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Big Wullie

Wullie Beck Resigns From Justice Scotland

I have resigned from Justice Scotland and all will become clear in the press soon.

Suffice it to say it has become a farce of an organisation.

My Resignation letter will be available soon.
Big Wullie

Since inception Justice Scotland have been constantly told by Justice there is no funds available for projects identified by the working group to take forward.

Roger Smith when I first spoke to him was bragging about how much money Justice had, yet we were constantly told their building is in dire need of repairs which they can ill afford.

Found an old letter from Justice from 16th December 1985 which will make interesting reading soon.
frank

My impression is Justice Scotland resides in a country whose legal system is rotten to the core and blighted with conflicts of interests all over the place.

If they can only come up with supporting Cadder out of all the problems associated with the Scottish Justice System then I'm afraid they are a waste of time.

I also can't see their scottish members (legal fraternity) going up against their own inadequate system when it comes to expert evidence.
Big Wullie

frank wrote:
My impression is Justice Scotland resides in a country whose legal system is rotten to the core and blighted with conflicts of interests all over the place.

If they can only come up with supporting Cadder out of all the problems associated with the Scottish Justice System then I'm afraid they are a waste of time.

I also can't see their scottish members (legal fraternity) going up against their own inadequate system when it comes to expert evidence.


Cadder was pre Justice Scotland.

I agree to an extent with your opinion that the legal fraternity are unwilling to go up against their own system and there is an unwillingness to challenge experts at trials.

I do however think this is down to legal aid and the courts unwillingness to allow experts despite the crown being allowed to call any expert they want.

Can anyone cite a case where the crown have been refused permission to call an expert ?

I have certainly never heard of such a case.
Big Wullie

Lord Gill warned every judge in Scotland not to get involved with Justice Scotland because I was a member.

John Scott QC asked me to step aside in order that Justice Scotland could recruit judges because he said they were the only ones to change the law.

I resigned because I could not work with an organisation that allowed itself to be blackmailed by Lord Gill as to who their members can and cannot be.

This shows the power of Judges in Scotland.

If they can dictate to lawyers and QC's in an independent organisation then what is happening in our courts ?

Is it any wonder there are so many Miscarriages not being corrected.

Justice Scotland confirmed by the Judiciary have recruited no judges since inception despite their counterparts south of the border recruiting 44.

I have witnessed many appeals which I thought could have been presented better but now I know why.

Judges control all Lawyers and QC's
Iain McKie

Morning Wullie,

I am sorry you had to leave Justice Scotland and agree that many issues remain.

That said - what is to be done?

It is a matter of fact that Judges tend to affect every aspect of justice in Scotland and have an inappropriate power and influence in relation to how the legal system operates.

I see the First Minister's decision to support there being 'no register of Judges interests' as wrong and of course tied into the matters you raise.

Similar issues of course arise with the Lord Advocate who remains a power almost without limits.

It is almost biblical.

Quote:
'And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.'

King James Bible "Authorized Version", Cambridge Edition

This political reticence  to become involved in such matters harks back to the dim and  distant past when properly the independence of the judiciary and Lord Advocate had to be  protected  from political interference.

Unfortunately this has morphed into a complete failure by our elected representatives to hold these authorities to account in any way. With few exceptions they have sadly washed their hands of their  duty to ensure that the exercise of power is fair and proportionate.

Perhaps all of this is embraced by the disgrace that is Lockerbie where a whole system has sat on its hands and failed to help right a massive wrong.

I do not see the solution as opting out and criticising all and every legal institution but in our own small way working to reform.

In essence the promise inherent in  the SNP’s clean sweep in Scotland is that things will be different.

This stands for justice as well as the economy and it is to be hoped that our politicians can be educated and persuaded in this regard.

Best wishes,

Iain
Big Wullie

Quote:
In essence the promise inherent in  the SNP’s clean sweep in Scotland is that things will be different.


Yes things will be different but sadly not on the justice front.

We all bear witness to the way SNP legislate and the way they treat others that do not agree with them.

I have never witnessed so much bullying in an election in all my life.

I had hoped Justice Scotland would have been different from Justice but sadly my hopes have been diminished after the way I was treated.

I have yet to see the minutes of any meeting which took place to discuss my position that John Scott QC told me took place.

I have yet to get an answer to my enquiry into how the Executive Committee can decide to ask someone to step aside from the working group as my understanding was the E/C were elected by the working group and not the other way round.

They would be better placed just to invite the lord advocate to stand as chair.

I recall a discussion we had about seeking press attention after being told Lord Gill had put out this memo warning judges not to be associated with Justice Scotland.

Had I been told then this was because of me you can bet I would have sought press attention and I wish I had just done it then.

Our present Lord Advocate sadly is just a puppet to the SNP who sits side by side refusing a Lockerbie enquiry while all the time professing to be compassionate.

I do not see any changes for the better in the near future for Scotland while dominated by the SNP.

It is funny watching them squirm at the thought of the newly elected MP's telling everyone they will make a difference while being the underdogs with the smallest majority.

We will see how they like what we have witnessed here in Scotland since the SNP took over.

We all know the majority will always win the vote
frank

Iain said

Quote:
It is a matter of fact that Judges tend to affect every aspect of justice in Scotland and have an inappropriate power and influence in relation to how the legal system operates.


Does it not make sense then that judges should have nothing to do with Justice Scotland. Politicians should be the ones to press for change not the people who are responsible for covering up cases.

The English Justice organisation is the polar opposite in that its a larger country where conflicts of interest are not around every corner.

Anyone who believes scottish judges could assist Justice Scotland in wee bonny Scotland in a pro active way are kidding themselves on.




Frank
Iain McKie

I take Frank's comments on board.

In a small country like Scotland it is almost impossible to separate out the various interests and we need to trust the judges and those like the Lord Advocate to use their independence wisely.

As things stand I don’t believe this always happens.

JUSTICE in England is a different animal to the one wanted by Wullie in that it tends not to campaign for individuals and takes the not unreasonable stance that because judges are so important to the decision making  process they must be included in the debate.

I suspect this however works differently in Scotland where the power of the judges is much more immediate, personal and in your face  and I suspect that those within the justice system with ambition but also want to reform the system have a difficult path to tread.

We have only 34 High Court judges in Scotland as opposed to 108 in England.

Constitutionally we need to have a rethink on the whole question of the openness and accountability of those within our justice system, like judges and the Lord Advocate,  who wield considerable power.

I suspect there will be little change until the Scottish Government, which is charged with holding these authorities to account, doesn’t take their independence as a blank cheque to do what they like.
Big Wullie

Quote:
JUSTICE in England is a different animal to the one wanted by Wullie in that it tends not to campaign for individuals


Hi Iain

I was aware that Justice Scotland agreed not to campaign for individuals and did not ever ask them to campaign for me.

They did agree that matters arising from individual cases could be took forward.

How else would Cadder and the likes have been successful.

I am also aware that Justice Scotland tried to intervene in Robson and the courts rejected this.

If Cadder and Robson are not individual cases then what is.

I did however ask Justice to intervene when the Lord Advocate failed to appear at my Nobile Officium (Individual Matter Arising from an individual case) in a deliberate attempt to stop me raising a devolution issue.

I should also point out Legal Aid was granted for me to proceed to the UKSC on this matter so it had merit.

Unfortunately I was given the wrong advice by Claire Mitchell Advocate to wait until after my SCCRC referral appeal before going to UKSC.

Now the Dean Of Faculty is saying I have no remedy because I have had an appeal.

What part if any of my appeal included the Lord Advocate breaching my right to a fair hearing ??? Exactly NONE

This shows the matter was distinct from the SCCRC referral.

I was saying it was wrong for the lord Advocate to be told by the court not to appear as this showed collusion between the crown and courts in a deliberate attempt to deny me access to justice.

In my Nobile Officium I argued that Lord Osborne ought to have recused himself from my 2006 appeal.

This also did not feature in my SCCRC referral.

Do you agree that the lord advocate can just refuse to appear whenever it takes his fancy to deny people the right to raise (Devolution) Human Rights Issues ?

Do you not agree this is a matter of Public concern ?
frank

My opinion is they are not an organisation who supports individual miscarriage of justice cases unless they fall into the catergory of raising matters of significant importance which are crying out for reform within the justice system as a whole and thus could affect other people.

i.e Cadder, Nunn etc.

They obviously use these cases to bolster their attempts at reform.

There is an argument that Lord Advocates not turning up at hearings is of great public importance which could also affect other people when they decide not to turn up at future hearings. I note there was other people involved in that hearing too Wullie so surely they should have came forward to bolster your obvious discrepancy. The more the merrier.


Unfortunately, Justice probably envisage far more greater frailties within the system than Lord Advocates not turning up at a hearing. i.e expert evidence, post conviction disclosure, cadder etc.



Frank
Big Wullie

Perhaps Justice and Justice Scotland should take note here:

http://mic.com/articles/114276/11...le-who-are-now-changing-the-world

I was told by John Scott QC that my conviction was problematic in recruiting Judges.
Big Wullie

Why did I expect Justice Scotland to be any different from Justice in the 1980's ?

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0...9eVoxMFJObFBucUk/view?usp=sharing
Big Wullie

My letter of resignation can be found here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0...9V0RPRnRJclpVamc/view?usp=sharing
Big Wullie

Justice Scotland still has no website despite all other links working at Justice.org

http://justice.org.uk/contact/justice-scotland-contact/

Still no answer to my request to see minutes of meeting John Scott QC told me took place to discuss asking me to step aside.

What kind of organisation are they running ?
Big Wullie

Why did I not see the problem before now:

I had no idea the person I was accusing of defectively representing me was now a member of Justice Scotland.

I also think it a bit strange that the wife of a Judge Dorothy Bain takes over as chair I am asked to step aside.

Dorothy Bain is the wife of Lord Turnbull

Co Founding members Maggie Scott & Chris Shead would never have asked me to resign.

Can I ask you Iain if you knew Bill Taylor QC was now a member of Justice Scotland ?

I did not look at the mailing list until tonight.

william.taylor@blackchambers.co.uk

From: Scotland@justice.org.uk
To: cal.harding@grangeandcastlesolicitors.com; heather@dennessaprilrise.freeserve.co.uk; dorothy.bain@advocates.org.uk; gwilliams@25bedfordrow.com; william.taylor@blackchambers.co.uk; qc@wjt.org.uk; rdsadvocate@aol.com; patrick.layden@scotlawcom.gsi.gov.uk; ardshiel2@tesco.net; james.wolffe@axiomadvocates.com; mail@dmillen.co.uk; paulbrown@lsa.org.uk; acornlodge@myfastmail.com; jamie.dunne@btinternet.com; fred.mackintosh@terrafirmachambers.com; johndscott@talk21.com; nicojue@gmail.com; lesley.irvine@advocates.org.uk; gordon.dalyell@digbybrown.co.uk; juliette.casey@advocates.org.uk; catherine.smith@advocates.org.uk; iain.mckie1@talktalk.net; tony@taylorkelly.co.uk; wulliebeck@hotmail.co.uk; boonmeister@hotmail.com; rb@bckm.co.uk; jps@thorleystephenson.com; christine.oneill@brodies.com; david.sheldon@compasschambers.com; elaine.motion@balfour-manson.co.uk; ailsa.carmichael@ampersandstable.com; an.og@btinternet.com; moira.deeney@glasgowbarassociation.co.uk; rory.mcpherson@thompson-scotland.co.uk; meameehan@yahoo.co.uk; mail@liamewingsolicitoradvocate.com; info@patrickharviemsp.com; alison.mcinnes.msp@scottish.parliament.uk; dfrankburr@btinternet.com; colin@themacneills.com; davidronaldevans@gmail.com; moira.mackenzie@advocates.org.uk; joanna.cherry@advocates.org.uk; rosemaryguinnane@aol.com; gordon.martin.59@gmail.com; bobsmyth60@gmail.com; mrc30@sussex.ac.uk; catrionarubens@gmail.com; luigi.pedreschi@yahoo.co.uk; jlm@peacockjohnston.co.uk; f.z.mackenzie@dundee.co.uk; anne-claire@bailliegifford.com; ry@theglasgowlawpractice.co.uk; fmacdonald@mail.ie; derekandrewogg@hotmail.com; donald.findlay@mackinnonadvocates.co.uk; james.mccrone@outlook.com; emdobosz@gmail.com; leigh.lawrie@advocates.org.uk; josh.hepple@gmail.com; catrionamcgregor@me.com; jps@thorleystephenson.com; sydhar@btconnect.com; alanwdmclean@yahoo.co.uk
CC: ACoomber@justice.org.uk; jblackstock@justice.org.uk
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2015 11:32:38 +0000
Subject: JUSTICE Scotland AGM 28 April 2015, 6pm, Edinburgh



Dear Members of JUSTICE Scotland,



The JUSTICE Scotland AGM will take place on 28th April 2015, at 6pm in the Mackenzie Building of the Faculty of Advocates, Assembly Close, Edinburgh.



Please find enclosed notice and agenda for the meeting.



Should you wish to attend we would be grateful if you could notify us by reply. Please refer to the Notice for details of those wishing to stand for the Scottish Working Group or the Scottish Executive Committee.



We will be pleased to announce the JUSTICE Scotland Strategy at the AGM.



Kind regards,



JUSTICE Scotland
frank

There was so many failings in Megrahi's defence it is beyond belief, yet this man is a member of Justice Scotland. In my opinion Megrahi is arguably the worst MOJ ever seen in the world.

I feel for you Wullie as I know how frustrating it can be to see the people partly responsible for your wrongful conviction progress up the ladder and be protected by their friends.

One only needs to look at who was Lord Advocate at the time of the Shirley McKie case and look at where he is now.  Shameful.
Big Wullie

Reply from Justice Scotland today:

Dear Wullie,

as you know I am now the Chair of JUSTICE Scotland and in this capacity I have been asked to write to you direct in relation to your recent communications and also your requests for copies of JUSTICE Scotland’s Executive’s Minutes of Meetings.

I write to advise that none of the Executives Minutes of Meetings will be released to you.

I also understand that you are under the misapprehension that at a meeting of the Executive a motion was passed to have you resign and that this decision had been influenced by the Lord President, Lord Gill.

I would also advise you that there was no such motion and that JUSTICE Scotland have had no discussions with Lord Gill, either about you or about JUSTICE Scotland.

It is my understanding that before the AGM John Scott QC, who was then chair of JUSTICE Scotland, spoke with you on the telephone and explained to you that JUSTICE Scotland were having difficulty recruiting different types of individuals on to the Working Group - including retired Senators and Sheriffs. One reason for this - it was felt - was because of the fact that you were on the Working Group and you have a criminal record.

I also understand that John highlighted to you that during the time you have served on the working group, although you have attended many meetings, you have not produced any work that is relevant or helpful to JUSTICE Scotland moving forward. I understand that when this was explained to you, you agreed to stand down and offered your own resignation.

Following on your discussions with John, when you attended at the AGM on 28 April 2015, at the Mackenzie Building of the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh, you tendered your resignation and this was accepted by the Chair, John Scott QC. You were not forced out and you were not pressurised in any way. At the time it was my understanding that you resigned because you and others accepted that it was to the benefit of JUSTICE Scotland going forward.

I trust this email answers the issues you have raised.

Yours sincerely
Dorothy R Bain QC
Big Wullie

My Reply will be available soon.

Suffice it to say it was not retired Senators it was working Judges.

Why would Justice Scotland want to recruit retired Judges.

Shit scared of the ramifications from the Judiciary now, and seeking damage limitations.

Never heard so much crap in all my life about preparing reports and I can assure all there are many on the boards not producing reports.

As Iain McKie knows all too well I was working on a paper regarding a review of SCCRC (which he agreed was much needed) but John Scott QC made it abundantly clear on the Sunday evening prior to the AGM, Justice Scotland was not prepared to look at anything to do with SCCRC.

QC bully showing his power over the lay members.

I also saw a debate on facebook regarding John Scott attacking another Lawyer for losing an appeal where the lawyer was also calling him a bully.

I will show the minutes of the previous working group to clarify what was supposed to be happening.
Big Wullie

During my conversation with John Scott QC he kept asking me why I wanted a review of SCCRC because they did their job referring my case back to the appeal court.

I explained to him that even though I was thankful to SCCRC for referring my case they could have referred it earlier.

I also explained that after referral we managed to get the appeal court to accept an Anderson ground without any great difficulty which was not within the referral.

For this reason I did not think the SCCRC had done a proper job and in any event it was not just about my case.

England have had reviews of CCRC and call them before select committees and they are answerably to Parliament.

In Scotland no-one wants to take responsibility for the actions of SCCRC.

There was no consistency within their referrals and non referrals from the ones I have read.

Some cases are being referred on Cadder while others are being rejected.

It's acting a bit like Robin Johnstone said our courts were on Anderson appeals here:

http://www.journalonline.co.uk/Magazine/54-1/1006077.aspx

Clearly there is no consistency when some judges allow Anderson appeals while other judges would reject the same.

SCCRC fare no better than our appeal courts when one reads their many referrals and non referrals that I have been fortunate enough to read.

In simple terms the general public expect that when one appeal similar to another successful one comes along the same rationale should apply.

This is not what is happening.

In any event I did not think it was a matter that John Scott should have been deciding on his own during a telephone conversation with me it should have been a matter that was before a full Committee of the working group to finalise what matters were taken forward at Justice Scotland.

I am sure anyone would agree with this.
Big Wullie

My Responses to Dorothy Bain @ Justice Scotland are written in Red:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0...9VU1WU0R4MGR2dW8/view?usp=sharing
Big Wullie

So now Justice Scotland has descended into .........MODERATED OUT........ by denying Lord Gill had anything to do with my resignation.

They get someone who has only recently joined but taken the chair to respond calling into question my ability to contribute.

It is rich coming from the Wife of Lord Turnbull to deny Lord Gill had any involvement with Justice Scotland and indeed my resignation.

I am glad however she did not deny it was because of a recruitment issue lol though she was conservative with the truth.

But then again what would she know as she has only recently started to appear at the working group meeting without being appointed a member.

Like I have said it was the working group that appointed and elected members and I do not recall any meetings to discuss new members the new chair Dorothy Bain just appeared at working group meetings without the working group discussing if she could join.

I am sure Iain will correct me if I am wrong here.
NanaKaren

Sorry you are having this hassle Wullie

I am a tad confused, I thought that Justice was meant to have lay people in it ?

So where do all the lawyers and judges come from?

If there are no "real" lay people in these organisations, what makes them different from any others?  Nothing! And all it is, is some organised organisation with the appearance of being "open"  = useless.
In my opinion we need people who are interested in the law and its workings even if they have  criminal record.  In fact especially if they have experience of how things have worked it should be a good thing.

We need people of all walks of life to be involved in this, there is no reason it should be all law people.  

In case they havent noticed people in Scotland do not trust the law nor the judges, courts or anything else.  Surely this is something that should be changed.
Surely they should listen to the people!  After all in case they forget the public do indeed employ and pay them.

They can also un employ them.  Which is something they should really take notice of.
Big Wullie

Think of it this way Nanna Karen

If the Judiciary are capable of directing who is on the board at Justice Scotland what is happening in our courts ?

I do not want to hear that evidence in my appeal court.

I know in Nat Fraser's case his defence made him sign a document saying he did not want to call a certain witness.

What is that all about ?

Is this in case Nat Fraser takes an Anderson Appeal ?

Nat Fraser was told a certain witness was going to claim he thought Nat Fraser committed the murder and his defence team said there was no value in calling this witness.

Why would any defence team get an accused to sign a document saying they did not intend to call a certain witness, unless the defence team thought this might amount to an Anderson Appeal.

........MODERATED OUT: EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE....... the lot of them.

Do not ever think your lawyer is on your side lol
Iain McKie

Hi Wullie,

While I can well understand your frustration I am not sure that by attacking all and sundry you are going to in any way win through.

Hard as it is for you to accept until you are proven innocent, as you should be, you are a convicted criminal and this certainly can always be used as a reason for others refusing to join Justice Scotland.

That said I have concerns about the way Justice Scotland operates and I feel that you have cause to be unhappy.

I believe the very basis of Justice Scotland makes it problematic for lay people to be members. By its very nature lawyers will always predominate and I don't see the organisation in the vanguard of those  opposing miscarriages but rather acting on general principles of law.

I intend to continue as a member but believe that there are cultural issues that impede progress.

While I believe that judicial input is necessary the fact is that it is the very power of High Court and Appeal Court judges in Scotland that  is at the root of some miscarriages.

There is a danger that the very people who are responsible for some of the miscarriages will also be members of Justice Scotland and that appears to create an almost FIFA like culture. I have great respect for many members of the organisation but see too many cultural strains in the small legal community that Scotland has.

Am I wrong? Time will tell but certainly I will continue to pursue issues like Expert Evidence in the hope that progress can be made.

I see Justice Scotland as a flawed organisation in a flawed system but that is what we have to work with as best we can to move matters forward.

Best wishes,

Iain
Big Wullie

I deleted my last post because of the amount of moderation which made the comments un-readable.

I would say in my defence that anyone that disagreed with what I was saying was perfectly entitled to comment on anything they thought was incorrect.

I did tell Iain McKie about ...moderated out... asking a certain person for information about Simon Hall when it happened, so to be questioned now about what I was saying is deeply offensive.

I also told him in person that an e-mail had been sent which was in itself not true just so that ...moderated out... could retract information about Simon Hall from a certain poster on this forum but yet again I am being questioned about the authenticity of what I have said.

I really am deeply offended at the amount of moderation I have been subjected to since resigning from Justice Scotland.

I really have had enough.

Adios
admin

Really sorry to lose you from the forum Wullie. This is your choice of course and I respect it.

I suspect the Simon Hall arguments are a mystery to most readers who are totally unaware of the rights and wrongs of this sad case.

Tit for tat arguments, most of  which can never be proved one way or another, and trading insults takes us nowhere.

You have a great deal to contribute to fighting miscarriages  and I hope that you continue to  do so elsewhere if not on this forum.
S Lean

From Iain's post above:

Quote:
Hard as it is for you to accept until you are proven innocent, as you should be, you are a convicted criminal and this certainly can always be used as a reason for others refusing to join Justice Scotland.


Although I agree that some people will use this as an excuse not to join, I don't think it's a valid argument. Organisations set up to attempt to counter injustice need to be open to input from all who are affected by it, directly or indirectly.

I'm thinking, for example, of the work done by Erwin James and Eric Allison - although both had criminal convictions, their work in exposing flaws in the justice system has gone a long way to encouraging ordinary people to think about how the justice system works, and what happens when it goes wrong.

John Taft is still a "convicted criminal," fighting to clear his name, but he is welcomed to speak and share his experiences in organisations south of the border attempting to address criminal justice matters.

If an organisation is genuinely interested in attempting to tackle the myriad problems inherent in our CJS, then, in my opinion,  it can't be a closed shop with regard to who can or can't be a member, or offer input - it's something of a dark irony that someone maintaining innocence can be used as an excuse for others not joining an organisation called "JUSTICE."
Iain McKie

I totally agree with ’S Lean’s' comments and had rather hoped that my original posting would encourage such debate instead of closing down readers involvement.

That said leaving an organisation will not change anything and particularly in Scotland justice organisations can only be changed from the inside.

Unfortunately I believe  that the pervading culture within the justice system as a whole dominates  and that the constituent parts, even although they claim to be in opposition, actually depend on each other to prosper and advance. I suspect that JUSTICE and now JUSTICE Scotland have grown dependent on the very people and authorities it might sometimes want to criticise and that any criticism requires to be made within very closely defined limits.

This leave people like Wullie with few options other than to work on outside the official system gathering like minds together.

Although I continue to be a member of JUSTICE Scotland I believe that campaigning for justice within a system which prescribes how that fight will be fought is extremely limiting and open to charges of incestuous behaviour.

It appears clear that they steer away from involvement in individual miscarriages because of the judicial pressure applied - albeit very subtly.

Can this be changed?

It is also true however  that those fighting for justice must also look to their own behaviour. Insulting and obsessive actions in the face of admitted provocation unfortunately wins no friends and allows the system to marginalise them.
frank

Perhaps everybody interested in Miscarriages of Justice should begin a volunteer group of their own to assist in individual cases. I believe progress could be made if everybody came together as one.


Much needed group assistance on individual criminal cases could form a platform for taking a much needed stance against the glaring frailties within the scottish justice system.

Just an idea
Iain McKie

A positive idea Frank.

Miscarriages of justice are as  you know often complex and it is difficult to ascertain the truth.

While there are individual examples of such support groups the effort to keep them going, often in the face of a disinterested audience, and the commitment required is considerable.

The justice system is well aware of this and grinds exceeding slow and fighting injustice is a slow and laborious task.

I certainly receive a number of approaches for assistance and always advise a support group with political and media support if possible.

For me the major goal is a change in culture within our justice system because effectively all the constituent parts feed off of each other even when it appears as if they should be in opposition.

Justice is often spoken about by politicians but is seldom acted on and with a few honourable exceptions investigative journalism is dead and buried.

Cogent argument, detailed research, superb organisation and clear goals are required in fighting miscarriages and unfortunately this seldom exists.

I still feel that the fight is best carried out by an organisation representing a number of cases but seldom do these groups have any real power.

Either vested interests abound or financial support is lacking.

That said successful fights have usually involved a committed group and those battling the system should certainly take your advice and seek to form such a group.

Even this forum which has a reasonably sized readership struggles to maintain interest.

Somehow the system needs to be aware and I am afraid in most cases it motors on unaware and complacent.

It will be interesting to see other responses to your thoughts.
S Lean

I agree with both Frank and Iain - an organised, cohesive, coherent strategy, backed by solid research, which, in turn allows similarities across a number of cases to lend strength to each other, and to the pressure for reform, an active seeking of political support in a professional and intelligent manner, and the cultivation of strong media involvement with those journalists, documentary makers and reporters willing to take a stand and tell unpopular stories and facts.

In fact, I began working, a few months ago, on an idea that may provide a framework for just such a thing, whilst I was taking some time out. I will not know until later in the year if the initial phase has been successful, so can't say too much more about it at the minute.

However, I also think we need a change of approach from those fighting individual cases, or working in small groups. We have to unite and work together, otherwise the massive advantage already held by the CJS will remain unbreakable. I discussed this with a well known campaigner a few years ago, and his response was, "Yes, but you can't ask someone who's been fighting for years to put his case on the back burner to support someone else, who might get his name cleared while the first guy's still getting nowhere," and I get that, I really do.

I understand that to every wrongly convicted person and their family, their case is the most important case to them - how could it be otherwise?

It's a fragile and sensitive discussion that has to be had to find a way of encompassing the hopes, expectations, hurts and frustrations of individuals and individual families within the need to come together and work strategically. And we all have to accept that other people genuinely fighting injustice are not the enemy, even if we do not agree with their approach or methods. Indeed, it simply suits a justice system happy to maintain the status quo to have protesters and campaigners fighting amongst themselves - they don't even have to divide to conquer, we do that all by ourselves!

I know without question I've made mistakes over the last 12 years, everybody has, but if we are all prepared to learn from those mistakes, and share what we have learned, we would find we have already amassed a veritable treasure trove of how not to do it, which would surely be of great use to everyone moving forward, and to those, sadly, who will find themselves in the same place in the future.
Iain McKie

As most readers know fighting for justice takes an enormous toll on the individual, family and friends.

Fighting alone eventually wears the individual down and as things stand we can be left with no alternative but to give up the fight and perhaps gain some life back or to fight on becoming more and more obsessed and ultimately end up blaming everyone, even those who might support us.

As ’S Lean’ suggests the CJS can sit back and watch the campaigners destroy themselves and their arguments.

The solution is extremely complex however.

There should be  a place for organisations like ‘Justice Scotland’ looking at the broader general principles and interfacing with the system to bring about understanding and change.

Unfortunately in our system the pervading culture is one of preserving itself at all costs and JS appears to honour that culture above all. While I can understand this it unfortunately inhibits that organisation from bringing about cultural change - the real elephant in the room.

We see the Labour Party tearing itself apart. We have three candidates who all present different visions of the same cultural future and one Jeremy Corbyn who dares to challenge the system from an arguably Marxist perspective. While not necessarily endorsing his policies he has captured the public mood for real change and not the cosmetic challenge offered by the established parties. In Scotland labour voters are offered more of the same.

Has the SNP captured the same mood? We shall have to wait and see as pressures from the establishment, civil service and the system do everything to subvert them from their course.

In theory we should have organisations like MOJO providing a cultural challenge but alone they do not have the clout or resources to motivate real change.

Certainly there is room for all those interested in monitoring the justice system coming together but there inevitably will be a clash of cultures . In some ways this comes back to the topic of Wullie Beck and Justice Scotland.

Whatever Wullie did or didn’t do to further his cause it was a genuine one but not one that the culturally bound Justice Scotland could live with. This is a tragedy for Wullie and the Scottish Justice System.

Any more thoughts out there?
david

For years many victims of miscarriages of justice have been unable to find sufficient support to take on the mighty justice system.

A group of people in Scotland prepared to change this imbalance by way of fighting cases would no doubt be appreciated by people who have nobody to fight their corner.  

Another aspect which needs to be high on the agenda to have any chance of overturning a conviction is the cowboy lawyer scenario. It seems to be the only profession where good tradesmen go out their way to cover up for cowboy tradesmen. I find there is a total lack of decent legal representation in Scotland who are willing to put the work in. My experience is that most of my lawyers lied to me or were unwilling to challenge glaring concerns with the case. I know of cases where Scottish lawyers are even reluctant (scared) to ask the Crown Office for documents post conviction.

A volunteer group could take on some of the work needed in a case and at the same time they would be letting the lawyers know they are being watched.


In relation to Wullie and Justice Scotland. I don't think Wullie and the legal community within Justice Scotland would ever have seen eye to eye. Wullie just tells it as it is after fighting for over 30 years whilst most of the legal community is just prepared to maintain the status quo. I do believe he is tenacious, questions everything, has a true interest in justice and willing to go go that extra length to assist - therefore I believe he would be an asset to any volunteer organisation that would be looking at individual cases.






David
frank

Interesting responses to my idea of everyone coming together in Scotland and assisting in individual cases.

I agree with you David that legal representation in Scotland is not up to scratch when it comes to fighting cases. I could never recommend a good solicitor who is willing to fight for their client and where money does not come into it. A newly formed group could assist.

Iain and S lean, I note your comments and agree. In relation to possible media attention, do you not feel media attention can cause the small legal community to close rank?

I couldn't tell you the last time a case backed by the media won in Scotland.


Biggest problem I see for any group assisting in cases is access to documents.
S Lean

As Iain pointed out, it’s a difficult and complex area, with so many different strands weaving in and out. I believe it would take a mammoth effort to secure even the smallest changes, which is why such an effort would require the strengths of a number of people, working strategically together – as things stand, individuals are left going round in circles until they’re worn out or burned out.

Media involvement and access to case materials are two strands in the tightly woven fabric of the current  culture, and would need to be approached with a clear sense of direction/desired outcome and a solid research foundation. But also, I think, there is a need to try to engage wider public knowledge and understanding of why these things are as they are, and why it’s important that they change. Whilst there remains no real will for change either amongst those who hold the power, or those over whom it’s wielded, the status quo will remain, as there’s nothing to disturb it.

I know there are those who argue that public engagement isn’t that important, it’s access to the power holders and decision makers that really counts, but as David pointed out (and a body of research supports the idea), “being watched,” especially when it’s common public knowledge that such watching is taking place, can be a motivating factor in decision making behaviours. Currently, those within the CJS seem to believe they are untouchable, so long as they are maintaining and preserving the status quo – “being watched” –closely – may, over time, shake the deep-rooted certainty that things can carry on as they always have, even when that flies in the face of fairness and common sense.

I agree that there will always be clashes between different groups with different ideas of how things should be done or how to approach certain things, but the goal is the same for everyone, so I think we have to find a way to overcome that obstacle. We all know it can be done – the Hillsborough campaign has demonstrated that!

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