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‘Better justice - where to from here?
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Iain McKie



Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 935


Location: Ayr, Scotland.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:21 am    Post subject: ‘Better justice - where to from here?  Reply with quote

I find myself struggling at present in assessing the most effective way to tackle the injustice problem in Scotland. I have been reading your thoughtful contributions under other heads and feel a long and hard look is required at the way we are doing things. The phrase ‘banging our heads off a brick wall’ springs to mind.

Despite excellent and informative websites like ‘A diary of injustice in Scotland’ http://petercherbi.blogspot.com/ and 'Injustice Scotland' http://groups.msn.com/InjusticeScotland and the often high standard of debate little apparently changes. While letting off steam is indeed a worthy aim of associated forums it is institutional and cultural change that we are all aiming at. History warns us just how hard that is to bring about.

In this of course we are challenging the status quo that too many individuals and organisations have a vested interest in maintaining.

Paradoxically size does matter. Our smallness as a country means that most of our major justice institutions belong to the same national club often containing the same members and often with a heavy legal bias. A good example is the lawyer dominated SCCRC that despite having members of proven integrity like James Mackay, ex-Deputy Chief Constable of Tayside, has far too narrow a membership base. I would even argue that it is not a lack of honesty and integrity that is the problem but the member's immersion in the same supportive culture that appears to assume that corruption within the police, the law and political institutions cannot be an issue.

On the other hand Scotland’s size means that theoretically the individual should find it easier to have his or her voice heard with relatively few people clamouring for attention.

It would of course be wrong to say that campaigners for justice have had no success in Scotland. The Lockerbie group have to some extent succeeded in their aims by having the Megrahi conviction sent back for review and we have been successful in obtaining a judicial enquiry into the reasons for the SCRO debacle. MOJO and individual campaigners like David and Ozlem Grimason have shown that the system can be challenged successfully.

Such causes, however, often require high-powered campaigns backed by powerful political and media support sustained over many years. Can we learn anything from them?

My immediate goals are two fold.

Firstly to assist complainers in the preparation of coherent and concentrated exposition of their injustices and to engage political support for them. This is achievable.

While pondering the future I thought it useful to develop a debate. - ‘Better justice - where to from here?’ Would it be helpful for instance if the numbers of sites working for justice could be reduced or better co-ordinated? Could organisations like ‘MOJO’ develop its brief with an increase in public funding? Do some of the current negative campaigns against ’injustice’ fuelled by attacks on individuals and organisations put the objective reader off ? Do we need a broad based national conference examining the questions posed above?

I have other thoughts but following my own principle that ‘less is more’ I’ll stop at that.
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freethekillie2



Joined: 27 Apr 2007
Posts: 309



PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I AGREE, IAIN MOJO DO NEED MORE FUNDING IF IT WAS NOT FOR JOHN, PADDY, AND CATHY, MY BROTHER IN LAW BRENDAN WOULD HAVE NO HOPE FOR JUSTICE.

THERE IS ALSO HOPE WITH THE NEWSPAPERS EG DAVID LESLIE NOTW, PAUL OHARE, DAILY RECORD. KILMARNOCK STANDARD, AND CUMNOCK CHRONICLE.

I AM A NOVICE TO THIS NOT LIKE MANY ON THE FORUM, BUT I DO THINK ALL THE LEAFLETS AND POSTERS SENT TO GALSTON ARE HELPING A LITTLE BIT.
THERE ARE THINGS I WANT TO SAY NOT ONLY ON THE FORUM ABOUT THE CASE BUT I CAN'T AND THAT IS ANNOYING IN ITS SELF.

I WILL TRY AND GET 1/2 PAGES DONE THAT ARE NOT MUDDLED UP AND E-MAIL YOU IAIN .

MANY THANKS KEVIN.
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Al



Joined: 12 May 2007
Posts: 196


Location: IN ... justice Scotland (& tlomb)

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iain said:

In this of course we are challenging the status quo that too many individuals and organisations have a vested interest in maintaining.

Paradoxically size does matter. Our smallness as a country means that most of our major justice institutions belong to the same national club often containing the same members and often with a heavy legal bias. A good example is the lawyer dominated SCCRC that despite having members of proven integrity like James Mackay, ex-Deputy Chief Constable of Tayside, has far too narrow a membership base. I would even argue that it is not a lack of honesty and integrity that is the problem [regrettably, that is THE problem here] but the member's immersion in the same supportive culture that appears to assume that corruption within the police, the law and political institutions cannot be an issue.


__________

Until our politicos, lawyers, police and, yes, our "campaigning" journos (those with the vested interests in maintaining the status quo) acknowledge and admit the extent of the problem, very little, if anything at all, will ever change in our "small country" with its age-old "same [exclusive] national club", and Scottish injustices will continue largely unchallenged ... by them at least.

This writer below summed up the extent of the problem we all face, and have done for years, very well:

Extract from another shocking case … of Scottish "fairness, decency, humanity, integrity, accountability and justice":

The only conclusion one can draw from this most dreadful case is that Edinburgh’s (and Scotland’s) power base of elite establishment chattering classes (legal and political) is just too small and tight-knit (with too many contacts, alliances and cronies) to produce an honest, impartial, fair, unbiased and just outcome.

All the protagonists were dinner party pals with social connections protected in their drawing room cabals. Everyone knew each other so the usual closing ranks, cover-up, self-protection, self-interest, vested interests, conflicts of interest and travesty of justice (conspiring to pervert the course of justice) prevailed throughout the case time and time again.

The whole case / process should have been overseen and monitored properly, fairly, justly, humanely, objectively, impartially and independently, but alas there is no such thing when dealing with, questioning and challenging Edinburgh’s (and Scotland’s) elite establishment. It is (they are) corrupt, devious, incestuous and rotten to the core.

I now detest this supposed “great city and nation” (don’t believe the hype) as a result, and have done so for several years. You simply can’t seem to obtain any form of proper redress and civil justice here whatsoever. It’s truly sickening (literally) and despicable…

That's why, regrettably, I must now leave my homeland at the earliest opportunity ... never to return (to live here) again…


Over to you Messrs Salmond, MacAskill, SNP Executive, politicos, lawyers, "campaigning" journos... !
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PeterCherbi



Joined: 23 May 2007
Posts: 167


Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ian

You are quite correct on what you say. Despite years of campaigning and work, little does change. A testimony of course, to the forces which thrive on injustice, deeply entrenched in Scotland's legal system sadly.

I have long considered this problem over the years - Scotland needs an effective, powerful organisation to fight injustice on a wide issue platform.

Focussed groups have of course been very good. Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers, for instance, despite what many in the legal profession may spin out, brought the issue of 'crooked lawyers' & such into mainstream public view, probably more so than my own campaign against the legal profession since 1994.

However, focussed groups can't really tackle a cross front of issues effectively, and hinder what I have often felt is the 'victory against injustice is in the numbers of cases across a wide spectrum via an organisation' approach.

"Such causes, however, often require high-powered campaigns backed by powerful political and media support sustained over many years. Can we learn anything from them?"

13 years to get the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007, and having to fight for it at every step through the passage of it last year in the Parliament, against threats of court action from the legal profession itself against the bill and bought-off politicians willing to ply amendments from the Law Society to water down the bill ... all of that couldn't have been achieved if there hadn't been support from the media over the years (Scotsman in the 90's and Herald more recently) and a wide front of Consumer groups such as the Scottish Consumer Council, etc), persuaded to take on the fight - which they did and did very well of course.

The problem is - as I see it, there have been many attempts to form groups to fight injustice over the years in Scotland, but all have suffered from being targeted by those who thrive on the very injustice they are fighting. From my own experience, I can say quite easily, the Law Society have tried everything with me, much of it being reported in the media - but the same has happened to a few others, who haven't had the media attention and that puts people off sometimes either involving themselves in such campaigns, or fighting an injustice which may have happened to them.

I hope we can learn from experiences like this, that an organisation can do a lot more than an individual, and not be subject to the whims of campaigns going in & out of vogue, or losing the limelight when the very organisations in the frame for injustice come along and have a quiet word in the ear of a few news editors...

"Would it be helpful for instance if the numbers of sites working for justice could be reduced or better co-ordinated? "- Yes, without a doubt.

"Could organisations like ‘MOJO’ develop its brief with an increase in public funding?." Again, Yes.

Organisations or individuals who are fighting injustice are more often than not fighting the stance of either a public body, professional organisation or self regulatory apparatus mandated by the law itself.

In order to effectively take on such an organisation, effective control over how information is used, published to the media (crucial in terms of credibility), and how people & cases are represented, is crucial to developing a brief, public sympathy, public trust, relationships with independent consumer bodies, and political allies (essential, since those who thrive on injustice seem to have many). I can tell you that putting this together as an individual is almost impossible and very difficult to coordinate, but an organisation with public funding and political support could do the job hopefully much more effectively.

Presentation of issues is one of the keys to success, and overcoming the anti campaigner spin put out by many organisations is easy, if you simply don't take them on at their game.

I think Scotland could well benefit from a single organisation strong enough and staffed by competent individuals who both understand the worries & problems brought on by injustice, and who have the strength & resources to follow through issues to a successful conclusion in what has to be for the obvious public good.
_________________
My blog on issues of injustice in Scotland A Diary of Injustice in Scotland by Peter Cherbi

Injustice Scotland Campaign website : Injustice Scotland
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Big Wullie



Joined: 25 Apr 2007
Posts: 5125


Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are the general Public scared of the Law.

All too often on these forums we see the same names commenting, All people and only people who are victims.
Why no other commenters??
People are and have always been afraid to speak out against the police, Believe me this culture still exists today, People are afraid if they speak out their houses will be targeted by police weilding bogus search warrants obtained by bogus information usually the police say "Anonymous phone call"
People still believe Police Don't tell lies.
I once wrote to "Justice" many years ago now, and their answer to my cries for help were: You have suffered "Rough" But Poetic Justice. Not acceptable today.
I have been fighting 25 years now and have never had an APPEAL.
Exactly what we need is an independent Overseer, Not some bunch of Lawyers and ex Judges like SCCRC, (Who all still have friends in the Justice system and will not go against each other even in overwhelming cases were the evidence outweighs all other theories) maybe chaired by someone like John Scott who people will see as Credible and Independent.
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Big Wullie



Joined: 25 Apr 2007
Posts: 5125


Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Integrity of Salmond Under Attack.

Found the following article and thought it might be a worthwhile one for comments.
Personally i find it insulting and racist that politics can come into such a subject.


http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/politics.cfm?id=1077892007#new
_________________
http://justiceforwulliebeck.webs.com/

Dum spiro spero.
Militamus sub spe.
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Iain McKie



Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 935


Location: Ayr, Scotland.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While understanding your frustration Al where to from here? Someone is going to have to broker debate about change.

As always Peter’s contribution shows a deep understanding of the problems faced by people seeking justice in Scotland

Too often frustration and years of pressure lead to their being reactive and defensive instead of setting the agenda themselves.

As Peter says,

“Presentation of issues is one of the keys to success, and overcoming the anti campaigner spin put out by many organisations is easy, if you simply don't take them on at their game.”

He is also supportive of creating or developing a single independent organisation.

“I think Scotland could well benefit from a single organisation strong enough and staffed by competent individuals who both understand the worries & problems brought on by injustice, and who have the strength & resources to follow through issues to a successful conclusion in what has to be for the obvious public good.”

In essence the examples of injustice to be found on these and other forum pages undermine public faith in our justice system. Paradoxically having a strong and independent organisation focussing on eliminating injustice is one of the most effective ways of bringing about culture and system change and in restoring the reputation of that system.

While agreeing with Wullie I believe it is up to ourselves to encourage people’s involvement in debate and action by coherently putting forward our cases.
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Big Wullie



Joined: 25 Apr 2007
Posts: 5125


Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iain

While i agree with you on coherently putting forward our cases, and trying to encourage other peoples involvement in debate and action, There are some not capable through maybe, Imprisonment and tese people clearly need more help than others.
For years those running our Judicial systems have governed themselves and we have always been hindered by the lack of Political and Legal Assistance and a system unwilling to admit their wrongs.
Things as Iain Has stated before are starting to change and people are now taking more notice of Injustice's but we desperately need an Organisation (Independent) which is both credible and reliable and will be listened to by those in Authority.
Yes lets all join Heads and make this happen, People power on Miscarriages should happen, lets all make our Governments listen.
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freethekillie2



Joined: 27 Apr 2007
Posts: 309



PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dont know if anyone seen the case of simon hall on the bbc, where law students looked at his case.

it would be good up here in scotland if we could get in with colleges and uni's in glasgow or edinburgh, also the funding being doubled for mojo scotland would help.

http://justice4simon.co.uk/
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Iain McKie



Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 935


Location: Ayr, Scotland.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear 'Free',

http://justice4simon.co.uk/ is an excellent site and a good example of how to put forward a logical case from a pro-active viewpoint. The information seeks to further Mr Hall's case by being calmly presented and appealing to the readers commonsense that there is clearly a major question mark over the conviction.

Political and media support adds greatly to the case and the mass of information has been separated out into readable links.

I foresee a national site for Scotland linking to individual cases as required and based on a careful analysis of what works re internet campaigning.

I agree with your idea of linking to colleges and universities for assistance in developing the debate. They might even fund a national conference.

I suggest we further this debate before taking further central action and it might even be useful to plan for a meeting of correspondents to and members of this and other similar sites to discuss the ideas that are coming up in this debate. Perhaps this autumn would be a useful starting point. Perhaps MOJO would like to kick things off. I am sure a venue could be obtained at no cost to delegates.

I also feel that your posting is exactly what is required to further the debate - short and to the point with an excellent link for further information.

Best wishes,

Iain

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Sincere thanks to all those who have supported Shirley and challenged miscarriages of justice on this forum.