate a policy on liberalisation of legal services. The report of the executive-commissioned working group on research into legal services markets is expected to be published imminently.
"We have no reason to think that the Scottish Executive will not follow its stated aim of Scottish solutions to Scottish issues in its review, and I am sure nobody wants policy developments in England and Wales to influence those in Scotland," Clancy said. "But Hadrian's Wall can be somewhat porous. Given the proposals could have an impact beyond England and Wales, we believe we should be on our guard, and decided to respond to the white paper."
The white paper published last October by Lord Falconer outlines plans to allow so-called "Tesco law", enabling for the first time companies such as supermarkets and banks to own and run law firms. Lawyers will also be able set up in partnership with other professionals such as accountants in "one-stop shop" multidisciplinary practices (MDPs), and even raise capital by listing their practices on the stock market.
Clancy made public the Scottish society's response last week. The Edinburgh-based body's first reservation concerns the relationship between the government and proposed overarching regulator, the Legal Services Board. The white paper says the board will be independent of the government. However, the Scottish society disputes this because the chairman and other board members will be appointed by the constitutional affairs secretary (currently Falconer).
"Much of the time, and particularly in criminal cases, lawyers are acting against the state and we believe it is essential they continue to stand in the space between citizen and government," Clancy said. "We are, therefore, concerned by anything that points to interference by the state in how they are regulated and so impinges on the independence of the legal profession."
The society says the same concern extends to the independence of the proposed body for handling legal services complaints, whose chairman will be appointed by the LSB with the approval of the secretary of state. Scotland, of course, is to have its own independent complaints-handling system, the details of which are still to be announced.
The white paper's proposals for allowing MDPs and seeking outside capital leading to non-lawyer ownership also came under attack in the Scottish society's response. The original proposals, stemming from the review of legal services regulation by Sir David Clementi, only went as far as sanctioning firms comprising practitioners from different legal disciplines, such as solicitors and barristers.
"In proposals for 'alternative business structures' (the white paper) has gone beyond that and fallen back to multidisciplinary firms by another name, comprising people from other professional bodies," Clancy said. "We have a genuine difficulty with that. These other people may well not be bound by certain core principles of our profession – legal professional privilege, the rules on conflict of interest, the obligation for maintaining confidentiality and independence of advice.
The LSB should have the competency to rule on those obligations which should be regarded as an absolute standard. However, no one has been shown any model of how members of other bodies will be regulated on this and consequently how MDPs will be made to abide by these principles.
"The concern also applies to the proposal for firms raising outside capital. At the end of the day, if someone has an obligation to the client, say in terms of professional privilege, but the owner of the firm is not bound by this and says not to regard it, that practitioner will have to be a pretty strong character to be able to stand up to that owner."
The society says it is not alone in its reservations. "The Council of Bars and Societies of Europe, with over 700,000 members, looked at these issues over a year ago and approved a position paper stating overriding reasons for not allowing non-lawyer-owned firms and MDPs," Clancy said. "It has also reinforced the underlying principle of maintaining the independent relationship between the citizen, the lawyers and the state."
Police determined to back descredited fingerprint bureau 27 February 2006
McKie calls for fresh inquiry into Ross murder
SIR William Rae, chief constable of Strathclyde, will today be asked to a meeting by Iain McKie, who will demand that detectives be brought in from outside Scotland to reopen the Marion Ross murder case which ruined his daughter's police career.
After another weekend of revelations about the nine-year saga there is no sign of the political storm surrounding the case dying down, with the list of those demanding fresh inquiries including leading lawyers and retired judges.
A damning independent police report into the behaviour of the Scottish Criminal Record Office has now been fully leaked; evidence that Jim Wallace, the former justice minister, was told about concerns over the SCRO has been produced; it was claimed that, at the eleventh hour, police asked for a gagging clause to be put on Shirley McKie's £750,000 award; and another man has been named in the media as having carried out the murder for which David Asbury was convicted then cleared on appeal.
Mr McKie said that the lord advocate's handling of the case and the SCRO's behaviour had to come under independent scrutiny, and that an investigation into the murder in Kilmarnock, in 1997, must be carried out by police from outside Scotland.
He said: "I have respect for Willie Rae and he has been most honest and responsible. There has to be a fresh murder investigation and it can only be carried out by a force from outside Scotland.
"As for a wider inquiry into what happened, this is even more pressing than in the case of (Surjit Singh) Chhokar (who was murdered in 1998) because it is not just about the decisions of the lord advocate, but about senior ministers and the whole hierarchy of the police in Scotland who have been determined to back the SCRO."
SCRO Whistleblower was bullied, intimidated, harassed and victimised 27 February 2006
Ministers were warned about SCRO failings
MINISTERS have been implicated in the Shirley McKie affair for the first time after evidence emerged that they were warned of "mismanagement and malpractice" at the Scottish Criminal Record Office (SCRO) five years ago.
The Sunday Times has obtained documents that reveal that Jim Wallace, the former justice minister, was warned in August 2001 that proper "ethical" procedures were not being followed within the SCRO and that the views of those who challenged the prevailing methods were "suppressed". An official complaint, alleging "institutionalised arrogance and mismanagement" within the SCRO, was lodged but later removed from the organisation’s files with no action taken, it was claimed.
A whistleblower within the organisation wrote to Wallace, warning that after raising concerns with senior management he had become a victim of "bullying, intimidation, harassment and victimisation". The letter was addressed to Wallace’s constituency office in Orkney and a copy sent to Colin Boyd, the lord advocate.
Jenny Deans, Wallace’s constituency secretary, replied, confirming that the allegations would be investigated. "He [Wallace] has noted the serious issues you raise," went her response. "As this matter falls within his ministerial responsibilities, he has asked his department to look into these issues and he will respond to you in due course."
However, that was the last the whistleblower is said to have heard about the matter from Wallace. A response from the Crown Office stated: "The issues you raise concerning working practices at SCRO are, more properly, addressed to the justice department at the Scottish executive."
The documents provide the first evidence that ministers knew about, and investigated, working practices at the SCRO. It was a misidentified fingerprint by SCRO staff that led to McKie being charged and subsequently acquitted of perjury in 1999.
The emergence of the documents follows the disclosure that ministers were warned in 2000 of "cover-up and criminality" among SCRO staff in a secret report by James Mackay, then deputy chief constable of Tayside police. Ministers have justified not acting on the warnings because they were a matter for the lord advocate, who decided there was insufficient evidence for a prosecution.
Last week Jack McConnell, the first minister, and Cathy Jamieson, the justice minister, again refused to accede to demands for a public inquiry. However, opposition politicians said the new documents provide the most compelling evidence yet of the involvement of ministers in the affair and make the case for an inquiry irresistible.
"This shows that in addition to the conclusions of the Mackay report suggesting cover-up and criminality, that Jim Wallace had indications from within the SCRO of bullying, intimidation and poor practice," said Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National party.
Alex Neil, the nationalist MSP and McKie supporter, said: "These letters bring Jim Wallace into the frame. As the minister for justice he was obviously very complacent about the letter sent to him by the fingerprint expert. Certainly he and the lord advocate have a lot to answer for. It is quite obvious that Jim Wallace and Colin Boyd don’t want a public inquiry because it will expose their failings as ministers. These letters make it absolutely clear that their failings were major.”
A source close to Wallace said: “Jim Wallace has no immediate recollection of this letter, but if The Sunday Times is willing to share the details he is happy to immediately raise this issue with civil servants in the Scottish executive to follow up what are clearly significant points.”
A spokesman for the Scottish executive said the SCRO fingerprint bureau had been subject to “detailed, rigorous and thorough independent review” in February 2000.
A follow-up inspection report in May 2001 by HMIC had recorded that the SCRO had made a wide-ranging response and achieved significant progress to the extent that as a whole HMIC considered it to be “efficient and effective”.
Police NEVER raid masonic halls 26 February 2006
THE BEST PLACE TO HIDE MONEY AND DRUGS?
It seems the UK Police NEVER do raids on MASONIC halls in the UK and the media have NEVER run a story to counter that .It would make sense for any criminal to see the best place to hide large sums of money(recent £40,000,000 bust) and drugs is in the confines of what is seemingly the safest places in the UK free of Police investigations.
Also when the brown envelopes are changing hands for all the shady deals going in the UK those white gloves and creepy little aprons are very handy for passing them off without fear of any recriminations.
Maybe a freedom of information request to UK police might SHOW how little or often they have actually entered a masonic hall to investigate a crime commited by one of its members? Their lodges being an ideal place to hide their new found wealth?
Murder case officer wanted McKie gagged 26 February 2006
Murder case officer wanted McKie paid off and ‘gagged’ to end fingerprint row
THE police officer in charge of the Marion Ross murder inves tigation wanted Shirley McKie paid off and “gagged” by the Scottish Executive, the Sunday Herald can reveal.
Documents seen by the Sunday Herald show that detective superintendent Ste phen Heath raised in January the prospect of ministers giving McKie “sufficient compensation” to stop her legal case going ahead and placing a “gagging order” on her.
Heath, who led the inquiry into the Ross murder in 1997, also admits in the papers that he and other more senior officers were “very concerned” and “stressed” about the hearing at the Court of Session being allowed to take place.
The extraordinary remarks, contained in Heath’s confidential precognition, taken by law yers acting for Shirley McKie and dated just days before her case was due to start earlier this month, provide the first insight into the desperation that exists in the police for the controversy to be settled and buried.
They also raised new questions over the police role , which led to allegations of “criminality and cover up” among fingerprint experts at the Scottish Criminal Rec ord Office .
Their forensic evidence led to the jailing of 20-year-old joiner David Asbury for the murder. He was freed in 2000 after international fingerprint experts said their identification was “unsafe”.
The revelations come days after it emerged a secret police log revealed convicted murderer Patrick Doch erty had claimed responsibility for the killing. Last night, Shirley McKie’s father Iain condemned Heath and called for the Ross murder to be re-investigated by an outside force. He added that there should be an investigation into the initial police probe “as a matter of urgency”.
How justice failed in fingerprint scandal 26 February 2006
FOR nine long years, the truth over what happened in the Shirley McKie fingerprint case has been hidden from view by the Scottish state: by police chiefs, lawyers and government ministers(AND TO A LARGE EXTENT THE PRESS AND MEDIA). Today, that truth can finally be revealed.
Scotland on Sunday has obtained the 58-page report by former Tayside deputy chief constable James Mackay into exactly how, in 1997, the then detective constable McKie was wrongly identified as having left her fingerprint at a murder scene. Based on 301 witness statements and 795 documents, the report reveals staggering malpractice at the heart of a major justice institution, the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO). It asserts that fingerprint personnel in the SCRO must have known they were in the wrong even when they were standing by their flimsy evidence. Devastatingly, it suggests that they were willing to take McKie to court, and jail her if necessary, to protect their reputations.
The scandal began a month after the body of a 51-year-old bank clerk, Marion Ross, had been discovered in her home in Kilmarnock. McKie, then with Strathclyde Police, had been brought in to assist in the murder investigation. In the house, a fingerprint had been discovered on the door frame of Ross's bathroom, near the body. On Monday, February 10, 1997, for the first time, that print was linked to McKie.
The Mackay report offers a front-row insight into the events that followed. The link to McKie that day was made by a middle-ranking expert at the SCRO, who was among those checking prints at the murder scene. The expert could only find 10 so-called points of comparison between the print and McKie's. This was insufficient to stand up in court, as fingerprint experts need to find 16 such matches for it to be deemed copper-bottomed evidence.
Only when the expert reported to his senior officer did the evidence begin to firm up. That more experienced officer, who also examined the print, found the required 16 points. What he needed now was for his colleagues to back him up. The Mackay report discloses what happened next. "The senior expert pointed out that it was an important mark and suggested that, in this instance, it would be beneficial if 16 points could be found by the expert second-checking it. The witness indicated [that] he was unable to achieve 16 points and suggested getting someone else." In other words, the SCRO appears to have canvassed around in order to find the secondary evidence they needed. It only took until the following day, February 11, when no fewer than four other SCRO analysts corroborated the senior expert's findings. The less convincing evidence of the first expert had apparently been forgotten. These four experts, also middle-ranking members of staff, were to play a central role in the events which followed.
On February 14, McKie was told for the first time that she had been identified as having left her mark on the crime scene. The consequences would have been devastating. McKie had already been involved in a previous incident, when her fingerprints had been found on a polythene bag in 1993 at a crime scene. She was facing the end of her career.
The SCRO were thus placed under pressure from Strathclyde Police to prove beyond any doubt they had got it right. Mackay reveals how, on February 18, the deputy head of the fingerprint bureau was summoned to the SCRO director's office and "lectured to in a 'threatening tone' indicating that the identification had better be correct and that an officer's career was at stake".
Both the deputy head and the SCRO's quality assurance manager themselves checked the mark, and pronounced themselves satisfied. But the Mackay report reveals how - for the second time - those who did not agree were ignored. That evening, Mackay recounts, "a number of on-duty experts [four in total] were asked to examine the mark by way of a blind test... one witness was able to find about eight points of comparison... his feeling at the time was that the mark was the same as the elimination [McKie's print] although it was not sufficient for an identification for court purposes. Another recalls spending five minutes looking at [the print] and finding 10 points of comparison, which was enough to eliminate [McKie]... two other experts who took part found difficulty in identifying characteristics and asked for more time. They were not shown the mark again."
Twice then - by the original expert and by three of the four analysts in the blind test - doubts had been cast over whether the print was McKie's. But the investigation against her began anyway. That May she gave evidence in the trial of the man accused of Ross's murder, David Asbury, and again insisted the print was not hers. In March 1998, she was arrested for perjury.
Mackay's 2000 investigation into the case was prompted after McKie was cleared in a perjury trial - following evidence by two American experts showing that the SCRO had got it wrong. At the trial it emerged that none of the 32 police officers who guarded the crime scene reported McKie's presence. Mackay's probe was now to shed astonishing light on just how determined senior officials were to cover up their mistakes.
There was no doubting the fact that it was not McKie's print. Mackay discloses how he sent the original material - including the door frame in the Ross house - to the National Fingerprint Training Centre in Durham. Their conclusions, revealed today, are shocking. Of the four personnel who had corroborated the McKie print, the Durham experts declared: "Given the inferior quality of their productions for court presentation, we have grave doubts that the examinations conducted by the four persons were carried out totally independently; a process which is paramount to the integrity of all identifications. Without adequate explanation, there appears to be collective manipulation of evidence and collective collusion to erroneously identify Shirley McKie."
This claim, made in the summer of 2000, was the first time anyone had suggested collusion. It appears to have opened Mackay's eyes - the condemnatory language of his final analysis was described by one fingerprint expert yesterday as "just amazing."
Mackay's conclusion is that the McKie case had shown up a culture of fear and rigid hierarchy within the SCRO, which put concerns about legitimacy below the desire to be seen to be backing the boss.
"Junior staff at the SCRO appear to ingratiate themselves to senior experts," Mackay declares. "The hierarchical situation pervaded in the SCRO, with a senior expert making the initial identification and making initial judgments prior to his 'juniors' viewing the prints... Evidence indicates that should another junior expert fail to support his identification to the 16-point standard, then another expert prepared to confirm the identification would be utilised to do so. This, combined with a lack of quality control and a clear independence between experts, is the catalyst [for the mistakes]."
Mackay declares his astonishment that, as the perjury case against McKie was being brought, no one at the SCRO was prepared to admit their mistakes. In perhaps the most savage of his comments, he notes: "The fact remains that errors occurred which should have been discovered at an early stage. However, an unbelievable attitude prevailed among the experts involved which ignored the consequences and was designed to protect reputations, irrespective of the impact on others."
Mackay was particularly staggered by a presentation given by two senior SCRO staff in August 2000 at which they had attempted to prove not just 16 but 45 matches in the McKie print. "They remain arrogant and obdurate...the apparent deception incredibly continues despite the overwhelming evidence, both SCRO representatives vehemently adhere to their assertion."
The refusal to admit mistakes, led, he concludes, to "a criminal course of action which disregarded the consequences and the impact on others". He declares: "There is a weight of opinion that suggests the errors must have been discovered by the time the evidence was being checked and re-checked and thereafter marked up for court." One anecdote sheds particular light on this. "In an adjournment of the Shirley McKie trial, two SCRO experts were seen in heated discussion at a stage when one had given evidence and one had not," Mackay writes. What were they discussing?
Why did this all happen? Fingerprint experts not connected to the SCRO now believe that the organisation's decision not to own up was a direct result of a wider fear that if McKie's print had been shown to be in error, so would a print of Marion Ross's which had been 'found' at the home of David Asbury. One fingerprint source said: "When it emerged that Shirley's print was wrong, they couldn't admit that, because then the whole case would have been peer-reviewed and it would have emerged that Asbury's mark was wrong as well." As everyone now knows, the Ross print was wrong. Asbury was convicted of the murder but acquitted on appeal in August 2000. Mackay writes: "It is the obdurate and arrogant stance which has prevailed through the chain of events, contributing in the conviction of David Asbury and the prosecution of Shirley McKie, which transferred both misidentifications from an error status to a criminal act with dire consequences."
There are those who have sought to suggest the McKie case is an isolated one. But Scotland on Sunday has obtained evidence which suggests that the problems which triggered this mistake were endemic. A minute of a meeting of SCRO experts from 1995 reveals the worry of staff at the pressure being exerted upon them. "Concern was shown by the group over the question of persons' names being taken over not signing an identification; ie not seeing 16 characteristics when supervisors do."
Among those attending the meeting was Fiona McBride, one of the four experts who corroborated the McKie print in 2000. She claims not to recall the 1995 meeting, and denies having been put under pressure by her superiors. Others, under the cloak of anonymity, do not. Scotland on Sunday has been passed a letter sent to the then Justice Minister Jim Wallace in 2001 by a former expert at the SCRO, who declared: "I was shocked and appalled at the level of malpractice." The expert added: "I soon became a victim of bullying, intimidation, harassment and victimisation."
The full weight of Mackay's words - no less devastating for being five years old - will now lead to major questions being asked of those government officials to whom his words were addressed, and of the current Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson. At the forefront is the Lord Advocate Colin Boyd, who read the report in 2001, and concluded that, despite Mackay's findings, there was not enough evidence to bring forward a prosecution against the SCRO officers involved. Boyd told the Scottish Parliament last week that his decision was based on "conflicting positions on identification of the relevant fingerprint evidence". Yet apart from the SCRO, only one person - a fingerprint expert called Peter Swann - is still insistent that it was McKie's print. The evidence of another expert, Malcolm Graham, is negated in the Mackay report by an admission that if "the original identification [by SCRO] is wrong, then he accepts that he was".
Ministers say they have moved on and the SCRO has improved. But doubts over prosecutions based on fingerprint evidence are mounting. This newspaper understands that an appeal is planned in the case of Dominic Ferrie, who received a life sentence in 2002 for his role in the killing of David James in Wishaw in 2001, based on print evidence found at the crime scene.
The past is catching up with Scottish ministers and law officers. Their futures, and the future of the entire Scottish legal system, are at stake.
McKie case smacks of masonic conspiracy 26 February 2006
The coverup ,collusion and criminality in the fingerprint scandal
inplicating Shirley McKie has all the hallmarks of a masonic conspiracy.
Our groups have long known the part secret societies have in interfering
with justice in both civil and criminal cases in Scotland and throughout the UK.
Most, if not all, judicial hearings are tainted with the secret stench
of all the major players being part of the creepy silent destroyers the masonic controllers.
NEVER does the UK press or media make that connection ,instead producing weird and wonderful
theories to explain away what ultimately is behind the McKie cover up.
Along with Shipman,
Huntley and Hamilton some of the most horrific crimes that failed to get the correct police
attention is largely due to that evil influence.Its main function to thwart and distract attention
from the real TRUTH.Masonic controllers are imbedded in the most senior positions
of the legal structures in UK law enforcement and allows major human rights abuses to take place
daily throughout the UK court system with impunity.
New blow to Executive in McKie case 26 February 2006
ONE of the Scottish Parliament’s most powerful committees has written to the Executive this weekend demanding a series of answers on the Shirley McKie affair.
The news will come as a blow to First Minister Jack McConnell and Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson, who had hoped they’d drawn a line under the matter last week.
The letter, to Ms Jamieson, follows a meeting of the Justice 1 Committee on Wednesday, when they considered issues relating to the Scottish Criminal Record Office and the Scottish Fingerprint Service following the settlement of the McKie case earlier this month.
It comes as Ms McKie’s father Iain disclosed that up to £50,000 has already been pledged to support a fighting fund for a private prosecution of the Scottish Criminal Records Office staff involved in the case.
He said, “I’ve already spent £50,000 of my own money on this and can’t afford to spend any more.
“We won’t spend this money unless we have to and we’d rather have a judicial review, but if we press on with a private prosecution, it’s something that we’ll look at.”
Shirley McKie (43), from Troon, a former detective, was awarded £750,000 damages after being cleared of lying under oath in 1999.
She had claimed a murder scene fingerprint was not hers, something the Scottish Executive has accepted.
However, the Executive has rejected calls from opposition parties for a public or a judicial inquiry into the affair, following statements in Parliament by the Justice Minister and Lord Advocate Colin Boyd last week.
But now the Justice Committee has written to Ms Jamieson with a list of seven questions they want answered.
Committee convener Pauline McNeill says in the letter it is vital there is public confidence in all aspects of the criminal justice system, and recent events may have resulted in public concerns about the work done by the Scottish Fingerprint Service.
She adds the committee has not reached a view on whether it would be appropriate for a committee of Parliament to conduct an inquiry into the Scottish Criminal Record Office.
“The committee is agreed, however, any such inquiry could not be regarded as a substitute for a judicially led public inquiry,” Ms McNeill adds.
She points out the Justice Committees of Parliament have a duty to scrutinise the work of the Justice Department, which is responsible for the SCRO.
The committee has asked the Justice Minister to reply by March 9, so her responses can be considered at their meeting on March 15.
The letter means the McKie affair will rumble on at Parliament until the middle of next month, bringing further embarrassment to the Executive.
Ms McKie’s father Iain, a former senior detective, has not ruled out hiring a retired judge to carry out a judicial inquiry, or mounting a private prosecution.
The affair revolves around events following the murder of Marion Ross in her Kilmarnock home in January 1997. A fingerprint alleged to be that of Ms McKie was found at the scene. She denied the print was hers, and was charged with perjury. However, it was later proved the print was not hers.
The man found guilty of the killing, also on the basis of fingerprint evidence, David Asbury, had his conviction quashed in 2002.
Questions over the competence of the Scottish Fingerprint Service have been raised ever since. There have also been allegations of a cover-up.
THE LETTER asks the Executive to —
Provide details of the weaknesses identified in the Scottish Fingerprint Service following internal reviews and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland inspections.
Provide details of steps taken since 2000 to address these weaknesses.
Set out steps taken since 2000 to review identifications made by the SCRO Fingerprint Bureau, including through external peer review, in order to validate their findings.
Set out actions taken in response to each of the recommendations contained in the HMIC report Scottish Criminal Record Office: The Fingerprint Bureau — Primary Inspection 2000.
Explain why the move to the non-numeric standard of identification recommended in the HMIC report, and anticipated to take place during 2004, has not yet been implemented.
Outline what further steps it intends to take to restore confidence in the SCRO and Scottish Fingerprint Service.
Explain what steps it will take to counter comments made by foreign fingerprint experts which cast doubt on the working practices and standards of the service.
THE PRESSURE on the Scottish Executive to hold an inquiry mounted yesterday when retired Solicitor General and senior judge Lord McCluskey called for a judicial inquiry.
Executive fails to extract DNA from print 26 February 2006
THE SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE has failed in a bid to use DNA to fight a second legal challenge over fingerprint evidence linked to the Shirley McKie controversy.
They tried to get DNA from a nine-year-old print that was key evidence in the trial of David Asbury, who was wrongly convicted of the murder of Marion Ross, in Kilmarnock in 1997.
Mr Asbury is demanding damages of more than £150,000 from the Executive and four fingerprint experts from the Scottish Criminal Record Office.
The experts claimed at his trial that a print on a biscuit tin found in Asbury’s home in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, belonged to the 51-year-old victim, who was stabbed and had her ribs crushed in the attack in her home.
The tin contained £1800, suggesting a motive for murder, although Asbury claimed the cash was his savings.
He was jailed for life in 1997 but freed in 2000 pending an appeal. His conviction was quashed in 2003 after judges accepted the fingerprint evidence was unreliable.
Mr Asbury is trying to prove the misidentification of the print was more than a mistake and amounted to “fabrication”.
The Executive tried to back up the claim that the print was Miss Ross’s by recovering DNA from the area of the tin where it was located.
Independent experts from the Forensic Science Service in England were called in to take samples.
However, they said there was no DNA detectable and the print wasn’t even visible any more.
They added it was possible only a tiny amount of DNA had been deposited with the print and that it had degraded or rubbed off over the years.
DNA confirmation could also have helped the Executive challenge Shirley McKie’s legal claim.
She’d argued the print on the tin supported her allegation that there had been malicious behaviour.
This was because it showed there had been two misidentifications in one murder case and they were so obvious that the experts must have known they were wrong.
Arizona-based fingerprint expert, Pat Wertheim, who has backed Ms McKie and Mr Asbury, said the attempt to get DNA had been a long shot by the Executive.
He claimed, “It’s largely impossible to do on a regular basis. We ran a series of experiments a few years ago and, at best, only found DNA in one out of four prints.”
The Scottish Executive confirmed, “An expert report into DNA was commissioned.”
Scale of McKie cover-up revealed 26 February 2006
A DEVASTATING secret report into how police fingerprint experts manipulated evidence and covered up errors in the Shirley McKie scandal is revealed today by Scotland on Sunday.
The 58-page document, written by one of the country's leading police officers, accuses the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO) of "unbelievable... arrogance... and complacency", and of taking a "criminal course of action" aimed at protecting reputations, regardless of the impact on others.
The investigation suggests a conspiracy inside the SCRO involving senior figures. It reveals that one leading fingerprint expert tried to pressure a junior colleague into identifying a crime scene print as McKie's.
The report was written in 2000 by James Mackay, the then Deputy Chief Constable of Tayside, and lays bare deep disagreement within the SCRO about whether the print belonged to the detective constable. It reveals that at least three further experts failed to confirm the identification. Despite this, the SCRO continued to insist McKie had left her thumbprint on a door frame at a murder scene, which led to her being charged with perjury.
The emergence of the report - kept secret for nearly six years - led last night to fresh demands for a public inquiry, and to further questions as to why Scotland's prosecutors had failed to act on Mackay's findings.
Shirley McKie's father, Iain, said: "After a nine-year battle to clear my daughter's name, I feel totally vindicated. But what is so distressing is that this report was not acted upon by the Lord Advocate Colin Boyd. Why did the Lord Advocate not take account of the facts in this report? That is an indictment of the Lord Advocate and the whole system."
Shirley McKie, now 43, was a detective with Strathclyde Police when, in February 1997, she was seconded to the murder squad investigating the death of Marion Ross.
A thumbprint on a door frame was examined by the SCRO and wrongly identified as McKie's. When the officer denied in court having visited the murder scene, she was charged with perjury.
McKie was only acquitted when two US fingerprint experts gave evidence that the print was not hers. McKie was recently awarded £750,000 compensation by the Scottish Executive, which continues to claim the incident was an "honest mistake".
Scotland on Sunday has previously reported the conclusion of Mackay's report into the scandal, which was delivered in October 2000, that there was "criminality" and a "cover-up" at the SCRO. But the full executive summary has now been obtained by this newspaper and provides the most detailed and shocking account yet of what went wrong in the SCRO. It reveals that:
• The SCRO was divided from the start over whether the print at the murder scene was McKie's. On Monday, February 10, 1997, one junior member of staff who could not identify the print beyond doubt was told by a senior colleague that it would be "beneficial" if it could be identified, and "suggested getting someone else" to do so.
• By the following day, no fewer than four SCRO experts had been found who could positively identify the print.
• A week later, on February 18, "blind" tests were carried out by four SCRO staff, three of whom could not positively identify the print as McKie's. Two asked for more time but "were not shown the mark again".
• The Mackay inquiry contacted the leading authority in England on fingerprinting, the Durham-based National Fingerprint Training Centre, which accused the SCRO's experts of "collective manipulation and collective collusion".
• SCRO officers who gave evidence at McKie's trial were seen arguing during a break, even though one of them had still to give evidence. This is a clear breach of court rules.
Mackay's report concludes: "One cannot help but firmly believe that mistakes having been made, there prevailed a culture and mindset to preserve the reputation of individuals. There was then a criminal course of action. Sadly, this entrenched arrogance by some overshadows the dedication and excellent work evident in others."
Scotland on Sunday has also been passed a minute from a meeting of SCRO fingerprint experts in 1995 in which they appear to express "concern" about pressure from superiors to come up with results. It warns of "concern as shown by the group over the question of persons' names being taken over not signing an identification".
A letter from a former SCRO fingerprint expert has also been passed to this newspaper alleging "bullying and intimidation" of officers.
A spokeswoman for the SCRO said last night that since the McKie case the service had been transformed.
"Since 2000, as a result of this case, SCRO has been subject to several detailed and rigorous reviews," she said. "All processes and procedures were scrutinised by HMIC [Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary].
"The Scottish Fingerprint Service embraced the need for significant change and implemented a change management programme, resulting in the introduction of ... new and improved quality management systems which are subject to external audit and accreditation."
But campaigners insist the problems that blighted the McKie case still linger on. At least one murder conviction is to be challenged on the basis of "flawed" fingerprint evidence.
UK MASONIC POLICE PROTECT MASONIC CRIMINALS 24 February 2006
After investigations into three of the most notorious mass murderers Shipman ,Huntley and Hamilton
it was clear that in every case UK police failed to take any action against the growing mountain of evidence
showing they had been acting criminally right up to the time they had murdered.
The connection is clear that Dr.Harold Shipman(the second biggest mass murderer in history) ,Ian Huntley(murdered two children after working as a janitor despite a history af abuse) and Thomas Hamilton(who murdered 16 children in Dunblane despite a history of complaints about his conduct around children he took to summer camps) ALL had been associated with an agenda connecting senior police officers to Masonic secret society networks and who have infiltrated to control ALL key areas of law .From lawyers,judges ,law lords ,politicians,Chief Constables, right down to the ordinary constable ,the UK is dominated by this sinister network.
The UK media fail time and again to expose that connection indeed the UK media have throughout its history kept a TIGHT lid on a system that dominates all parts of UK life.UNTIL the media stop covering up this sinister connection we will continue to see MASONIC CONTROLLING bullies and criminals getting away with MURDER thanks to those failures.
Internet users will continue to EXPOSE each and every part of society that has been aiding and abetting masonic control over our daily lives causing untold misery and deaths ,due to repeated and consistent failures of our legal systems to stop masonic interference.The complicity and collusion is breathtaking in a so called modern society that will remain in the dark ages until there is widespread publicity and debate on these serious matters.
Clear parallels between McKie and Lockerbie investigations 24 February 2006
I cannot comment on whether the Lockerbie case may have interfered with the Shirley McKie fingerprint case, but there do seem to be worrying parallels between the two cases which should concern those who seek the whole truth.
It is alleged that, in the McKie case, Harry Bell claimed the fingerprint evidence obtained abroad should be set aside because it was based on copy prints sent by e-mail, whereas the Scottish Criminal Records Office opinion used the superior original, and that he refused to release the original for others outside the SCRO to review.
In the Lockerbie case, Edwin Bollier, of Zurich, the manufacturer of the digital timer alleged by the prosecution to have been used in the bomb was called as a witness at Zeist. The identification of the timer was said to have been based solely on a small fragment recovered from the crash scene. Yet, according to Mr Bollier, the Scottish police repeatedly refused him access to the fragment even though he turned up in Scotland, pre-trial, expressly to see it.
He complained bitterly that he was only allowed to see photographs, never the original, and so could not precisely identify the timer from which it was said to have come, since the photographs were not of adequate quality.
In the Lockerbie case, Colin Boyd, the Lord Advocate, was in charge of the prosecution team and Mr Bell was a vital member of the criminal investigation team.
It seems to me that where the prosecution denies full access to important evidential material in its possession, which might be of significance to the defence, then the principle of "equality of arms" is overturned, and the fairness of the trial, and, therefore, the verdict, may be jeopardised.
Of course it would be unlikely that those in charge of such cases would relish an independent inquiry.
(DR) JIM SWIRE
The Shirley McKie case has blown the fallacy that fingerprint evidence provides a 100 per cent infallible method of identification out of the water. We must consider that if a mistake of this nature can occur, how many suspects were wrongfully imprisoned, or sent to the gallows, when the science was in its relative infancy, as "genetic fingerprinting" is today?
The case for establishing a national DNA register must now have been dealt a serious blow, as even if the experts are correct in their estimate that the chances of two people having the same DNA pattern are one in several tens of millions, they can no longer tell us that "if you are not guilty, you have nothing to fear".
It will not be surprising if evidence of a cover-up comes to light in the McKie inquiry when we consider the serious implications had the Crown Prosecution Service admitted to the fallibility of fingerprint evidence.
WALTER J ALLAN
Colinton Mains Drive
The bungling and desperate cover-up of the Shirley McKie case leads me to believe there will never be a public inquiry. The trouble with cover-ups is that (as Richard Nixon found out) they leave there own fingerprint trail.
The Scottish Executive has mismanaged this case badly and has done permanent damage to public confidence in our legal system.
Masonic police use terror to shoot innocent victims 24 February 2006
Police to keep 'shoot to kill' policy in fight against terror
SCOTLAND Yard's "shoot to kill" policy on suspected suicide bombers will remain in place, it was confirmed yesterday.
The so-called Operation Kratos rules, which give officers guidelines for stopping imminent terrorist attacks, were at the heart of the fatal shooting in London last year of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent Brazilian.
The shooting is still the subject of an independent investigation, but Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, told London's police authority yesterday that despite changes, the broad policy would remain.
Cindy Butts, the deputy head of the authority, said she accepted assurances by Sir Ian that the shooting rules would be clarified.
She said: "The public can rest assured that the Met are addressing areas that require a greater level of clarity and that they are looking to improve constantly how the policy works."
Calls to the Met from people reporting suspected bombers fell from 292 in August to 19 in January.
Jean Charles de Menezes
Police collude to avoid torture inquiry 23 February 2006
Torture-flights row grows as police are accused of colluding with executive
Police were yesterday accused of colluding with the Scottish Executive to avoid investigating allegations of CIA torture flights passing through Scotland.
Chris Ballance, the Green MSP, sent an Amnesty International dossier of allegations to Strathclyde police last year, asking for a meeting with senior officers about investigating flights using Prestwick airport.
When he failed to get anywhere, his staff put in a request under freedom of information legislation and he said he was stunned to receive a reply, referring to his original letter, admitting that police had taken advice from the Crown Office and the Scottish Executive.
"Prior to writing to you, consultation took place between Strathclyde police, the Crown Office procurator-fiscal service and the Scottish Executive. The contents of these exchanges are considered exempt," said the letter.
Mr Ballance said: "This began when we drew the attention of the police to Amnesty International material. Their response was not to carry out that investigation into the allegations, but to ask the Crown Office and the executive what they should do next.
"This shows clearly that there has been political advice given by the executive on whether to investigate these alleged crimes. Can anyone imagine reporting any other crime to the police only for them to check with ministers before deciding whether to investigate? I find this response extraordinary."
He said that every time the Greens had raised the issue of rendition flights with ministers, the stock response had been that it was nothing to do with the executive, and if there was evidence of a crime it should be taken to the police.
Now the police were admitting that they consulted the executive before deciding to rule out an investigation.
Strathclyde police yesterday stood by the position of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Scotland), saying: "Where there is evidence that a criminal act is in planning, in the course of perpetration, or has occurred, the police can investigate, and intervene. Where appropriate, this will be with the authority of a court warrant.
"Application for warrants must be based upon more than speculation. At this stage there appears to be no evidence upon which a formal investigation could be founded in Scotland. Should more specific information become available the position will be reviewed."
Last night, the Liberal Democrats threatened to go to the parliamentary ombudsman to get answers from the government over rendition flights stopping off at British airports.
Sir Menzies Campbell, the party's acting leader, told The Herald that Ministry of Defence answers to his parliamentary questions were "unsatisfactory" and highlighted the government's lack of openness on the subject. "What is difficult to understand is just how little knowledge the government has, or claims to have, about the use of British air space by CIA aircraft," he said.
No comment from womens aid after child death 22 February 2006
Why was little Michael left alone for six weeks?
A REPORT into the case of home-alone toddler Michael McGarrity came under fire today after it failed to lay any blame for the child's plight.
Michael was found in a Leith flat with the decomposed body of his 33-year-old mother Anne-Marie, who had died of a drug overdose. He was starving and barely able to stand. It is thought he had survived on food scraps for up to six weeks before police were eventually alerted.
The joint report by Edinburgh City Council and NHS Lothian, which has been seen by the Evening News, focuses heavily on absolving the council and health authority of any blame in the death of Ms McGarrity.
It also does not address why Michael was able to stay undetected in a flat beside his dead mother for so long.
Today, Liberal Democrat councillor Tom Ponton said the report had failed to deal with the real issues. "Someone has to be at fault," he said. "A whole lot of agencies were involved in that child's life because his mother was a drug addict, yet he was never on an official at-risk register. If he had been on an at-risk register it would not have been six weeks before they did anything about it."
A raft of new measures aimed at protecting vulnerable children are to be introduced in following the investigation health and social work chiefs. The report sets out a set of strict rules which health staff will now have to follow in the wake of the three-year-old's ordeal.
The move comes after a previous report into the case highlighted a serious breakdown in communication between NHS Lothian and the city council.
Under the new guidelines, every nursery school class in Edinburgh and the Lothians will have its own dedicated health visitor to ensure families and teachers have "a clear point of contact with the NHS".
Health workers, including doctors, pharmacists and community nurses, will also have to launch their own investigations if a member of a vulnerable family misses an appointment. And health workers will be given more advanced training to help deal with families from vulnerable backgrounds.
The findings will be discussed by city councillors tomorrow.
The report, authored by NHS Lothian chief executive James Barbour and Edinburgh City Council chief executive Tom Aitchison, concludes: "Child welfare and child protection are given the highest priority across the operation of both the council and NHS Lothian.
"While there is no evidence to suggest the death of Anne-Marie McGarrity could have been prevented by NHS or council intervention, the case has prompted a number of actions to review procedures and introduce new ones across both organisations to ensure systems and procedures are even more robust and focussed on the protection of the child."
Yesterday, the procurator fiscal informed Miss McGarrity's family that she died of "fatal multi-drug poisoning".
Extensive tests were needed to determine the cause of death as her body was so badly decomposed when it was found. The report states that additional health staff have been employed to "strengthen clinical teams" and the case loads of health visitors will be subject to closer scrutiny.
NHS Lothian is also developing a way in which computer records can be used to flag up concerns to doctors and GPs have been ordered to meet all newly-registered children. If members of vulnerable families fail to attend a health appointment, the reason for their absence will also now have to be investigated.
It is understood Anne-Marie McGarrity's pharmacist had contacted her doctor to inform him she had not collected her prescription, but this information was not relayed to council or health chiefs. Undernew measures, schools will be responsible for alerting parents if their child does not turn up for class and, in long-term absences, they will maintain weekly contact with the family.
A concierge service at the Fort House flats in Leith, where Michael lived, was also investigated and security systems at council properties across Edinburgh will be improved at a cost of £35,000.
Tory social work spokesman Kate Mackenzie said the report was "sadly lacking". She added: "I'm very disappointed. It has been several months now and I don't think we have come very far. After the time they have had, we should have had something a bit more solid. We don't have much about the health side at all.
"They are fiddling around and not really getting to the crux of what happened. I don't think anyone has got a good hold of this."
Lothians Nationalist MSP Fiona Hyslop said she was appalled that communication continued to be a problem between social, health and education services years after the same issue was highlighted after baby Caleb Ness died at the hands of his brain-damaged father.
She pointed out that it was the role of government to supply the computer equipment to allow information sharing between authorities but the professionals involved needed to change their attitude. She said: "What I can't understand is that following Caleb Ness, there's still concerns about attitude to share information.
"There are 50,000 vulnerable children across Scotland and what happened here could happen to anyone of them. I'm not convinced we have a child-focussed approach in the provision of services."
Dr Alison McCallum, NHS Lothian director of public health, said systems for supervising vulnerable children were being strengthened following the tragedy. She said: "Since November we have been working closely with council colleagues to examine every aspect of the McGarrity case. The resulting report emphasises that both organisations regard child protection as being of paramount importance.
"Joint working is the best way to achieve this and we are developing an ever-closer relationship to ensure this happens."
A council spokesman said: "There is no evidence any intervention by any of our staff could have prevented this tragedy."
Unions today remained tight lipped about the fate of the two health visitors who were suspended after Michael McGarrity was found and it was unclear if they had returned to work.
Dr McCallum said: "An internal investigation has already taken place involving one employee and action has been taken. Other investigations are ongoing."
Cover up over lawyer monopoly 22 February 2006
Huge demand for data under FoI
USE of the freedom of information act has far exceeded the level expected when introduced last year, according to Scotland's information commissioner.
In his first report on his activities to MSPs, Kevin Dunion said he is facing a workload 90% greater than he had anticipated, based on experience in other countries.
While there is no record of how many requests have been lodged with the 10,000 public bodies covered by FoI laws, Mr Dunion had 571 appeals against officialdom's obstructiveness in the first year of the act. These affect only 100 such bodies.
His main complaint against government is over the high level of appeals resulting from officials not replying to requests. At 18% of all appeals, that is substantially higher than other countries. He also said public officials should do more to meet the 20 working day deadline required by law.
Two cases have now reached the stage where the Scottish Executive is challenging the commissioner's ruling in the Court of Session.
The first concerns a refusal to divulge correspondence between Donald Dewar, then the Scottish secretary, and others in the Scottish Office during 1997 and 1998, when ministers were deciding not to implement a law passed by the Tory government that would have opened up legal services competition to non-lawyers.
The executive recently announced its intention to implement the law.
The other dispute concerns a request for information about planning in North Ayrshire. The Herald and residents wanted to know why the executive chose not to intervene in council approval for the use of a protected quarry containing jellyfish fossils as an industrial waste dump. The executive has refused to release communication between officials and ministers, arguing that this would harm effective government.
The 340 million-year-old jellyfish have become a Court of Session test case of whether that secrecy can be sustained under the new law.
Mr Dunion said 55% of appeals came from the public, 7% from journalists and 20% solicitors. He said: "It needs to be emphasised that the greatest use of the new laws is by ordinary members of the public.
"More than half the appeals to my office come from individuals across Scotland who want information, particular to their own circumstances or the interests of their local community, such as planning, education, health, or public spending".
Only 28% of rulings have been in favour of the applicant, while 32% have opted for the public authority, with 30% of appeals partially upheld.
The executive is consulting on restrictions to the laws, after anger from MSPs at the way their expenses have been scrutinised and publicised.
Options include a charge being made for any request, an extension of the 20-day deadline, and implementing fees for multiple requests.
How it's used
The provost of a local authority used a freedom of information request to access council information.
Health boards were ordered to release mortality rates for surgeons.
Food hygiene reports from inspections in Edinburgh and Glasgow were released.
The executive released information on subsidies to larger farm businesses.
Masons control chief constables in fingerprint conspiracy 22 February 2006
Masons control chief constables and head the injustice
in fingerprint conspiracy and ALL other injustices that flow from their
secret society agenda
Wallace backs call for debate on dual role of lord advocate
Jim Wallace, the former justice minister and deputy first minister, has joined the most senior lawyer in Labour's Holyrood ranks to call for a public debate on the role of the lord advocate in the wake of the Shirley McKie fiasco.
Gordon Jackson QC, has been a staunch defender of the dual role of the lord advocate as both cabinet member offering legal advice to his fellow ministers and independent chief prosecutor in Scotland.
But yesterday the MSP for Glasgow Govan, conceded that such a view was coming "increasingly into question".
Cathy Jamieson, the justice minister, and Colin Boyd, the lord advocate, will address MSPs today on the continuing fall-out from the McKie case.
The former policewoman was wrongly accused of leaving her fingerprint at a murder scene. It was not known last night if Mr Boyd would address the issue of his dual role.
However, Ms Jamieson is certain to rebuff calls for a public inquiry after ministers agreed a £750,000 out-of-court settlement for Ms McKie in a damages claim against the Scottish Criminal Record Office (SCRO). She will talk about measures to restore confidence in the system but refuses to rake over old coals.
Mr Jackson said he accepted the need for a public debate, but was yet to be convinced of the need for reform.
He said: "I have always thought it was quite possible and quite appropriate to combine the two roles. It does seem that in the modern world that is coming increasingly into question.
"There should not be a change on the basis of a knee-jerk reaction, and I personally have not reached a conclusion that we are at the stage where there must be change, but I accept that there now needs to be a debate on this.
"In a system where the lord advocate has these two roles there has to be a real understanding by both politicians and the media of how that works, and if we lose that then the current system could become untenable."
Mr Wallace, the former Scottish LibDem leader, says there should be no rush to judgment, but suggested the lord advocate's role should be looked at when the time comes to revisit the Scotland Act.
He said: "At some stage there is going to have to be a review of the Scotland Act and this is an issue which merits due consideration then."
But Alex Neil, the SNP MSP, yesterday called for the fingerprint staff at the SCRO's Glasgow bureau to be suspended on full pay pending the outcome of a judicial public inquiry into "this whole fiasco".
He wants such an inquiry to have the power to recommend disciplinary action and criminal proceedings.
"Not to take action to suspend the bureau would be a betrayal of the Scottish criminal justice system," he said, prompting criticism from the Tories, who said this would pre-judge any inquiry.
Ms McKie had always insisted that a thumbprint found in a room where Marion Ross was murdered in 1997 did not belong to her.
Experts acting on her behalf have been fiercely critical of the fingerprint service. One of the experts, Pat Wertheim, has called the Scottish fingerprint service "a laughing stock".
However, the country's chief constables yesterday weighed in with a declaration of confidence in the system. Peter Wilson, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, said: "The police service in Scotland has the utmost faith and confidence in the fingerprinting service being offered
WOULD YOU TRUST THE UK'S MASONIC POLICE WITH GUNS? 20 February 2006
Something the UK media NEVER discuss
SO WHO REALLY CONTROLS UK MEDIA?
Are there masonic police armed primarily as hitmen for the so called ELITE masonic mafia controllers in the UK
Innocent man shot dead while walking home with table leg
Innocent man shot dead while going to work on tube
Unlawful Killing Verdicts
The data below represents the number of unlawful killing verdicts and manslaughter prosecutions in prison and police custody or pursuits since 1990 that INQUEST is aware of. The data is shown by the year the verdict is returned. Where no year is shown there were no unlawful killing verdicts returned. *
Robin Goodenough Police Custody Yes - three officers charged with manslaughter and assault causing actual bodily harm
Harry Stanley Police Shooting Awaiting Crown Prosecution Service decision Yes Unlawful killing; overturned at Judicial Review, May 2005
Roger Sylvester Police Custody Unlawful killing; quashed on a techniality
Scott Veach Police Pursuit Unlawful killing UK White
Darren Franey Police Pursuit Unlawful killing UK White
James Ashley Police Shooting Yes - Trial Halted
Christopher Alder Police Custody 5 officers charged with manslaughter - trial collapsed
Yes Unlawful killing
Alton Manning Prison No yes Unlawful killing
Ibrahima Sey Police Custody No Yes Unlawful killing
Shiji Lapite Police Custody No Yes Unlawful killing
David Ewin Police Shooting Yes – hung jury
Richard O'Brien Police Custody Yes – acquitted Yes
Joy Gardner Police / Immigration Yes – acquitted
Police Custody a) Unlawful killing quashed
b) new inquest 1996: "misadventure contributed to by neglect"
Omasase Lumumba Prison Unlawful killing
Oliver Pryce Police Custody Unlawful killing
Justice, fairness and the stench of scandal 19 February 2006
THE need for a fully independent public inquiry into the case of Shirley McKie, the police officer wrongly accused of leaving her fingerprint at a murder site, is now incontestable.
Last week this newspaper exposed grave issues of public interest raised by the case, involving "criminality and cover up" at the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO) and explained why such an inquiry must be held. In the seven days since, our position has been significantly strengthened. Indeed, our revelations today render the argument for an inquiry unanswerable.
On Friday, the individual at the epicentre of the controversy, Lord Advocate Colin Boyd, having dithered for five days, issued a statement of monumental complacency. His claim that "there have always been, and there remain, conflicting expert views on the issue of identification of the relevant fingerprints" can only be described as provocative. Not only does this appear to be an attempt to reopen the settled argument about McKie's innocence, it echoes the view controversially expressed years ago by Willie Rae, then Chief Constable of Dumfries and Galloway, that fingerprinting was not an exact science.
We beg to differ. Of course fingerprinting is an exact science: no two people have the same fingerprints. As such, once competent experts had determined the print found at the murder scene was not McKie's, the Scottish Executive began its long retreat which ended with the award of £750,000 in compensation to a woman who had once been tried for perjury.
It is outrageous that, nine years down the line, the Lord Advocate should still seek to muddy the waters by pretending that there is some kind of conflict within expert evidence, as if one man's opinion is as good as another's, when the issue is one of objective scientific truth and fairness.
But a more important development at last sheds some light on the puzzling question as to why the full weight of the establishment should have been brought to bear on the relatively minor case of Shirley McKie. The SCRO, whose evidence was disproved in the McKie case, was also crucial to the prosecution in the Lockerbie trial. If its expertise was compromised there was a risk that the Lockerbie prosecution would fail.
We reveal today that the two American experts, Pat Wertheim and David Grieve, whose testimony acquitted Shirley McKie, were warned off speaking out on the case by the FBI, which had been visited by an officer of the SCRO. At the same time the FBI and the Scottish legal establishment were playing for high stakes with regard to the Lockerbie trial: against that backdrop, was justice for McKie seen as a secondary issue?
The Lockerbie factor injects a whole new dimension into the situation, as ministers must be aware. We also now know that Jim Wallace, the former justice minister, was made aware of alleged "collective collusion and... manipulation" at the SCRO and yet failed to take any action. Where, now, is the argument against a public inquiry?
We are far from alone in demanding one. At the latest count, such a step was supported by the McKie family, the SCRO personnel, Pauline McNeill MSP who is convener of the justice committee, all the opposition parties and many Labour MSPs at Holyrood, senior police officers and fingerprint scientists.
The only people who appear to be opposed to an inquiry are the Lord Advocate and the past and present justice ministers. All of these people are supposedly committed to the principle of transparency and accountability in the law and in devolved government. What have they to fear?
It is time for First Minister Jack McConnell to stand up and be counted. There can be no room for secrecy and cover-up in a situation that could have cost an innocent woman her freedom. Nothing short of a public inquiry can now restore confidence in our justice system.
A winning idea
AND it's disaster for Scotland... Or perhaps not any more. Sir Bill Gammell, the energy tycoon, is determined to help rid Scotland of its culture of "glorious defeat", typified by the masochistic scenes that attend our eviction from the World Cup.
Gammell is putting his money where his mouth is, by contributing £275,000 towards the creation of a new foundation designed to imbue Scottish sports stars of the future with a "winning mentality". This is a welcome move. Self-belief is the essential prerequisite for winning.
Gammell's recipe is based on common sense. By laying on additional facilities such as specialised training, the foundation will offer support to potential stars who may just lack the extra edge that would make them trophy winners and record breakers. And there is no reason why more Scots should not be winners - we have been for centuries, on a global scale.
But the most significant aspect of Gammell's initiative is psychological. To create a can-do mentality among more of our competitors in a variety of sports will not necessarily be easy. It is good, however, that someone is making the effort. And this project has a relevance far beyond the world of sport.
It is high time a culture of healthy competition, aspiration and achievement was reintroduced into other key parts of Scottish life. Of course, there are areas in which we currently excel and we should not imagine that the glass is not already half full. But we can, and Gammell shows the way, do much more.
Inhibitions about competition should no longer be allowed to hold Scots back. There is nothing unwholesome about excelling or about making a profit. If sport is a metaphor for life, then giving birth to a new spirit of optimism may be just the beginning of a wider renaissance of self-confidence and belief in our ability to triumph over adversity.
Cover-up, conspiracy and the Lockerbie bomb connection 19 February 2006
IF THERE is a day when the seemingly inconsequential case involving DC Shirley McKie morphed into the crisis which today is threatening the reputation of Scotland's judicial and political system, it is Thursday, August 3, 2000.
It was already more than three years since McKie (pictured left) had visited a house in Kilmarnock where a woman called Marion Ross had been brutally murdered. Since then McKie had been accused of entering that house unauthorised, and leaving her fingerprint on the crime scene. She had been charged with perjury, after claiming in court she had never set foot in there. She had been humiliated at the hands of her former colleagues.
Now, on that August day, a group set up by the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland (ACPOS) to examine the McKie case, was faced with a stunning report. It had already been established that the fingerprint experts at the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO) had got it wrong and that the print was not McKie's. Now, the document in front of the group - an interim update from James Mackay, the man they had asked to investigate the case - claimed the SCRO officers had acted criminally to cover up their mistakes. The consequences were immense: if Scotland's forensic service was both guilty of errors and of attempting to conceal those errors, what confidence could anyone have in the entire justice system?
Last week, Scotland on Sunday revealed the contents of Mackay's final report, which had been kept secret for six years, and which was never acted upon by Scotland's chief prosecutor, Lord Advocate Colin Boyd. This week, we can reveal that it was not just police and prosecutors who knew its contents; the devastating findings of the interim version were passed on to ministers as well.
Mackay, a much respected former Deputy Chief Constable of Tayside police, had been commissioned to investigate the McKie case after a separate report by HM Inspectors of Constabulary had found that - despite the SCRO's claims - McKie's prints had never been at the crime scene. Mackay now probed deeper. As this newspaper revealed last week, his final report found that a mistake had been made, yet had not then been owned up to. "The fact that it was not so dealt with," he reported, "led to 'cover up' and criminality."
Now Scotland on Sunday has been passed documents obtained under Freedom of Information legislation which show that on the same day that Mackay's interim findings were being given to police chiefs, the then Justice Minister Jim Wallace was also informed of the results. The language used to describe Mackay's findings to Wallace was even starker than that used in the report itself.
The proof comes in an e-mail written by a senior official in the Scottish Executive Justice Department, Sheena Maclaren, to another senior Justice Department official, John Rafferty. Maclaren, who was the secretary of the Department's second police division, handled the correspondence of Wallace.
On September 20, 2001, Maclaren wrote: "James Mackay, then DCC Tayside police, was appointed to lead the investigation of the issues relating to fingerprint evidence. On 3 August 2000, we were informed that investigations so far suggested that the evidence given in court by... SCRO fingerprint personnel was 'so significantly distorted that without further explanation, the SCRO identification likely amounts to collective manipulation and collective collusion'."
She added: "Mr W Rae, then President of ACPOS and President of SCRO's Executive Committee, decided that given the circumstances, all Chief Constables concluded that there was no alternative but to 'precautionary suspend' the 4 SCRO personnel. This was done on 3 August by the Director of SCRO. Ministers, copied to Richard Henderson and others, were informed of this decision in a minute from John Rowell on 3 August 2000."
Rowell, another head of police in the Scottish Executive's Justice Department, sat on the executive committee of the SCRO. A minute of the committee meeting on October 27, 2000, attended by Rowell, confirmed that he too saw Mackay's findings. "Mr Rae [the chairman] had made available copies of [Mackay's] Interim Report," the minute declares.
Last week, before being confronted with today's revelations, the Scottish Executive confirmed it had never been given sight of Mackay's report. A spokesman for the Justice Department said: "It would not have been appropriate for Scottish Ministers to have seen the report. It remains a confidential report between the police and the Crown Office and Scottish Ministers (except for the Lord Advocate in his capacity as head of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal's office) have never been passed a copy of the report." Asked whether the First Minister had seen the report, his spokesman replied: "No - and neither have any other Ministers past or present as this was a confidential report between the police and the Crown Office."
After being told about the e-mails yesterday, a spokesman for the Executive insisted that they only referred to Mackay's interim findings, not to his full report which was published some months later. The spokesman said: "This e-mail exchange simply confirms that the Executive was made aware of the rationale for that action [suspension of the SCRO officers]. As the e-mail makes clear, this was interim information provided to the Executive in the year 2000 around the time of the suspension decision." The spokesman said that a civil service note had been sent to Wallace after the August 2000 meeting which "would have confirmed the reasons why there were going to be suspensions". The spokesman added that it was for the Lord Advocate, not his fellow ministers, to act on the findings of the Mackay report.
Last night there were further questions from the McKie family and their supporters over why, when faced with such staggering allegations, ministers failed to do more to address the SCRO's failings.
Iain McKie, Shirley McKie's father, said: "This reveals that at that time in August 2000, the Mackay report was being discussed within Jim Wallace's department. The whole case has now reached staggering proportions and if ever a public inquiry was required it is required now."
Wallace was unavailable for comment yesterday - and with his successor Cathy Jamieson remaining silent about the scandal, it has been left to Boyd to explain the inaction. On Friday, he declared that he had seen the full Mackay report and decided that there was still insufficient evidence to prosecute anyone from the SCRO. This decision, taken in September 2001, astonished Mackay. He is understood to have expressed his "surprise" and "disappointment" to the Crown Office and to have relayed his concerns to the then deputy crown agent, Bill Gilchrist. Indeed, so curious is the Lord Advocate's decision not to prosecute, that many are reaching their own conclusions as to why he didn't press ahead with a prosecution.
One is the theory that such a prosecution would undermine the case against David Asbury, the man jailed for the murder of Marion Ross. Such a fear was misguided: Asbury's conviction was quashed anyway in August 2002 on the back of the McKie revelations.
A second theory brings in the shadow of the Lockerbie bombing. Mackay's explosive report into the McKie case that August came three months after Boyd began the prosecution of Libyan suspects Abdelbaset Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah. The eyes of the world were focused on Scottish justice. What would it have said of that system if - just as the Crown was trying to convict the bombers - it emerged that fingerprint officials had been involved in "criminality and cover-up"?
Boyd strenuously denies that Lockerbie has any relevance to his judgments regarding the McKie case. When Iain McKie first raised the issue in 2000, Crown Office officials declared that Lockerbie "had not affected in any way the response from this or indeed any other department of the Scottish Executive to the issues raised by you."
But there is clear proof that senior justice chiefs had a stake in both cases; SCRO director Harry Bell, for example - whose agency was coming under such scrutiny - was a central figure in the Lockerbie investigation, having been given the key role in the crucial Maltese wing of the investigation, and given evidence in court.
Today's revelation that two American fingerprint experts who savaged the SCRO over the McKie case were asked by the FBI to "back off" suggests that plenty of people were aware of the danger that the case could undermine the Lockerbie trial.
Former MP Tam Dalyell - who has long campaigned on the Lockerbie case - said: "I have always felt that there was something deeply wrong with both the McKie case and the Lockerbie judgment. It is deeply dismaying for those of us who were believers in Scottish justice. The Crown Office regard the Lockerbie case as their flagship case and they will go to any lengths to defend their position."
The pressure for a full public inquiry is now growing day by day.
It is understood that, this week, the Scottish Parliament's Justice 1 Committee will consider launching a full parliamentary inquiry. One thing is sure: this murky affair looks set to rock the foundations of Scotland's criminal justice system.
• SCOTLAND on Sunday revealed last week that justice officials were warned six years ago by police of "cover-up and criminality" in the Shirley McKie fingerprint case. Our story was picked up across Scotland, leading to calls for a judicial inquiry from MSPs.
Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson is now under growing pressure to act over the scandal but - nearly two weeks on - has so far refused to talk once about why ministers decided to offer £750,000 to Shirley McKie, just as she was about to take her case to court.
Lord Advocate Colin Boyd is also in the firing line, over his decision not to press charges against fingerprint experts, despite the allegations of criminality. Jim Wallace, Justice Minister when the McKie scandal broke, is also under fire. He was aware of the allegations but failed to act. First Minister Jack McConnell is under pressure to call a public inquiry.
• TWO American fingerprint experts were warned by the FBI to back off from the Shirley McKie case for fear it would scupper the trial of the Lockerbie bombers.
David Grieve, the senior fingerprint expert at Illinois State police, said that FBI agents pleaded with him to stay silent, fearing the case "would taint the people involved in Lockerbie".
Campaigners for the McKie family last night claimed that the plea to "let everything drop" shed new light on why the former policewoman was denied justice. They believe that the Crown was determined to protect the reputation of the Scottish justice system at a time when it was coming under international scrutiny.
The astonishing claims come as Scotland on Sunday reveals that:
• former justice minister Jim Wallace was aware six years ago that fingerprint experts at the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO) were accused of "collective manipulation and collective collusion", yet they were allowed to return to work two years later;
• MSPs are preparing to launch their own parliamentary inquiry into the scandal to get to the truth of the allegations.
Wertheim and Grieve, both internationally respected fingerprint experts, were central in clearing McKie in 1999 when she was accused of having left her fingerprint at a crime scene. The case left the Scottish justice system open to claims its fingerprint evidence was unsafe. FBI officers took both aside before the Lockerbie trial in the Hague began in February 2000.
Grieve, the senior fingerprint expert at Illinois State Police, said: "I was asked not to mention anything about the case and not to publicise it because we had to think about the higher goal, which was Lockerbie."
He also claims that the FBI had been visited weeks earlier by an official from the SCRO.
"I was pulled aside and given a lecture on the importance of not embarrassing a 'sister agency' which had 'very important and high profile' cases pending of an international significance. I knew the reference was to the Pan-Am bombing," he said.
Wertheim, a fingerprint expert of 20 years' experience, added: "I was at the FBI for a meeting and one of their people approached me and made the suggestion that I let everything drop."
Iain McKie, Shirley McKie's father, said yesterday that he believed Lockerbie provided a motive for the 'cover up' over his daughter's case.
He said: "I have always suspected the Lockerbie connection, but when I put it to the Lord Advocate, I got nothing from them. I could never understand why they treated my daughter like that. Lockerbie would give them that motivation."
Former MSP Mike Russell, who has campaigned for the McKie family, said: "This new information suggests the context for the Shirley McKie miscarriage of justice. It suggests that this context is much bigger than previously thought.
"It places the Lord Advocate in a completely untenable position and he too must now be considering his future. If he was influenced by this [Lockerbie] then he cannot continue as Lord Advocate."
SNP MSP Alex Neil, another campaigner for the McKies, said: "A lot of people think that there was pressure put on the FBI by the Scottish law authorities which maybe explains some of the bizarre decisions taken by the Lord Advocate."
The link between Lockerbie and the McKie case goes deeper as several police chiefs and prosecutors were involved in both. The director of the SCRO at the time of the allegations of criminality, Harry Bell, was one of the key police officers whose evidence led to the conviction of Abdel-baset Al Megrahi.
Lord Advocate Colin Boyd led the Lockerbie trial, securing a conviction in January 2001. In September of that year, despite the evidence presented by the Mackay report, he decided not to prosecute the SCRO officers over the McKie case.
The SCRO admitted yesterday that its officials had visited the FBI in 1999 and 2000, but insisted the trips had nothing to do with the McKie case.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Crown Office strongly denied that the decision not to prosecute the SCRO officers had been taken with Lockerbie in mind. She said: "SCRO was not involved in any way with fingerprinting in the Lockerbie case, the evidence of which was never disputed at all."
Boyd declared on Friday that he had decided not to prosecute the four SCRO officials because of "conflicting" evidence from fingerprint experts. He added that a prosecution would have to prove criminal intent.
Wilful blindness to the truth threatens to erode justice
IT SHOULD worry us all that after more than six years of embarrassment about the quality of fingerprint evidence in Scotland and the calibre of work done by the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO), the senior prosecutor in the land appears to have learnt nothing. At the very least, we can say with confidence that the Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd QC, has failed to grasp a critical issue at the heart of this debate.
In a letter Boyd sent on Friday to the presiding officer George Reid to explain his decisions to prosecute Shirley McKie for perjury and not to prosecute the four SCRO experts who misidentified a print at a murder scene as hers, he writes: "Since the time the issue arose in the trial of Shirley McKie, there have always been, and there remain, conflicting expert views on the issue of identification of the relevant fingerprints.
"I concluded in 2001 that the conflict in expert evidence was such that there could be no question of criminal proceedings."
In the earlier days of the debate, Willie Rae, then Chief Constable of Dumfries and Galloway and now the top man at Strathclyde, said in front of TV cameras that fingerprinting was not an exact science, and that the McKie case was simply a difference of opinion between experts.
More recently, Jim Wallace, while still Justice Minister, reached a similar conclusion. Boyd has now revealed he too remains unenlightened.
Fingerprinting, properly administered, is an exact science. Ask any of the genuine experts, such as Allan Bayle, formerly of Scotland Yard, or Pat Wertheim, the American expert who testified so brilliantly at McKie's trial in 1999. But even common sense should tell us, given the fact that people have been executed - and still are in some parts of the world - on the strength of a fingerprint, that it has to be precise.
There is a stubborn refusal by the SCRO to admit even that an error was made, far less something more sinister, even though the Crown Office and the Executive have long since conceded that point. This pig-headedness ensures that changes that are crying out to be made are kept in check.
The SCRO still makes an identification based on establishing 16 points of similarity. In more advanced centres around the world, experts examine the whole mark and don't work to a numerical, and fallible, standard.
Better practices and training are available, but despite making another major error in a mark left at a bank robbery in Ayrshire two years ago, SCRO continues to spurn them. The result is that Scottish fingerprinting has become a laughing stock around the world.
Independent experts have also been highly critical about SCRO's crime-scene investigation work, described by Bayle as the worst he's ever seen. The organisation must be forced to acknowledge its many flaws.
There is also a pressing need to break the strong link between the SCRO and the police service, especially Strathclyde Police. The current director, John McLean, was an Assistant Chief Constable with the force. His predecessor, Harry Bell, was a Det Chief Superintendent there.
Agencies involved in detecting and solving crime, the police, forensic examiners, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, tend to form bonds and pull together. But that has to be resisted as it undermines the necessary independence of each of those bodies.
Scientists and analysts who examine crime scenes for fingerprints, traces of DNA and any other clues should simply be concerned with finding the best evidence and passing it on. They should not become part of the drive to secure the conviction of an accused person. It has been suggested to Scotland on Sunday that SCRO experts have in the past been given targets to meet in making positive identifications. That should never happen. A print either matches a crime scene mark or it does not.
International experts have proved the mark in Marion Ross's home was not left by McKie; five colleagues of the four who insisted it was refused to support their identification; an independent inquiry by senior police officers found evidence of criminality on the part of the SCRO. Yet the organisation, with no dissent from the Executive or the Crown Office, continues to stand by its discredited experts. It does not bode well for Scottish justice.
How much more evidence is needed for a public inquiry? 19 February 2006
UK fingerprint expert: evidence more likely to be fabricated than incompetent
THE pressure on Jack McConnell to order a judicial inquiry into the Shirley McKie case became unbearable last night after a slew of fresh forensic evidence was unearthed by the Sunday Herald.
Investigations by this newspaper have uncovered damning material alleging “collective manipulation of evidence” and “fabrication” on the part of fingerprint officers at the Scottish Criminal Record Office (SCRO) in Glasgow.
The allegations follow revelations last week that a police inquiry led by James Mackay, then deputy chief constable of Tayside Police, found evidence in 2000 of “criminality and cover up” among SCRO experts.
In a confidential precognition of Mackay he revealed his “surprise” that there was no prosecution against “four experts (and perhaps others) at SCRO in light of the sufficiency of evidence of criminality involved”.
However, for the first time, new material shows that the allegations of criminality against experts go beyond the erroneous McKie print – found at the murder scene of Kilmarnock woman Marion Ross in 1997. It now makes the position held by SCRO experts – that they made no mistakes in the Ross investigation – utterly untenable.
Previously unseen reports, compiled by British and US fingerprint experts for the lawyer Cameron Fyfe, allege that a second SCRO fingerprint identification in the case, which led to the conviction of David Asbury for Ross’s murder, was “pure fabrication”.
The fingerprint – marked QI2 – was found on a sweet tin filled with money in Asbury’s house just days after the murder in January 1997. SCRO officers identified the mark as belonging to Marion Ross, providing a motive for the crime and linking him to the victim. On the back of the fingerprint evidence Asbury was jailed for life ... but released in 2000 after doubts were raised about the McKie print.
However, a damning report by US expert Pat Wertheim reveals: “The flagrant differences in the mark [QI2] and the inked right fore fingerprint of Marion Ross are so gross in their totality that no competent fingerprint examiner could possibly mistake them as having come from the same source.
“If one is to accept that the fingerprint experts who made and testified to the identification are competent ... then mere error alone cannot explain the erroneous identification and the possibility of an intentional erroneous identification must be considered. If that is the case, Crown Production number 99 is a complete fabrication used to present false and perjured testimony.”
Another report, by Allan Bayle, a fingerprint expert formely of the London Metropolitan Police, states that it was his “firm belief” that the SCRO’s forensic evidence in the case was “far more likely to be fabrication rather than gross incompetence”.
The Sunday Herald has also been passed a copy of a previously unseen report by the UK’s national forensic training centre in Durham – where SCRO experts are trained – which concludes that there “appears to be collective manipulation of evidence and collective collusion to erroneously identify Shirley McKie”.
Last night, the Sunday Herald’s evidence led to calls for an inquiry by politicians, the Strathclyde joint police board and by David Asbury.
Alex Salmond MP, the SNP leader, said: “We are now in a situation where everybody wants a public inquiry with the exception of the ministers. There has been an official cover up and secondly a political cover up.”
Alex Neil MSP, who has been a supporter of the McKies, said: “This new evidence makes a public inquiry absolutely necessary.”
David Asbury, who spent three and a half years in jail for the Ross murder, said: “I know there was fabrication involved in this case because I was fitted up. There should definitely be a public inquiry into this case and criminal charges brought aganst the SCRO experts.”
Iain McKie, the father of Shirley McKie said: “The first minister and justice minister have refused to face the public. A judicial inquiry would compel them to raise their right hand and tell the public what they know.”
An SCRO spokeswoman said it could not comment on the new evidence as it “did not possess” the reports.
A Scottish Executive spokesman said it did not believe that an inquiry would “shed new light” on the issue.
Analysis: Full investigation into the fingerprint cover-up
Independent complaints body call 19 February 2006
Opposition MSPs are divided over Strathclyde Police Federation claims that officers need protection from malicious complaints.
Not a single member of the public has been held to account despite thousands of unfounded complaints.
Glasgow Conservative MSP Bill Aitken described the vast majority of complaints as "spurious".
Socialist MSP Frances Curran warned of reprisals for complaining and called for an independent complaints body.
She said: "There are some real problems there for the complainants.
"The banner headline here - especially if you are a woman - is don't make any allegations against the police because you'll be on the receiving end.
"Let's not waste police time doing internal investigations.
"We already have in England an Independent Police Complaints Commission. Let's go for that in Scotland.
"I don't think we can have the police investigating themselves."
The Glasgow MSP recently expressed her concerns to the complaints and discipline department within Strathclyde Police.
Conservative Bill Aitken said he and the vast majority of the public were "relaxed" with the present system.
He said: "One has to set a balance.
"The vast majority of complaints are totally spurious and are simply to justify a defence.
"Certainly there has got to be a robust investigation process.
"We have to look at the number of frankly farcical complaints that are being lodged because it is cluttering up the system and leaving the justice system in a degree of disarray at times."
He added: "The system has to be robust, we can't have police officers misbehaving themselves and not being dealt with."
LAW CHIEF IN MCKIE DNA BID 19 February 2006
THE DEPTHS CROOKED LORD ADVOCATE BOYD WILL GO TO COVER HIS CORRUPT BACK
LAW CHIEF IN MCKIE DNA BID
Opposed: Shirley McKie and Colin Boyd QC
SCOTLAND'S top prosecutor tried to get DNA from fingerprint evidence in the Shirley McKie case three months before she was awarded a £750,000 out-of-court settlement.
Ex-detective McKie, 43, was wrongly accused of leaving her print at the scene of the murder of Marion Ross in Kilmarnock and fought for nine years to clear her me.
Last night, fingerprint expert Alan Bayle said Colin Boyd, QC, the Lord Advocate, instructed officials to try to get DNA samples in a bid to discredit McKie's claim for compensation.
Bayle provided opinions for McKie and joiner David Asbury, 39, of Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, who spent almost four years in jail for the 1997 murder. He branded the move as "sneaky and futile".
Boyd was forced to defend himself after claims that a Crown Office blunder wrongly indentifying the print as McKie's was covered up in a "criminal" manner.
McKie's father Iain, a former Strathclyde Police superintendent, said: "We'll fight for a public inquiry. At least £2million of taxpayers' money has been spent on this case. The public deserve to know who is responsible.
"Then there's the question of who really did murder Marion Ross."
Last night, a Crown Office spokesman said: "Consideration was given to DNA extraction but it was not possible."
Asbury will have his case for £200,000 compensation heard at the Court of Session next year.
His lawyer Cameron Fyfe said: "No matter what, the full facts of the case will be debated in open court."
Looking again at Murder Of 'God's Banker'18 February 2006
Authorities Again Looking Into Murder Of 'God's Banker' As Investigation Leads Right Into The Belly Of The Beast, The Vatican, As Well As Masonic Lodges
The Vatican Bank scandal of the 1980's may open up clues to the death of Pope John Paul I, as well as turning up the 'real culprits' behind the murder of Roberto Calvi, the prominent Italian financier and P2 Masonic Lodge member found hanging from the Blackfriars Bridge in London.
By Greg Szymanski
The story behind the brutal murder of the man called 'God's Banker' has never been fully resolved or his death adequately explained to the American public, a naïve public kept from the truth about so many things, including corruption in the Vatican.
The nickname 'God's Banker' was appropriately attached by the Italian press to prominent Italian financier and Banco Ambrosiano chairman, Roberto Calvi, for his illicit role in the decades old scandal involving millions of dollars of stolen money through a wicked and evil financial scam involving the principals controlling the Vatican Bank, including the Mafia, the P2 Masonic Lodge, the Freemasons and the Jesuits.
After the scandal broke in the Italian papers in 1982, Calvi was found hanging from scaffolding under the Blackfriars Bridge in London shortly after midnight on June 18, 1982.
His death was determined a suicide but chilling evidence recently uncovered is proving Calvi was most likely killed for knowing too much and able to point the finger behind the real culprits behind the scandal, including high-level politicians, Church officials and clandestine members of the P2 Masonic group, which Calvi was a member.
And the worldwide ramifications behind Calvi's murder goes far deeper than hundreds of millions in lost loot, but to the very bottom of the dark underworld connections between the cloth, the Masonic groups and the Mafia.
His murder goes right to the heart of the scandal, which many close to the Vatican openly claim could also eventually open up what have been "closed doors" to the murder of Pope John Paul I, the shooting of Pope John Paul II and other clandestine matters, including Masonic affiliations of many high-level Vatican priests, on its face a matter of expulsion from the Church under Canon Law 2338.
And it was the ugly matter of cleaning up the Vatican Bank and outing high-level priests affiliated to cult groups and Masonic lodges that most likely led to the death of Pope John Paul I after only 33 days in office, say sources close to the Vatican.
But it also should be noted the Vatican authorities never fully investigated the death of the Pope as well as never allowing for an autopsy to determine the true cause of death, listed officially as a heart failure with respiratory complications.
Concerning the details of the Vatican bank scandal, it erupted several years after the Pope's death under Pope John Paul II since he allowed for the corruption and underworld dealings to go unchecked, as many close to the Vatican said he bowed to the Jesuit pressure applied by the Black Pope, who was at the heart of the scandal and the beneficiary of much of the stolen Vatican money.
And concerning Calvi, his case recently took a new twist in Rome last March, as Italian prosecutors opened up the case on new evidence implicating several Mafia members accused of Calvi's murder.
Among the evidence brought out in the Rome court proceedings, never covered in the American press but released in Italian papers, was that Calvi was probably still alive when left hanging from the bridge for more than an hour, as British and Italian police and forensic scientists have picked through the original findings and the witness testimony, closely scrutinizing the scaffolding and Calvi's clothes.
And their investigation has revealed dirt under his fingernails and traces of dust from 11 pound bricks studded in his pockets, as well as strange bone lesions and bruises, indicating murder not suicide.
One of the detectives in London investigating the case said this in a London Sunday Times article about the reopened investigation: "We have been applying 21st century forensic and investigative techniques to a 21-year-old crime."
Accordingly Italian prosecutors, Luca Tescaroli and Maria Monteleone believe Mafia bosses ordered Calvi's killing because he withheld millions of dollars of illegal profits, as his death brought down a financial "house of cards" as the Ambrosiano collapsed in Italy's biggest post-war banking scandal.
Although the scandal goes much deeper than the two Mafia figures, Flavio Carboni and Pippo "The Cashier" Calo, one Sardinian businessman and another Australian woman, who at the time of the killing was dating Carboni.
The investigation is also centering on the testimony of Vincenzo Calcara, a Milan caf?wner who served drinks to the suspected killers the day of Calvi's murder, overhearing the decision to impose an ugly death sentence on Calvi.
Calcara, who has co-operated with investigators in the past, testified that a year before the Calvi murder he traveled from Sicily to Rome to deliver suitcases containing $6.5 million in cash to then head of the Vatican Bank, Cardinal Paul Marcinkus of Chicago, and another unnamed Cardinal.
Rome prosecutors are still hoping to question Marcinkus, but he has been kept under protection in Phoenix, Arizona, still being under Vatican diplomatic immunity, as the aging Cardinal, now 81, limits his activities to saying Mass and other minor church duties.
Marcinkus was originally indicted by Italian authorities in the 1980's for his role in the bank scandal, but the case was dropped and settled out of court, the Vatican paying $241 million to end legal proceedings.
Marcinkus was also linked to Calvi as the Vatican insisted he pay back over $154 million, but the links to those involved in the scandal never were fully explored as investigators were refused permission to ever investigate Marcinkus.
Since then sources close to Vatican say that Marcinkus was whisked away to America to keep "his mouth shut," since he was actually only an "innocent fall guy" for the real culprits pulling the strings behind the scandal.
Those sources close to Vatican now contend the Black Pope and the Jesuit Order "in full control of P2 and the Grand Orient Lodges, used Michele Sindona, another accomplice also thought murdered and Calvi, to steal the money, then in Mafia-like fashion had both of them killed.
"Archbishop Marchincus, being publicly responsible for the loss of the funds of Banco Ambrosiano, then agreed to take the fall, subsequently protecting his Jesuit masters from further investigation," said a source close to the Vatican who wished to remain anonymous.
"It is Jesuit Bishop Hnilica, the untouchable, who is really at the bottom of the scandal and fronting for the Black Pope. I believe Marcinkus was a patsy and that Hnilica is the real culprit and thus the Black Pope."
Sources close to Marcinkus also claim that "all along" he was innocent of any serious wrong doing, including having absolutely nothing to do with Calvi's murder or embezzlement of funds.
The source close to the Vatican added:
"Marcinkus does not wish to be convicted for murder and a crime he didn't commit, but realizes, at the same time, his diplomatic immunity status could be withdrawn at anytime by a new order at the Vatican. Also it should be remembered, Bishop Hnilica is a devoted 'Marianist heretic' and was protected by Pope John Paul II. The former Grand Inquisitor, Benedict, is a traditional Catholic and abhors Mary Co-Redemptrix and the false Gospel of Mary. Bishop Hnilica no longer has friends in high places."
UK child torture 17 February 2006
The bullies who control UK resort to child abuse and torture
Child 'jail' restraint criticised
An unacceptable level of pain is being used to restrain children in secure custody, a report says.
The independent investigation into the treatment of children in prison, led by Lord Carlile, found pain was used to enforce compliance.
That was "unacceptable" and may be illegal, the report said.
The investigation was set up following the death of a 15-year-old boy in a privately-run secure unit while he was being restrained by three adult staff.
The inquiry, commissioned by the Howard League for Penal Reform, looked into the use of restraint techniques and strip searching.
It found that physical force was used against youngsters 15,512 times during a 21-month period in England and Wales, with injuries to both staff and children not uncommon.
Liberal Democrat Lord Carlile said his team of advisors "shared my shock at some of the practices we witnessed".
"We found that some of the treatment children in custody experience would in another setting be considered abusive and could trigger a child protection investigation."
Figures varied between institutions - in which there are in total 2,800 children and young people held in England and Wales, including 200 girls.
At one secure training centre, Medway in Kent, 1,818 injuries to children as a result of restraint from January 2004 to June 2005 were reported.
Staff have permission to deliberately hurt children
Children's Rights Alliance for England
At Rainsbrook near Rugby there were 118, Hassockfield in County Durham reported 177 and Oakhill in Milton Keynes listed 48 from its opening in September 2004 to August 2005.
A sample of five out of 24 local authority secure children's homes in England and Wales revealed 73 injuries to children from January 2004 to August 2005.
Young offenders institutions did not keep central records of how many children had been injured in restraint incidents.
The inquiry found some evidence that staff would "bait" children into situations that would lead to them being restrained for the adult's "own gratification".
The report accepts that many of the 10 to 17-year-olds held in young offender institutions, secure training centres and local authority secure children's homes have had chaotic and abusive childhoods and lack clear boundaries to their behaviour.
Although children have behaved badly and some of them committed terrible crimes... they're still children
Prison Reform Trust
But it said that unnecessarily painful restraint techniques were used to deal with dissent in some institutions.
Handcuffs were used in the four privately-run secure training centres, something the inquiry says should stop.
And the need for a strip search should be based on evidence, something the report says would cut the number of strip searches by half.
Children's Rights Alliance for England national co-ordinator Carolyne Willow, a member of Lord Carlile's advisory panel, said: "We are not talking here about children being hurt in the rough and tumble of restraint.
"Staff have permission to deliberately hurt children."
"As a former child protection social worker, I am stunned that this is allowed to happen."
The inquiry was told that one in five restraints of children resulted in injury.
'They're still children'
Director of the Prison Reform Trust Juliette Lyon says children are being failed by the prison system and they invariably end up re-offending.
Cases where children needed to be restrained should be the "rarest of rare events", she told BBC News.
"When you look at the number of times that physical restraints were used in the course of less than a year - thousands of times, on some quite young children - you realise it's being used as a matter of course when it's a disciplinary issue.
"Although children have behaved badly and some of them committed terrible crimes, although that is a minority, they're still children," she added.
Lord Carlile's report concludes that police should be ready to prosecute in cases where children appear to have been assaulted.
The inquiry was launched after the death of Garth Myatt, 15, in April 2004.
He died after being restrained by three members of staff four days into his sentence at privately-run Rainsbrook secure training centre, near Rugby.
Scottish Executive and McKie fingerprint case 16 February 2006
The Scottish Executive and the McKie fingerprint case
As William Tinning (February 15) makes clear, the Scottish Executive's policy of hunkering down till the storm over the McKie fingerprint case blows itself out does not seem to be successful. When First Minister Jack McConnell claims that all concerned agree "an honest mistake" was made, and that Scotland's fingerprint service is reliable, he is wrong on all counts.
The McKie family reject the word "honest", the Scottish Criminal Record Office staff concerned refuse to acknowledge any mistake was made, and McConnell's counting skills desert him. This was not a single mistake, but a whole series. Four SCRO staff, if not working in collusion, initially misidentified the McKie print independently of each other, or so we are told. Two other SCRO staff later insisted they were correct. That makes six mistakes.
Fiona McBride asks rather disingenuously: "How could all four of us make an honest mistake?" A charitable answer is that once McKie was put in the frame by one, tunnel vision and loyalty to colleagues skewed the judgment of the rest. In Newsnight Scotland (February 13), Kenneth Macintosh complained that SCRO staff had not had a chance to put their side of the case, but that ignores Shirley McKie's trial for perjury, and the damning (for SCRO) not guilty verdict.
If the Scottish fingerprint service is reliable, why is evidence now emerging that two experts from the Netherlands and Norway, three from Durham, Pat Wertheim from the United States and Allan Bayle, a leading UK expert, have nothing but scorn to pour on SCRO's conclusions?
SCRO, let us not forget, misidentified a print in the Asbury case, and one in an Ayrshire robbery case two years ago. So much for Mr McConnell's hollow reassurance that the service is reliable.
A public inquiry is a must following allegations that SCRO staff not only got the McKie print wrong, but tampered with and rejigged evidence in a way that, if proven, amounts to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
To date, there is a distinct whiff of cover-up about the behaviour of Jack McConnell, the former justice minister Jim Wallace, Cathy Jamieson, the present incumbent, and Colin Boyd, lord advocate. Whatever happened to freedom of information in their overweening desire to hush up that report by Deputy Chief Constable James Mackay and DCS Scott Robertson?
Ex-maths teacher McConnell not only cannot count, but cannot draw lines under this affair, while not only SCRO's, but also the executive's, honesty and integrity are open to such serious question.
Iain McKie's key point is that Colin Boyd has an irreconcilable conflict of interest in cases where the Scottish Executive is being pursued through the courts, and Boyd's position allows him to decide which unpalatable reports are or are not pulled from under the carpet. It is just as well we appear to have a whistleblower with a conscience keeping press and public properly informed in this case.
Dr J R Calder, 52 Ulster Crescent, Edinburgh.
There really must be a public inquiry into the Shirley McKie case. The arguments for it are powerful: the McKie family want it; the fingerprint experts want it; those convicted on fingerprint evidence alone want it; those who were taught to believe that an individual's fingerprints were unique want it. Most of all, those interested in law, justice and the interpretation of evidence want it. Let us hope there is not too long a delay.
Dr William O Thomson, 7 Silverwells Court, Bothwell.
How many times does the justice minister, Cathy Jamieson, have to be invited to speak on Newsnight Scotland about the McKie case before it is obvious she is trying to avoid the subject? The question is – why?
Ian Mackay, 30 Burncrooks Avenue, Bearsden.
An honest mistake made in good faith? 16 February 2006
This phrase needs outlawed FOREVER from the legal crooks vocabulary.IT allows establishment
criminality to go unpunished.
Frightening new evidence about McKie case
"An honest mistake made in good faith." Yes, I have heard this comment before as a serving police officer. I even have had occasion to use it myself. While in the force, I have used the expression when dealing with members of the public who had complained about the actions of a police officer. One example. A young officer answering the phone in a busy office, mixing up two messages he received, one from a hospital about a sick patient and the other from another police office to inform relatives of a death. He mixed them up and the death message went to the wrong person.
The recipient made a complaint over the phone and, being the senior officer on duty, I paid the gentleman concerned a visit, spent some time with him, explained fully the situation, proffered an apology, held up my hands and said the young man had made "an honest mistake in good faith" and the explanation was accepted. Apologising for "an honest mistake made in good faith" at the time, in my experience, worked wonders. It usually prevented a formal complaint to the chief constable.
In Shirley McKie's case, if such an opportunity had presented itself, the current debacle might have been avoided. What has emerged in the media in the past week is frightening.
I have always believed that the forensic examination of fingerprints was an exact science, and both Robert Johnstone and Les Brown (February 11) are quite right in that 16 points of comparison in a print found at the scene of a crime with that of a suspect were an ident and could lead to the arrest and conviction of an accused.
It beggars belief, then, that at Tulliallan Police College in August 2000 two SCRO experts made a presentation to show how their fingerprint evidence proved that the mark had been made by Shirley. A "source" has apparently indicated that at first sight the SCRO presentation looked very impressive, showing 45 points in sequence. Why 45 when 16 points are considered enough? The "source" also apparently indicated that "when you look at it in detail, however, it's just Disneyland. There are a lot of invented points."
Shirley McKie was acquitted in May 1999, 15 months before the presentation. During my service, I was of the opinion that if an accused was found not guilty, their fingerprints were destroyed. Has the law changed?
Two of the world's leading fingerprint experts apparently told a police inquiry six years ago that the forensic case against former detective Shirley McKie was "fabricated" and had "verged on malpractice". Another expert claims the images were electronically blurred and cropped to improve the likeness.
Did something sinister occur in 1997? Was someone out "to get" Shirley McKie? Did someone play a practical joke with a composite fingerprint that badly misfired?
The Scottish Executive must bow to the inevitable and order, not only a full judicial, but also in parallel, a full criminal inquiry to determine the truth. The McKies must not be forced to mount a private prosecution at their own expense.
Robert McLaughlin, 77 Braemar Court, Hazelden Gardens, Glasgow.
Criminal cover-up at the heart of fingerprint scandal 16 February 2006
Exposed: the criminal cover-up at the heart of fingerprint scandal
MINISTERS and top justice officials were warned five years ago by police of "cover-up and criminality" in the case of a Scottish detective falsely accused of perjury.
Scotland on Sunday has obtained a previously secret report which confirms in shocking detail that fingerprint experts tried to cover up blunders over the case of Shirley McKie.
The 43-year-old former Strathclyde officer was awarded £750,000 compensation last week in an out-of-court settlement following a nine-year battle to clear her name. First Minister Jack McConnell claimed in parliament it had been an "honest mistake".
But we reveal today that in a report into the case, Jim Mackay, the then deputy chief constable of Tayside Police, told the Crown Office in October 2000: "There was criminality involved in the actings of the SCRO [Scottish Criminal Records Office] experts and that... criminality first reared its head in February 1997."
He added: "It should have been patently obvious... a mistake had been made and there were opportunities... for the mistake to be acknowledged. The fact that it was not... led to 'cover-up' and criminality."
Despite Mackay's crystal-clear warning of criminal conduct at the SCRO - which is directly accountable to Scottish ministers - neither the Crown Office nor the Scottish Executive took action against those responsible.
Last night, the McKie case erupted into a major political row. Opposition politicians and legal experts demanded to know how the Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd, and the then justice minister, Jim Wallace, could have remained unaware of the Mackay report or failed to act on it.
Questions were also asked about how McConnell could have insisted in parliament last week that an "honest mistake" had been made.
The scandal began in February 1997 when McKie was accused of unauthorised presence at a murder scene after SCRO officers claimed to have found her left thumbprint on a door-frame at a Kilmarnock house. McKie denied the allegation and was later charged with perjury.
She was cleared at her trial in 1999 after an American fingerprint expert, Pat Wertheim, gave evidence that the print could not have been hers.
The SCRO continued to deny a mistake had been made. McKie's civil case for compensation was due to start last Tuesday, but the Scottish Executive settled at the last minute.
Scotland on Sunday's investigation has also revealed:
• Pat Wertheim was about to give devastating evidence for McKie that the SCRO tampered with images of her fingerprints in an effort to strengthen their case. Wertheim claims the images were electronically blurred and cropped to improve the likeness. Wertheim told Scotland on Sunday: "That is the smoking gun that tells me they knew this was an erroneous identification. This had to be done intentionally."
• The SCRO officers implicated in the scandal are not only still working for the organisation, but have been placed in roles where they supervise the work of other fingerprint experts.
• The organisation continues to make serious errors. A charge of robbery against a man in Ayrshire had to be dropped two years ago after independent fingerprint experts and Northern Ireland police told the SCRO they had misidentified a print on a glass.
Shirley McKie, who has suffered depression following her ordeal at the hands of the Scottish justice system, said: "I am totally disgusted by these revelations. The thought that government ministers could be part of a cover-up beggars belief. There must be a public inquiry looking into people at the highest level. The Lord Advocate must be called to account for this."
Her father, Iain, a former policeman who has campaigned ceaselessly on his daughter's behalf, said: "It is becoming clearer and clearer by the minute that this was far from an honest mistake and the fact that our First Minister should stand up in the Scottish Parliament and say so is unbelievable."
Alex Neil, the Nationalist MSP, who has campaigned for years on the case, said: "It is clear from the Mackay report that the Lord Advocate has got no option but to resign. If he doesn't resign then there will be a motion of no confidence placed in the Parliament calling for him to do so. But the other big question is did Jack McConnell know? If he did, then his position is totally unsustainable as well."
Mike Russell, the former MSP who has battled for the McKie family since their ordeal began, said: "We now know that Shirley McKie's nightmare should have ended years earlier.
"For every day she has to suffer there needs to be an explanation, and it is now certain that the explanation is one of carelessness, incompetence and dereliction of duty at the highest level that shames Scotland."
Robert Black, professor of Scots Law at Edinburgh University, said: "I find it inconceivable that after the Crown commissioned this report that the Lord Advocate would not have seen it."
The Mackay report was ordered by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary (HMCIC) in June 2000. In August that year, four fingerprint experts were suspended.
The next month, the Crown Office ordered an extension of the inquiry to other fingerprint anomalies in the case. On October 20, Mackay's completed report was submitted to the Crown Office and HMCIC.
A Scottish Executive spokesman said matters arising from the inquiry were a matter for the Crown Office.
A spokesman for the Crown Office said: "In light of the Mackay report, Crown counsel instructed the regional procurator fiscal of North Strathclyde to carry out an independent investigation.
"On receipt of that report, Crown counsel gave careful consideration to all the material, including the Mackay report, and concluded there was insufficient reliable evidence to found a prosecution."
Shirley McKie fingerprint case:
Women getting away with murder 10 February 2006
Teacher who killed husband freed
A PRIMARY school teacher who killed her husband in a knife attack was freed today after serving just 18 months in jail.
Judges agreed to cut a four-year prison term imposed on Madge Boyle by a year. And as the 56-year-old had already served half of that sentence, she was immediately released.
Lady Cosgrove, who heard Boyle's appeal with Lord Marnoch, said they took into account she was suffering from depression, and that her responsibility was diminished at the time of the attack.
And they said the sentencing judge, Lord Mackay of Drumadoon, should have made more allowance for Boyle's drinking being a feature of the psychiatric illness she was suffering.
The judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh added that in balancing "various difficult considerations" they had reached the view the original judge's starting point for sentencing was too high.
Lady Cosgrove said they also had regard to the fact that the assault involved a single wound struck in a volatile situation, and that the injury might not have proved fatal in other circumstances.
Boyle, who was a teacher at Our Lady of the Rosary primary in Cardonald, in Glasgow, was originally charged with the murder of her construction worker husband Thomas at the couple's home in Merryvale Avenue, Giffnock, in July 2004.
But the Crown accepted her guilty plea to the reduced charge of culpable homicide.
Her trial heard that Boyle's niece phoned her uncle's mobile and heard her aunt crying and shouting that her husband was battering her against a wall and kicking her.
Mr Boyle shouted a denial and then was heard saying: "She's got a knife. Put that down."
He said his arm was cut and that he needed to get hospital. He was found slumped dead at the wheel of his 4x4 vehicle near the couple's home.
Boyle went to a neighbour's house after the attack and begged God for forgiveness.
Defence counsel Gordon Jackson QC told the appeal court the sentence selected by the judge had been excessive.
He said the offence involved the striking of one blow to the victim's arm by a woman who had a degree of psychotic illness at the time.
UK MEDIA Deceptions,Distractions,Distortions,Delusions 10 February 2006
TV NEWS LIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Corporate media (media lawyer controlled)are the UK's No1 Enemy
Distraction/distortion/disinformation/deception; there are many ways to lie and the Press and TV news networks know them all!
IT’S NOT WHAT THEY SAY - IT’S WHAT THEY DON’T SAY!
War & Terror = Ratings
Ratings = Money £££
Bush + Blair = War & Terror
Do the Maths!
That is why the news networks won’t tell you the complete truth about Bush & Blair.
The Imminent danger to UK Citizens
Every day we are told by members of the Blair administration and lying criminals in the corporate media that terror is the greatest threat posed to British citizens. Well that’s a load of bullshit!
Illuminati money controls the music world via radio payola 10 February 2006
US radio bribes investigation includes Franz Ferdinand label
The songs of the rock band Franz Ferdinand have been caught up in a new investigation into corruption in the US music industry.
The campaigning attorney-general of New York, Eliot Spitzer, announced yesterday he had issued subpoenas to some of the largest radio companies in the country in the latest move of his lengthy investigation into the bribing of broadcasters.
Mr Spitzer has spent nearly two years investigating artists and songs which he claims received radio air time because of so-called payola payoffs – either in cash or in kind – from record companies.
He is investigating the nine largest radio corporations, according to court documents filed by his office. Songs being examined include recordings by the Scottish band, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Michelle Branch and R.E.M.
Last year, Warner Music agreed to pay £2.8m to settle its part of the investigation and Sony BMG Music Entertainment, the owner of Franz Ferdinand's Epic label in the US, agreed to pay £5.7m.
Mr Spitzer said: "A lot of the major songs have been implicated in this and it showed how pervasive the payola infrastructure had become.
"Probably many of the songs that were beneficiaries of the payola scheme would have succeeded without it, but certainly payola became part of the promotional structure and was integral to the game to get songs to the top."
The Glasgow band's Mercury and Brit Award-winning self-titled debut album was a massive hit in the US and last year's follow-up collection, You Could Have It So Much Better, has also proved extremely popular.
Mr Spitzer said the victims of payola were radio listeners forced to listen to music "not based on objective criteria" and other bands which could not get a break because their companies or agents were not engaging in such activities.
Terryl Brown Clemons, the assistant deputy attorney-general in charge of the investigation, stressed that artists and writers were not the target of the investigation.
A spokesman for Franz Ferdinand said the proceedings had nothing to do with the band and only concerned their record label in the US and the attorney-general.
Federal and related state laws in the US ban record companies from offering financial incentives in exchange for airplay.
The practice was rife in the post-war period and was labelled payola, a contraction of pay and Victrola, the old wind-up record player.
In the 1950s and 1960s, most payola involved payments of cash to DJs.
Now it is in the form of bribes to radio programmers, including air fares, electronics, iPods, tickets to sporting events and concerts.
It is understood the radio companies that have received subpoenas include Clear Channel Communications Inc, CBS Radio, Citadel Broadcasting, Cox Radio, Cumulus Broadcasting, Pamal Broadcasting, Entercom and ABC.
Bob Neil, president and CEO of Cox, said: "Years before this investigation began, Cox Radio was the first radio group to terminate all relationships with independent record promoters to avoid any suggestion or appearance of 'pay-for-play'.
Andy Levin, of Clear Channel, said: "We have zero tolerance for pay-for-play."
Jason Finkelberg, general manager of Pamal Broadcasting, based in Beacon, New York, said music company representatives take radio personnel to lunch, but there is no cash or gifts exchanged at his company or others he has worked in.
Was this a police MASONIC hit? 10 February 2006
TOP MASONS CONTROL UK POLICE
No action on police who shot man dead in street
No further action should be taken against the officers who shot dead an unarmed Scot in the street, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said yesterday.
The widow of Harry Stanley said the recommendation not to punish the officers gives a green light for a police shoot-to-kill policy.
Mr Stanley, 46, who was born in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, was shot in the head and hand on September 22, 1999 in Hackney, east London, after two officers mistook a table leg he was carrying in a bag for a sawn-off shotgun.
His widow Irene, 52 said yesterday: "The public can't have confidence in a system that ends this way. Innocent people are at greater risk from armed police after today's decision."
The IPCC report said further action was not justified against Chief Inspector Neil Sharman and Constable Kevin Fagan, both from the Metropolitan police firearms unit.
The commission, however, strongly criticised police procedures after the death of Mr Stanley – in particular, the way police are allowed to confer before writing up accounts of an incident.
The IPCC said it will ask the Association of Chief Police Officers for reform, following allegations that Mr Sharman and Mr Fagan had falsified their evidence.
Its report said: "After fatal shootings, the firearms officers should be treated like any other significant witnesses... Any de-brief should be video-recorded."
The Stanley family's solicitor said the IPCC ruling was "bitterly disappointing".
Daniel Machover said: "The family is left with a sense that they haven't had justice from this process and that they want there to be real changes that come out of this.
"We understand that the IPCC agree with us that the accounts of these officers continue to lack credibility. The question now is, is this practice of pooling recollections after an incident, does it obscure a search for the truth?
"If the answer to that is yes, and I think it must be, then this practice must end."
Mr Stanley, a painter and decorator, moved from Scotland to London with his wife about 30 years ago. On the evening he was shot, he had been given the all-clear after an operation for colon cancer.
The father of three had just left the 39 Steps pub in Hackney after a drink with his brother Peter, a carpenter. He was carrying a wooden coffee table leg which his brother had repaired.
The two officers who shot him had been acting on a 999 call from a man in a pub, who claimed Mr Stanley was an Irish terrorist and was carrying a sawn-off shotgun.
The officers shouted "stop, armed police" and when he failed to reply, they each fired one round from their pistols. He was hit in the head and hand and died instantly.
At an inquest at the High Court, a jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing, but that ruling was later quashed. Murder charges against the officers were ruled out and an inquiry by Surrey Police recommended no disciplinary action.
Charles Clarke, the home secretary, welcomed the IPCC report's findings. He said: "We have to get the procedures right, and we have to investigate properly through the IPCC, which is what we are doing, and we have to take the conclusions seriously, which we will. But let's not vilify the officers who are doing an often very difficult job."
Lawyer shot himself 10 February 2006
SOLICITOR 'WAS SHOT'
A SOLICITOR whose body was found in a country layby had shot himself, it was revealed yesterday.
Gerry McDermott, 45, was active in charities in Stirling.
The body of the married father-of-four, of Dunblane, Perthshire, was found on Friday morning on the A822 Crieff to Braco road soon after he left for work.
Stirling Provost Colin O'Brien said: "He was extremely caring."
Injustice has a long Scottish pedigree 9 February 2006
OUR ORGANISATIONS HAVE FOUGHT FOR YEARS TO EXPOSE THAT INJUSTICE
Good luck to Shirley McKie. No amount of money will compensate her for the trauma she and her family have been through but at least she should have no more financial concerns.
Much criticism has been heaped on the Scottish Executive, and rightly so, as this settlement could have been made years ago. But, unfortunately, this is par for the course when dealing with the "establishment" in any way, shape or form. What starts out as "an honest mistake" quickly becomes a dishonest cover-up. Misinformation and half-truths quickly become lies, in the scramble to cover backs and abdicate responsibility for anything.
At least Miss McKie was able to bring her persecutors into court. Some of us have not been so lucky, particularly in the area of false accusation of sexual abuse, where the law on duty of care to third parties makes some members of the establishment untouchable, no matter how many lies they tell, no matter how many "honest mistakes" they make and no matter how stupid or incompetent they are.
There should be a public inquiry into the McKie case because there is something intrinsically evil about a system that is prepared to destroy individuals and their families rather than admit a mistake has been made.
Hers is not the only injustice that should be addressed. Five people who were arrested in the debacle of the Western Isles child-abuse case were totally innocent of all charges, but their names are still in the public domain charged with obscene sexual offences.
Of the nine people originally charged, the authorities claim only four were guilty; but in refusing to name the guilty parties, they have stigmatised the innocent. Those responsible cannot be called to account because they are untouchable and even when there is ample evidence of negligence, followed by cover-up, more often than not early retirement is the preferred solution. So all parties are satisfied, except the falsely accused.
Those MSPs whose concern about the justice system in Scotland has been fuelled by the McKie case are way behind the times. This form of injustice has a long pedigree in Scotland.
Jim Fairlie, Woodstock, Ferntower Road, Crieff.
In the light of the settlement in the Shirley McKie case, one wonders how many times she and her father, who also served in the police, brought charges based upon the evidence of fingerprints. Should all of these people now be released or compensated as Ms McKie and her father no longer believe in the accuracy of fingerprint evidence, although they were happy enough to do so when it suited them?
C Crawford, Milverton Avenue, Bearsden.
Will there be an apology for 'honest mistake'?
At last Shirley McKie's wait is over. She has been awarded what appears to be a grand sum of £750,000 in an out-of-court settlement on the basis that an "honest mistake was made in good faith". How very convenient for, and no doubt on the insistence of, the executive, responsible for the Scottish Criminal Record Office. At least it saves the young lady the trauma of appearing at court once again to reiterate the truth that she and her father have championed all these years. Will the SCRO officers who made this "honest mistake in good faith" now admit their mistake and offer publicly an apology to Shirley? Only then could full closure in this matter be accomplished. It has been rumoured until recently that members of the SCRO still are of the opinion that they had made no mistake.
Robert McLaughlin, 77 Braemar Court, Hazelden Gardens, Glasgow.
Many congratulations to Shirley McKie, her family and all those who have stood with her against the most blatant official cover-up in history. Nobody can now be in any doubt that the case brought against her was false.
There must now be a full public inquiry so that the relevant elements in the Scottish police force, Crown Prosecution Service and, most especially, the SCRO are held to account for their appalling behaviour, criminal incompetence and spitefully ignorant vindictiveness towards a woman who dared to stand up to them.
There must also be a re-examination of every case in which the SCRO has been involved in fingerprint evidence. It must be carried out by an agency that can tell one fingerprint from another, which criteria would appear to exclude the SCRO. Otherwise, there can be no confidence that justice has been done in any of them.
Stuart Morrison, 55 Hughenden Lane, Glasgow.
Public complaints could lead to judges being reprimanded 9 February 2006
Complaints from ordinary members of the public could ultimately lead to the most senior judges in the land being reprimanded, ordered to retrain or even dismissed, under procedures announced yesterday.
At present, two different statutes cover the removal of sheriffs and judges from the bench. One of these has been used only twice and the other has never been invoked.
In future, it will be a broadly similar procedure across the judiciary and, for the first time, it will have a range of ways of dealing with incompetence or misconduct short of the previous "nuclear option" of sacking.
Complaints from any quarter would be handled at different levels by a system overseen by the lord president, Scotland's most senior judge.
The procedure could hand out warnings, lay down extra training, or insist on the transfer of a judge or sheriff to another geographical or specialist area.
Cathy Jamieson, the justice minister, announcing the proposed procedures, said: "These proposals will modernise the organisation and leadership of Scotland's judiciary."
The lord president will now become the head of a unified judiciary in charge not just of the High Court and Court of Session, but also of the sheriff courts.
This means that sheriffs principal, who control sheriffs but were previously answerable ultimately only to ministers, will now come under the lord president.
The most senior judge will also be given the right to indicate to the Scottish parliament any issues which the judiciary believes would require attention by ministers.
Lord Hamilton, appointed lord president only late last year, will therefore be brought into the political arena in a way never before known in Scotland.
The consultation paper on the unification, appointment, removal, and management of Scotland's judiciary will form the basis of a new bill around September.
‘Vexatious’ solicitors seek 722 FOI requests in ONE day 9 February 2006
A FIRM of solicitors that acted vexatiously after bombarding Caledonian MacBrayne with freedom of information (FOI) requests is continuing to send demands to the publicly-owned ferry company.
Calmac has spent more than £100,000 dealing with FOI questions since the legislation came into force last year.
It has received 1146 FOI requests, including 722 sent on a single day from Macroberts, the Glasgow solicitors, which admits it was acting for a third party, but will not comment on whether it was a rival seeking to take over one or more of Calmac's routes.
The requests involved 25 separate questions, repeated for each of CalMac's 27 routes, plus 47 general questions. CalMac said there was nothing to identify each e-mail individually without opening them. This led the company to believe the e-mails were aimed at causing "maximum disruption and annoyance". Last November, Kevin Dunion, the information commissioner, agreed the requests were vexatious.
Hugh Dan MacLennan, CalMac's head of communications, said yesterday: "We believe in the spirit of freedom of information, but remember this is public money that is being spent. Our commercial rivals don't face this."
David Flint, a partner in MacRoberts, said: "I am happy to say that we are acting for somebody in this. I am not prepared to say who. I can also confirm that my client's curiosity has not been in any way sated by the response to date."
Professor Neil Kay, of Strathclyde University's economics department and an observer of the ferry industry, believes one of CalMac's commercial rivals is behind the submissions. He said: "Most requests for FOI come from potential cherry-pickers – that is a consequence of the executive not putting in protection."
There are two commercial rivals left in the bidding for all CalMac routes: V Ships, and Western Ferries.
David Rodger, who was CalMac bid manager for V ships and is now a consultant to the company, said: "I don't know who it is, but it definitely isn't us." Gordon Ross, managing director of Western Ferries, said: "It wasn't me who was credited with that. As CalMac would tell you, I have been writing my own FOI questions, so it wouldn't seem clever to be seen to be doing both."
Police chief attacker is jailed 8 February 2006
The POLICE only take action when its attacks against its own
A man who assaulted a deputy chief constable on a petrol station forecourt has been jailed.
John Frizell, 26, attacked Pat Shearer of Grampian Police in Aberdeen.
Frizell had admitted assaulting Mr Shearer, who was on duty at the time of the incident, by slamming a car door on his leg.
He was jailed for three months at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Tuesday for the attack at a Shell filling station on Great Northern Road last September.
Frizell committed the assault on the force's second-in-command while he was on bail.
Procurator fiscal depute Gertie Wallace told the court that Mr Shearer had arrived at the filling station at about 1830 BST on 29 September last year.
He suspected Frizell was using drugs and told him he was a police officer.
"The accused attempted to slam the car door on the officer's leg and caught it between the door and the frame," Miss Wallace said.
"The accused struggled violently with the officer and was shouting."
Defence lawyer Neil McRobert said: "He accepts that he should not have acted like that."
Sheriff Annella Cowan sentenced Frizell, of Quarry Court, Cults, Aberdeen, to three months in prison - two for assaulting the police officer and one for the offence being committed while he was on bail.
Grampian Police and Mr Shearer declined to comment after the case when contacted by BBC Scotland.
Drug-smuggling lawyer is named after judge lifts ban 8 February 2006
At last the MEDIA doing stories about CROOKED LAWYERS .The EXCUSES she used were breathtaking
saying she was threatened and had psychiatric problems .
How many wee neds from the schemes in Glasgow brought up in squalor could use that as an excuse?
"Yer Honor ma dealing in drugs was an honest mistake done in GOOD FAITH "
A lawyer who smuggled drugs into jail for a client was named yesterday after a judge removed a gagging order preventing her identification.
Angela Baillie, 32, from Newton Mearns, near Glasgow, admitted being concerned in the supply of drugs by delivering heroin and diazepam tablets worth more than £1600 to the city's Barlinnie prison in October 2005. On Monday at the High Court in Paisley, Lord Kinclaven granted Baillie anonymity when she pleaded guilty to two charges, as she might play a role in other criminal proceedings.
However, a legal challenge yesterday by sections of the media, including The Herald, led to the judge's reversing that decision.
The initial ruling came after a motion by Paul McBride, Baillie's QC, to put restrictions in place forbidding the press from naming her, or publishing anything that might identify her or the prisoner alleged to have received the drugs.
Yesterday's decision means that the ban applies to the prisoner only. Lord Kinclaven accepted arguments put forward by Paul Cullen, QC, acting on behalf of sections of the media, that there could be no prejudice to the other individual by naming the solicitor.
Baillie was suspended from her job at Richard Lobjoie, a Glasgow law firm, in November last year after she was arrested in connection with drug dealing.
The mother of one was believed to be well-liked within the legal profession.
Mr Lobjoie refused yesterday to discuss the case before Baillie appears for sentencing at the High Court in Edinburgh on March 27. He said: "It would be quite inappropriate for me to discuss a case where there is a deferred sentence."
However, the Law Society of Scotland confirmed that Baillie had not applied to renew her licence in November and was no longer permitted to practise law.
A spokesman said that any solicitor who was sentenced to more than two years for criminal behaviour was automatically reported to the Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal.
The most serious sanction the organisation can apply is to strike off a solicitor.
Top lawyer admits he killed wife 7 February 2006
A PARTNER at one of Britain's biggest law firms killed his wife in a ferocious attack days after she told him she was having an affair, a court heard yesterday.
Christopher Lumsden, 52, used a kitchen knife to stab his wife Alison in the neck, face and back as she sat at her bedroom dressing table.
Five days earlier Mrs Lumsden, 53, told him she was having a relationship with a family friend, Roger Flint. Lumsden, a partner at Pinsent Biddle in Manchester, admits killing her and says he had "an abnormality of mind" but denies murder.
A jury at Manchester Crown Court heard that Lumsden, of Altrincham, Cheshire, and his wife had two children, Thomas, 20, and 17-year-old Kate.
The jurors heard the relationship changed after Lumsden was diagnosed with a muscle-wasting disease in 2004. On 11 March last year Mrs Lumsden decided to tell her husband about the affair and ask for a divorce.
Charles Chruszcz, QC, prosecuting, said on 16 March he called his sister to say: "I think I've killed Alison."
The trial continues.
The Illuminati behind DNA storage 7 February 2006
DNA material has been used in clearing up countless crimes, but there are concerns over civil liberties.
Police set for database of 'innocent' DNA samples
SCOTTISH police forces will be able to build up a database of DNA samples from people who have never been convicted of a crime under plans set to be approved by the Executive within weeks.
The Scotsman understands that Labour ministers are preparing to back police calls for DNA samples taken from innocent people to be retained.
At the moment, Scottish police take DNA samples from anyone who is arrested, but are legally obliged to destroy the samples of people who are later released without charge or not convicted at trial.
In the UK, that legal safeguard is unique to Scotland. Under current rules, anyone arrested in England, Wales or Northern Ireland has their DNA retained regardless of whether they are eventually charged or convicted.
English police forces have used that power to amass a huge database of "innocent" DNA samples. Official figures show that they retain the genetic details of almost 150,000 people with no criminal record.
When the Executive ran a consultation exercise on matching the English rules last year, ministers concluded there was a "clear split" in opinions. While police chiefs strongly backed the plans, civil liberties groups warned retaining the DNA of innocent people could threaten basic rights.
But since the consultation, the police argument has swayed Scottish ministers in favour of greater retention.
Scottish police chiefs have argued that the Scottish exception to the DNA rule should be removed to bring Scotland into line with England.
They also say that retaining all DNA samples could save money, because fulfilling the obligation to monitor cases then delete the samples of innocent people costs more than £500,000 a year.
There has also been indirect pressure for retention from officials in England.
The UK-wide National DNA Database now holds more than three million samples.
The Home Office last month claimed that because English forces had access to the DNA of people previously held but not convicted, they had been able to solve open cases including 88 murders, 45 attempted murders, 116 rapes and 62 sexual offences.
Convinced by such evidence, Labour ministers are now strongly backing the retention plan, although their Liberal Democrat colleagues are resisting.
The Liberal Democrats believe the proposal infringes civil liberties and are worried about the danger to individual human rights of agreeing to such a sweeping new scheme.
At Westminster, Liberal Democrats have been outspoken critics of broader retention.
In Edinburgh, Labour and Liberal Democrat ministers have held a series of discussions to try to find a way through the impasse and it is understood that they are close to a settlement.
Senior Executive sources last night revealed that the Liberal Democrats are likely to sign up to the plan if Labour agrees to introduce new safeguards to defend civil liberties and protect individual rights.
These may take the form of a time bar, forcing the police to destroy DNA samples after a number of years, if the individual is not arrested in connection with any new crime. There may also be strict new rules on the use of DNA samples in future court cases.
An Executive insider said: "There are Labour ministers who are more in favour of this than their Liberal Democrat colleagues. The Liberal Democrats are trying to seek assurances which will allow them to sign up to this."
And he added: "This is an issue which the police feel strongly about and Labour ministers feel strongly about. The Liberal Democrats will want to find a compromise that allows them to support this, because they will not want to be portrayed as being soft on crime."
Scottish police chiefs have continued to argue for wider retention, and a senior police source last night said it was only "practical" to bring Scots rules into line with England.
"From a practical point of view, it would be a bit daft having inconsistency on either side of the Border."
Among the groups that last year opposed broader retention rules in Scotland was Genewatch UK, a scientific lobby group. Sue Mayer, the group's executive director, last night said she was disappointed that the Executive was leaning towards changing the rules. "We had hoped the Scottish Executive would look at this more deeply," she said. "We want a DNA database that works, but there is a better balance to be struck with individual liberties."
She warned that the Executive could face legal challenges over the use of DNA samples which could later be used in scientific research.
Diana's investigators computers stolen 7 February 2006
Police chief's offices targeted
Computer equipment belonging to the man investigating the death of Princess Diana has been stolen from his offices on Tyneside.
Lord John Stevens, former chief constable of Northumbria Police and the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has an office in Newcastle.
Just over a week ago computer equipment including a laptop was taken, without any sign of a forced entry.
A second break-in took place at the weekend, but nothing was taken.
The investigation into the thefts involves officers from both the Metropolitan and Northumbria Police.
However, police say that Operation Paget, the investigation into Diana's death, would not be affected as all information was kept in London.
Judge protects lawyer who gave heroin to prisoner 7 February 2006
MSP Kenny MacAskill: "Proceedings are a matter of public record"
A lawyer smuggled Diazepam and heroin into Barlinnie jail
The lawyer has been granted anonymity by a judge
Politicians have voiced shock at the judge's ruling
"It may be a matter of timing. But this person needs to be named and shamed." - Margaret Mitchell MSP
Story in full A LAWYER who smuggled drugs into a Scottish jail and handed them to a client was yesterday controversially granted anonymity by a judge.
The solicitor pleaded guilty yesterday to the supplying of heroin and Diazepam tablets with a street value of up to Â£1,638 to a prisoner at Barlinnie jail in Glasgow.
The criminal lawyer was caught after an inside informant alerted the authorities, reporting that drugs were being supplied to an inmate by his legal representative during confidential prison visits which take place to allow defence agents to prepare cases.
The judge, Lord Kinclaven, agreed to a request by the lawyer's defence counsel, Paul McBride QC, that reporting restrictions should be in place to protect his client's identity, following an earlier appeal by the Crown for a ban on identification of the prisoner.
The ruling has been challenged by the media and a hearing on the matter will take place in the High Court this morning.
Last night politicians voiced shock at the judge's ruling.
The Scottish Tory justice spokeswoman, Margaret Mitchell MSP, said: "It may be a matter of timing. But this person needs to be named and shamed."
Her SNP counterpart, Kenny MacAskill MSP, said: "Fundamentally court proceedings are a matter of public record unless for some good reason. This is surprising. However, we have to ensure future prosecutions are not prejudiced."
The High Court in Paisley heard that the information about the lawyer was passed to police and special screenings were done to ensure none of the prisoners due to meet their lawyers had anything on them before the next string of one-to-one meetings in individual cubicles last October.
Immediately after his consultation, the inmate at the centre of the investigation was taken to an area to be strip searched.
He was found to have a cigarette case which had been opened and re-sealed with sticky tape.
The package contained 158 Diazepam tablets and 14.85 grams of heroin. DNA traces were retrieved from the sticky tape which matched samples taken from the lawyer.
The lawyer was detained and questioned but "remained mute" throughout on the advice of those instructing.
Advocate depute Peter Ferguson QC told the court that due to the quantities involved, it was "plain beyond doubt" that the drugs were not solely for the use of the individual who was given them but "for supply to the prison system generally".
The court was told that criminal lawyers were allowed access to clients and it was not unusual for papers and video tapes to be carried in to the interview cubicles.
Under normal circumstances, lawyers would not be subjected to searches.
It was stated that after being arrested, detectives had examined the lawyer's house and car with negative results.
Confiscation procedures will now kick in under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Sentence was deferred for a full profile on the accused after Mr McBride told the court there were long-standing issues which required to be studied on his client's behalf. The 32-year-old was ordered to return to the High Court in Edinburgh on March 27.
During his narration of the case at the High Court in Paisley, advocate depute Peter Ferguson, QC had asked the judge for legal reasons to consider restricting the scope of reporting of the identity or any details which would lead to the identity of all concerned.
Mr McBride went further and invited Lord Kinclaven to broaden the restrictions on reporting, making it impossible to name his client or the other person named on the indictment.
Lord Kinclaven retired briefly to consider the detail contained in the submissions, none of the specifics of which can be reported due to his ruling.
When he returned, he put reporting restrictions in place in terms of the Contempt of Court Act saying those would cover "the naming or identification of the panel [accused] or any other named individual."
A spokeswoman for the Law Society of Scotland said the case was the first of its kind. "We will wait for formal notification of the conviction and consider further disciplinary action from there," she said.
LAWYERS,JUDGES AND POLICE TERRORIZING UK CITIZENS WITH UK MEDIA SUPPORT 4 February 2006
The biggest threat to peace and stability for UK citizens are the judiciary ,The Law Societies of England ,Scotland,Wales and Northern Ireland with the assistance of the police.All of them affiliated to the secret society networks controlling this massive fraud and corruption.
Our organisations have been at the forefront of having self regulation and the monopoly taken away from the Law Society of Scotland recently achieved in the last three months.However the continued abuses of UK citizens in UK courts has not dissipated.
We receive almost daily reports of lives being destroyed by the perpetrators of massive human rights abuses in UK courts.We have proven the depths the UK has now gone to try and cover up tyranny in our court system.
We see daily reports in national press about ned culture and asbo's this is a GREAT distraction from what really goes on in our courts.What we see is the UK press and media using minor criminal acts by youths as a means to try and deflect attention from the multi billion pound racket going on in civil courts in this country.
This is hardly ever given attention by our national media who are to busy providing a smokescreen for the lawyers,judges and police who control our media output.
We always see articles in the UK press and TV clearly written from scripts provided to them by the police or courts. We seldom see a true picture of what goes on when billions of pounds are being fleeced and families destroyed behind the closed doors of family and civil court cases.
Seldom can ANYONE get juries(only hand picked judges)for CIVIL actions that allows the closed shop of the Law Societies to continue their rape and pillage of UK citizens.Until our media accurately reflect the TRUE nature of the breakdown of law and order failing to protect UK citizens we will continue to see major distortions of the FACTS .That the biggest terrorist threat to all our lives are secret UK courts were enormous harm is being done with the back up of police enforcement.
Huge payout highlights true scale of dishonesty by solicitors
THE legal establishment has paid out nearly £1 million to clients robbed by crooked solicitors in recent years, The Scotsman has learned.
The Law Society of Scotland repaid £910,000 between 1999-2000 and 2003-4 to members of the public who had had money stolen from them by solicitors
The amounts paid indicate the extent of criminal activity by a small minority of Scotland's lawyers - an issue that has been brought to the fore by the knife attack on Leslie Cumming near his home in Murrayfield, Edinburgh, on 23 January.
Mr Cumming, 62, is secretary of the Guarantee Fund, which investigates clients' allegations of theft by lawyers, and makes awards to customers where there is clear evidence of criminality. The fund receives £400 a year from more than 3,700 partners of law firms.
Police are working on the theory that someone who Mr Cumming had crossed in his work executed the attack or ordered "a hit".
In 2003-4, the most recent year for which figures are available, £187,000 was paid from the fund to 18 wronged clients. The previous year, £73,000 was paid to seven clients, and in 2001-2, £167,000 was paid to six individuals.
At least five lawyers are facing court proceedings in relation to alleged crimes carried out in the course of their work, though most do not involve theft.
Groups such as Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers (SACL) have long campaigned to expose criminality within legal circles, and claim that the Law Society, the regulatory body representing more than 9,000 solicitors for which Mr Cumming is chief accountant, does not do enough to remove the "bad eggs".
Detectives hunting Mr Cumming's attacker have drawn up a list of lawyers who were or who have been under investigation by his team, believing someone with a professional grudge against him may have been involved. But members of SACL believe an aggrieved client is more likely to have been behind the attack.
One of the group's main campaigners, said the Law Society refused to meet a claim for £3,500, which he insisted was illegally taken from him by a lawyer.
"There are a lot of people with axes to grind against lawyers and the Law Society, and I am one of them," he said. "I think it is more likely that the man responsible for the attack was an aggrieved client, rather than a crooked lawyer exposed by the society."
Last year the Scottish Court Service moved to shut SACL's, website - which named more than 100 allegedly "rogue" lawyers. Senior legal sources have expressed concern about such sites, claiming they are tantamount to violence. But Mr Usher insists their means of protest are wholly peaceful.
A Law Society source said that "around two or three" lawyers are referred by the Guarantee Fund to public prosecutors each year.
A spokeswoman said: "Every solicitors' firm in Scotland is inspected for compliance with the accounts rules approximately every two years, and any breaches discovered by the society are investigated thoroughly.
"If the Law Society of Scotland discovers any dishonesty or criminal activity during its investigation, the matter is referred to the Crown Office." One such case involved Stranraer-based partner Kennedy Forster, who admitted 35 charges of embezzling £667,000 and was jailed for six-and-a-half years in 2004.
Mr Cumming was stabbed more than 12 times at his Murrayfield home shortly after 5pm on 23 January.
Scottish lawyers lose closed shop and self regulation 1 February 2006
Our organisations have fought long and hard for removing the closed shop and self regulation of the corrupt cartel known as the Law Society of Scotland today is a BIG victory for us all
Lawyers to lose court monopoly after inquiry
PEOPLE other than lawyers are set to be allowed to represent clients in Scotland's courts for the first time, a move that will end centuries of tradition.
An inquiry commissioned by the Scottish Executive into competition in legal services will recommend next month that paid advocacy rights be granted to people who are not members of the Law Society of Scotland or Faculty of Advocates.
Reform campaigners have argued that the measure will make it easier and cheaper for the less well-off to secure access to justice. Solicitors and advocates can charge hundreds of pounds an hour, rates which critics believe would not be so high but for the monopoly enjoyed by the two main professional bodies.
Legislation which should already have freed up the advocacy market has lain dormant on the statute book for 16 years. Sections 25 to 29 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) 1990 abolished the ban on non-lawyers applying for rights of audience in Scottish courtrooms. However, the sections were never acted upon.
In 1990 ministers gave an undertaking that the clauses would not be implemented until other reforms in the act, such as the introduction of solicitor-advocates, had been given time to "bed down".
Despite this undertaking, the fact that the measures are still not active has provided ammunition for critics of the lawyers' "closed shop".The same representation rights already exist in England and Wales in relation to members of the Institute of Legal Executives and the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents.
The Office of Fair Trading and the Scottish Consumer Council believe these rights should be extended north of the border.
A working group was commissioned by the executive last year to investigate the delivery of legal services in Scotland. This followed a white paper in England and Wales with plans to allow "Tesco law", enabling supermarkets and banks to own and run law firms, and for lawyers to be able set up in partnership with other professionals in multi-disciplinary "one-stop-shops".
None of these changes will happen in Scotland, at least not yet. Cathy Jamieson, the justice minister, will not decide on these issues until she has studied the final report of the Scottish legal services working group, which comprises lawyers, advocates and consumer representatives.
The report will be published at the end of the month, but minutes of the final meeting have confirmed the group will recommend commencement of sections 25 to 29, subject to regulatory safeguards.
Bill Alexander, a legal consultant who has petitioned the Scottish Parliament for reform, said this "was the settled will of both houses of Parliament 16 years ago".
Julia Clarke, spokeswoman for Which?, said: "Measures to introduce competition in legal services . . . should make it easier to access justice."
The Faculty of Advocates said it "is supportive of the extension of rights of audience as an element of encouraging the greatest range of participation in the legal services market. The faculty therefore agreed . . . that the relevant sections of the 1990 Act should be brought into effect."
Lawyer calls for more 'court TV' 1 February 2006
The public have been begging for recordings of the legal process in courts for years.You can walk down any street in UK and CCTV cameras follow you right up to the doors of any court room then they STOP outside the court .The evil bastards that run the courts dont want you to see what they are doing or stealing using appalling unjustice laws.
They send a wee lad from the poorest schemes in Scotland down for stealing a Mars Bar out of Woolworths while the
very bastard who passes sentence has just rubber stamped his legal pals theft of a £1,000,000 property or business.
The BBC coverage was typical showing poor wee neds from schemes were the POLICE DONT DO ANY POLICING but just leave them to get on with it.
None of it shows the massive criminality of the crooked lawyers thieving land and property everyday in the courts
and our group members have all been badly affected if not destroyed by this .
Also once you criminalize a youngster he is then rich pickings in legal aid for the lawyers who leech of his life of crime for the rest of his days .They dont want to see poverty ended in Scotland as long as the money trough of legal aid continues unabated to help those who due to appalling deprivation end up down a road of crime that funds lawyers high flying lifestyles.
Read the latest from the working group at the Scottish Executive at
It shows the appalling mess and massive conflicts of interest in both the Scottish civil and criminal justice system thanks to the closed shop run by lawyers and their own self serving self regulation.
Cameras were allowed in court for the Lockerbie appeal
A lawyer has criticised the Scottish legal system for allowing court proceedings to remain a "hidden world".
BBC Scotland lawyer Alistair Bonnington, a professor in media law, believes cameras should be allowed to record daily proceedings.
His comments were made after permission was given for filming to take place for a BBC Scotland programme, Sheriff Court, being shown on Tuesday night.
The Scottish Court Service said filming was a matter of judicial discretion.
TV cameras have been allowed in Scottish courts under strict supervision since 1992.
Ten years later they recorded proceedings during the Lockerbie appeal at Camp Zeist.
However, Mr Bonnington said the main problem encountered by TV crews was the number of permissions which must be obtained from the accused, lawyers, sheriffs or judges, witnesses and jurors.
We get the impression that the courts have something to hide
He pointed out that England was likely to lead the way in allowing cameras into court on a regular basis following a successful experiment.
"The problem is that we have a system that is unworkable and that reflects very badly on the Scottish justice system," he said.
"We get the impression that the courts have something to hide. It's a hidden world and shouldn't be a hidden world."
He said that TV would make it easier for the public, who are allowed into court, to see the day-to-day workings of the legal system.
"Television could be used but because the system is so restrictive we can't use it," he said.
"The courts behave like that, not because they are corrupt and have something to hide, but because they've done it that way for hundreds of years.
"They think 'this is a new-fangled thing that's only been around for 50 years and we normally wait a few hundred years before we take things on board'.
"But that's not acceptable anymore."
He pointed out that taxpayers fund all aspects of the Scottish legal system, including wages, the costs of running the buildings and the expenses of everyone who goes to court.
He said: "Why on earth should we, the public, be told 'away and get raffled' when we say 'can we see this please'?"
Answering the argument that having cameras in court could influence the outcome of a trial, Mr Bonnington said: "At the moment witnesses are allowed to read about proceedings and can hear reports on TV.
The Lord President's practice note determines that televising of current proceedings in criminal cases at first instance is not permitted
Scottish Court Service spokeswoman
"That's all acceptable before a witness gives evidence. It's not a huge jump to them actually seeing it.
"We are very good in Scotland at guessing that publicity in advance causes problems.
"We are not very good or brave about testing it scientifically. Lawyers are a bit frightened of that."
He added: "If it's proved to be a problem we can cope with it. That does not mean we throw the baby out with the bathwater and don't televise the courts."
A Scottish Court Service spokeswoman said the criteria used to decide whether courts should be televised was whether the presence of television cameras would be without risk to the administration of justice.
She said: "The Lord President's practice note determines that televising of current proceedings in criminal cases at first instance is not permitted."
She added that there were no current plans for a review of the situation in Scotland.
Following a review in England and Wales Lord Faulkner recommended that court proceedings should not be filmed.
Sheriff Court will be shown on BBC Scotland at 2245 GMT on Tuesday.