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Crown Office Blacklist The Firm
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Big Wullie



Joined: 25 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:06 am    Post subject: Crown Office Blacklist The Firm  Reply with quote

http://www.firmmagazine.com/news/...ervention_over_media_policy_.html


NEWS07 Jul 2010
Crown Office blacklists The Firm after call for Parliamentary intervention over media policy
The Deputy Crown Agent John Dunn has confirmed that the Crown Office will no longer communicate with the Firm or engage with its legitimate media inquiries. The action comes as a direct response to prior concerns expressed by the Firm's editor to Parliamentary Justice Spokespersons over the Crown Office’s consistent failure to address media inquiries put to it.

The Crown Office have classified the Firm’s approach as “unacceptable” and accused the Firm of “persistent rudeness and abusive communication.”

“Accordingly, I write to advise you that the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service will not enter into further communication with you as an individual or in your capacity as Editor of the Firm,” Dunn says.

The Firm has regularly challenged the Crown Office over its policy to provide only unattributed statements in response to media inquiries, for failing to address questions put to it, and for its handling of the discredited Lockerbie investigations and prosecution. The UN Special Observer to the trial proceedings said the Firm was "the only publication in Scotland with honest coverage of the Lockerbie affair."

The Firm’s letters to Crown office which led to the Firm‘s blacklisting, which had been copied to MSPs and Justice spokespersons, can be read here.


___________________________________________________________


FEATURES07 Jul 2010

Letters to the Crown:

The Crown Office has stated that it will not communicate with the Firm or its Editor in response to the email correspondence reproduced below, addressed to the Crown Office’s Director of Operations, and copied to Holyrood‘s Justice Spokespersons and selected committee MSPs.


Email to Director of Operations Scott Pattison and the Lord Advocate of 18 April 2010

Hi Scott,

So here is the problem. Comms staff consistently refuse to answer any and all questions put to them ever. Instead, a pre-prepared statement is issued and repeated, and this is considered to be a sufficient response in connection with all matters related to the original inquiry. I do not take this personally, nor do I consider The Firm to be singled out, as this appears to be a matter of policy applied universally. However, it is not acceptable, and runs counter to the personal assurances you gave to me previously, that you have thus far avoided placing into the FOI-able domain.

This is not satisfactory or indeed efficacious, and is not “communications”. It is entirely one sided and operates entirely against the spirit of dialogue, cooperation and accountability. Some might call such information management "propaganda". What we both know is that this policy is not only ineffective, it is counterproductive and in the past has almost brought the Lord Advocate to Court, when instead a simple straight answer and a basic degree of engagement would have avoided any problems and prevented any breakdown of communications. I do not propose to continue going about my business in this way. I have honoured my part of our agreement. Thus far, Crown Office have not.

When we spoke personally you undertook to take certain steps to resolve these problems, although to date I am not perceiving any degree of progress or change. You personally are not above culpability in this area: I note I have received neither acknowledgement, response or result from my inquiry to you of 1430hrs yesterday, for example.

I would therefore like to invite you to meet with me -once again- and discuss how relations with “comms” may be improved from your end. If it is appropriate that I meet with others, then please ensure that they attend. It is my objective to secure constructive working relations with Crown Office and its personnel. You and I both understand that part of my job is to probe, inquire, assess, evaluate and where necesssary, expose. This need not put us at either personal or professional opposition, if both parties respect one another's position and function professionally. I have been forced to make too many complaints for there to be any shred of credibilty left in the pretence that Crown Office have operated in this spirit. I aim to rectify this, and I stand ready to do my part.

I hope you will note and appreciate that I continue to engage with you positively, despite the consistent failure of Comms to reciprocate. The Firm could be a useful working partner for the Crown Office, and provide an outlet for many of the constructive aspects of the administration of justice that feature heavily in the magazine. Your staff's antagonistic stance operates, in my view, greatly to the detriment of your organisation and its personnel, and in particular the Law Officers, whose reputations are carried for good or ill by your frontline functionaries. I do not consider this satisfactory, and hope you will agree and work with me to correct it.

To be clear, I would like to hear from you in acknowledgement, response, and with your proposals for engagement within a reasonable time.

Steven


Email sent to Scott Pattison on 18 April, no reply having been received.


Hi Scott,

I sent this to you on 8 April, specifically requesting "your proposals for engagement within a reasonable time," after a consistent series of well documented failures on the part of COPFS operations and comms to undertake their professional responsibilities over an unreasonably long timeframe.

It has long been clear to me that you and your staff do not welcome the scrutiny of The Firm, and I have accepted this as a professional hazard. Nevertheless, you have once again failed to engage with my efforts at securing a workable relationship with you and the Crown Office. Please do not even attempt to justify your failure to engage with me as some misinterpretation on my part as to what constitutes a "reasonable time". You have had reasonable time, and I have had silence. This is not good enough.

I will not tolerate your continued frustration of my efforts at communications engagement. I have cc'd in the Justice Minister and Parliamentary Justice shadows, as well as MSP members of the media and culture committee; I believe this falls within that group's remit. I now invite them and Messrs Baker, Aitken and MacAskill and Ms Peattie to assist me in securing a workable method of communicating with the Crown Office. I do not ask for heads to roll or want explanations for failure. I need results. That is all. Professionalism has failed to secure them. Patience has failed. Persistence has failed. Courtesy has failed. Complaints have failed. Further complaints have failed. Face to face meetings have failed. Directness has failed. Bluntness has failed.

You have failed. The matter must now go into the wider, FOI-able domain, despite your preference to keep your commitments to me away from the public record.

I remind you that you and your staff carry the public reputation of the Law Officers and the COPFS with you in your failure. I will not allow your failure to undermine my own goodwill and professionalism, nor defeat my professional objectives. I will secure cooperation from your organisation, over your head and against your will if I have to. COPFS is not yours to play with. The media has an essential, valuable role to play, and the readers who stand behind me rely on me to undertake that responsibility. You owe my readers - professionals, citizens and voters one and all- information and accountability. I aim to get it.

Mr Aitken, Mr Baker, Mr MacAskill and Ms Peattie, I'd be grateful to hear from you in comment, action and response.

Scott, I'd be happy to hear from you in resolution, if you are prepared to aim for it.

Steven
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John



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post if I may say so.

Just goes to show really...are the cracks beginning to appear for real??
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Iain McKie



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Location: Ayr, Scotland.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an extremely serious development and yet again serves to show how out of touch, arrogant and incestuous the Crown Office is.

The Firm magazine and Steven Raeburn have over the years highlighted issues of immense importance to those fighting injustice and this action by the Lord Advocate, a minister of this government, is yet another attack on our freedom and on our ability to have our views known and circulated.

I will be writing to the Lord Advocate, Crown Office and Scottish Government complaining in the strongest possible terms and I hope that others will take the same action.
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Big Wullie



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great Idea Iain

Why don't you write a letter and publish it here where others could copy and paste it to Crown Office in support of the Firm ?

This way all the letters of support will be in the same terms.

I did note the man Scott Pattison involved was also at the Inquiry, and was also the same arrogant man who sent copies of all ID Parades to SCCRC regarding my case and now claims to have not kept any copies and he doesn't know what he sent.

Scott Pattison To SCCRC

SCCRC had asked for two reports:

SCCRC To Pattison
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Iain McKie



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Location: Ayr, Scotland.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Wullie,

I will prepare a draft letter as a basis for a complaint to the Scottish Government and Crown Office and post it within the next two days.

I am also concerned at the number of time Mr Pattison appears on the horizon as chief apologist for the Crown Office and a negative influence on justice.

Interestingly the media do not appear to have picked up on this story which given its implications is worrying.

Best wishes,

Iain
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Big Wullie



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Iain

I appreciate your time and effort and will add my name to any protest to Crown Office on this issue.

I will copy and paste your draft to Elish Angiolini in the strongest possible terms and suggest others do the same.

Mr Pattison has withheld lots of evidence from people over the years of this I am sure so surely he should be open to question ?

When he was caught out in my case the evidence went missing, ie Second ID Parade Report and all evidence from my wife's trial has mysteriously disappeared.

The press probably wouldn't do it because it has already been done in the Firm and on their website.
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John



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you honestly think the Scottish Press would print anything which would expose the shortcomings within the Crown Office and show up its lackeys like Scott Pattison ??
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Iain McKie



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's have a wee go John.
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John



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iain McKie wrote:
Let's have a wee go John.


A wee go at what exactly??
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Iain McKie



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A wee go at getting the media interested.

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