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Iain McKie

Court TV and accountability

Lord Gill has given the red light to TV recording in court subject to strict rules.

The dean of the Faculty of Advocates commented.
Quote:
"In keeping with his vision of an open and accessible justice system - a vision which I share - the Lord President has made an important announcement about televising the courts.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-31020869

Sadly it is hard not to be cynical about an initiative that I support in general terms. Open and accountable are not words easily associated with our justice system.

I suspect a sop to try and draw a line under moves to makes judges more accountable. Together with the Crown Office our judiciary can virtually do what they like and are subject to little or no scrutiny.

http://petercherbi.blogspot.co.uk...-judicial-interests-good-for.html

https://petercherbi.wordpress.com/tag/moi-ali/

As cases like Lockerbie show we live in a country where political oversight is virtually non-existent. This is the area where real change is required and hopefully the Justice Committee can be developed into a unit where objective scrutiny can be applied. To do this however there are serious cultural and historic hurdles to be faced.
Big Wullie

Quote:
Filming of civil and criminal appeals, and legal debates in civil first instance proceedings, such as judicial review or procedure roll hearings, should be allowed for live transmission



I noted Lord Gill at Wullie Gage's appeal as arguing with the female Advocate Depute when she said Tim Valentine's report was not case specific.
He told the A/D that he had read the report and it was very case specific yet his decision says Tim Valentine did not carry out any case specific investigations

https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/2011HCJAC40.html


Quote:

In all of the cases in which expert evidence has been admitted in our courts, the evidence was specific to the facts of the case, and usually specific to a particular witness. Professor Valentine has conducted no case-specific tests or research.



Quote:
Discussion

Professor Valentine's conclusions

[19] The advocate depute drew to our attention certain remarks reported by the Commission as having been made by Professor Valentine, in an interview for the purposes of a television programme. According to the Commission, Professor Valentine said inter alia that he accepted that Tracy McAlroy's first statement was obtained in stressful conditions on the night of the murder; that he would look to her early statements, taken within a few days of the murder, as the most reliable source of information; that only a small proportion of people would correctly pick out at a line up a person whom they had seen in the circumstances in which Tracy McAlroy had seen the gunman; that her confrontation with the mannequin was a highly suggestive procedure and that there could be no better way of planting misleading information into a witness's memory. The absence of any reference to the man's eyes in her police statements suggested that the confrontation with the mannequin, which had prominent eyes, might have contaminated her memory.

[20] From these and other points Professor Valentine concluded that there was no reliable identification evidence linking the appellant to the scene of the crime; and that the witnesses' statements in regard to the make of the white car seemed to be unreliable, apart from that of James Kearns, whose evidence on the point was most likely to be reliable. We regret to say that in expressing these conclusions, although they are not set out in the report itself, Professor Valentine has, in our view, compromised his position as an expert witness in this case.


Total unwillingness to accept Identifications cause 75% of miscarriages worldwide and jurors in Scotland are never told this:

Quote:

These safeguards are consistent with, and stem from, the basic approach of our law which is to recognise that a juror's judgment on the reliability of an identification is a matter of life experience.

[31] For these reasons alone, we consider that our law is right in refusing to admit evidence of the kind proposed. We are opposed to any relaxation of the existing rule.


Quote:

. Much of his report has no bearing on the facts of this case. For example, there has been no suggestion that any witness's evidence was distorted by feedback or by any significant delay before identification procedures were carried out.


An utter nonsense I have read Valentine's report and he does suggest witnesses minds were distorted by feedback and contamination.

He also suggests that a very small number of people would ever be able to identify in such circumstances.

From memory it was nearly two years later Gage was Identified in court, this is an abnormal amount of time and to my mind a significant delay.

What planet are these judges living on.
Big Wullie

Here is another cracking howler from Lord Gill in Gage:

https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/2011HCJAC40.html

Quote:
[29] On the particular issue of identification evidence, the court has its own safeguards. In a prosecution that rests on eye-witness identification the risk of a miscarriage of justice is notorious. The invariable practice in our courts is that the trial judge gives the jury a specific and thorough direction that warns them that in certain circumstances such evidence may be unreliable and refers by way of example to specific considerations that might be thought to affect the reliability of an identification made by an eye-witness. The strength of that safeguard has been recognised in other jurisdictions in which expert evidence on the point is excluded (eg Smith v The Queen (1990) 64 ALJR 588, Deane J (High Court of Australia)).


How many prosecutions in Scotland have the jury been properly directed on the reliability of Identification evidence like happens in England.

Judges in Scotland can and often do say very little about this evidence.

They do not for example tell jurors 75% of miscarriage have been known to be caused by wrongful identifications.

They do not tell jurors that it was because of cases like Adolph Beck appeal courts were created.
Big Wullie

Big Wullie wrote:
Quote:
Filming of civil and criminal appeals, and legal debates in civil first instance proceedings, such as judicial review or procedure roll hearings, should be allowed for live transmission



I noted Lord Gill at Wullie Gage's appeal as arguing with the female Advocate Depute when she said Tim Valentine's report was not case specific.
He told the A/D that he had read the report and it was very case specific yet his decision says Tim Valentine did not carry out any case specific investigations

https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/2011HCJAC40.html


Quote:

In all of the cases in which expert evidence has been admitted in our courts, the evidence was specific to the facts of the case, and usually specific to a particular witness. Professor Valentine has conducted no case-specific tests or research.



Quote:
Discussion

Professor Valentine's conclusions

[19] The advocate depute drew to our attention certain remarks reported by the Commission as having been made by Professor Valentine, in an interview for the purposes of a television programme. According to the Commission, Professor Valentine said inter alia that he accepted that Tracy McAlroy's first statement was obtained in stressful conditions on the night of the murder; that he would look to her early statements, taken within a few days of the murder, as the most reliable source of information; that only a small proportion of people would correctly pick out at a line up a person whom they had seen in the circumstances in which Tracy McAlroy had seen the gunman; that her confrontation with the mannequin was a highly suggestive procedure and that there could be no better way of planting misleading information into a witness's memory. The absence of any reference to the man's eyes in her police statements suggested that the confrontation with the mannequin, which had prominent eyes, might have contaminated her memory.

[20] From these and other points Professor Valentine concluded that there was no reliable identification evidence linking the appellant to the scene of the crime; and that the witnesses' statements in regard to the make of the white car seemed to be unreliable, apart from that of James Kearns, whose evidence on the point was most likely to be reliable. We regret to say that in expressing these conclusions, although they are not set out in the report itself, Professor Valentine has, in our view, compromised his position as an expert witness in this case.


Total unwillingness to accept Identifications cause 75% of miscarriages worldwide and jurors in Scotland are never told this:

Quote:

These safeguards are consistent with, and stem from, the basic approach of our law which is to recognise that a juror's judgment on the reliability of an identification is a matter of life experience.

[31] For these reasons alone, we consider that our law is right in refusing to admit evidence of the kind proposed. We are opposed to any relaxation of the existing rule.


Quote:

. Much of his report has no bearing on the facts of this case. For example, there has been no suggestion that any witness's evidence was distorted by feedback or by any significant delay before identification procedures were carried out.


An utter nonsense I have read Valentine's report and he does suggest witnesses minds were distorted by feedback and contamination.

He also suggests that a very small number of people would ever be able to identify in such circumstances.

From memory it was nearly two years later Gage was Identified in court, this is an abnormal amount of time and to my mind a significant delay.

What planet are these judges living on.


What more feedback could the police give the witnesses in Wullie Gage's case other than showing them the things they wanted them to Identify.

If this is not considered feedback then I do not know what is.

They showed them the burnt jacket recovered from the burnt car.

They must have known a burnt car was recovered.

They showed them the white burnt out SAAB car at the back of a police station.

They were never shown a line up of white cars despite the witnesses saying Maestro and Volvo they showed them a burnt out SAAB.

They were never shown a line up of jackets despite the witness all describing a padded jacket they showed then a thin nylon cagoule.

FFS how much more proof does our courts want that the police are contaminating witnesses minds ?
Iain McKie

Another proposal related to using TV recordings for court purposes.

Quote:
EVIDENCE from witnesses could be filmed at crime scenes for use in trials instead of an “attempt to recall what happened many months later in court”, a new report on Scotland’s legal system has said.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/poli...e-pre-recorded-evidence-1-3718779

On the surface it seems that the latest proposal could in many ways assist accurate recollection of events. However as we know from the Gage and Megrahi cases witnesses can give a large number of statements with the last often being taken as it best suits the prosecution case. The idea being floated about recording witnesses statements at the time could well be applied to non recorded statements where greater stress would be placed on the initial statement and less to the later ones where 'memories' have been suitably jogged.
Big Wullie

I think this is a great idea but we already have statements taken from witnesses at the scenes of crimes or immediately thereafter crimes who sometimes change their minds by the time they get to court.

If they are giving evidence for the crown they are never charged.

If they on the other hand are giving evidence for the defence they will definitely be charged with either Perjury Or Prevarication.

Taking my own case as a classic example here what I would like to see is Lawyers getting off their arses and interviewing defence witnesses at their earliest opportunity and not months later or like I said in my own case NEVER.

My witnesses were never interviewed by the (According To Lord Carloway) great defence team I had:

http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/2013HCJAC51.html

Quote:
Before examining the test for that, the court pauses to repeat that the appellant was represented by skilled and experienced counsel and solicitor.
LOL

Quote:
At this time, so remote from the trial, it is not possible to form any concluded view on whether the appellant's representatives had been in possession of the Crown precognition.


So lets agree with Lord Carloway for arguments sake here LOL

If they never interviewed my witnesses and never obtained the crown precognitions from crown then Exactly What Did They go To Trial With ? lol

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