To me, there are two other issues here but first the story:
There are calls for an independent investigation into why Scotland’s Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service under the term of now former Lord Advocate, now Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC, refused to prosecute a total of fourteen solicitors for what are alleged to be frauds collectively totalling millions of pounds of publicly funded legal aid after an investigation by Scots law journalist Peter Cherbi revealed prosecutors had claimed in each case there was “a lack of admissible evidence” for prosecutions to go ahead. The Crown Office refusal to prosecute any of the accused legal aid crooks has been backed by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, who is also a lawyer. In a remarkable show of arrogance, the Justice Secretary told a worried msp if he was concerned about it, he should fill in a consumer feedback form on the Crown Office’s website.
Earlier revelations in the scandal, featured on the popular Scots law blog Diary of Injustice revealed one of the solicitors accused of legal aid fraud was married to a member of staff at the Crown Office, thought to be a Procurator Fiscal. The solicitor linked to the PF also escaped a criminal prosecution over “a lack of admissible evidence” and alarmingly, it was revealed the Crown Office kept secret the details of the relationship between one of the accused & one of their own from the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
The investigation is reported by Diary of Injustice as follows :
Justice Secretary’s discredited defence for Crown Office in 14 legal aid fraud scandals as links between accused lawyers & Scots crime agencies emerge A lack of admissible evidence, fourteen times? Justice Secretary MacAskill defends refusal to prosecute legal aid fraudsters. WHEN SCOTLAND’S JUSTICE SECRETARY has to rely on the ‘grubby’ defence of “a lack of admissible evidence” to support the actions of his own prosecutors who refused to prosecute AN ENTIRE CLASS OF CRIME spanning SIX YEARS involving legal colleagues accused of systematic fraud running into millions of pounds of public funds, you just know there’s something rotten in the justice system.
And so, amid revelations earlier this week where a solicitor suspected of legal aid fraud by the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) who was reported to the Crown Office turned out to be married to a Procurator Fiscal, and was let off the hook with a decision not to prosecute due to “a lack of admissible evidence”, KENNY MACASKILL, Scotland’s Justice Secretary has now told a Holyrood msp he backs the Crown Office refusal to prosecute any of FOURTEEN LAWYERS who swindled MILLIONS OF POUNDS in taxpayer funded legal aid because there wasn’t enough evidence in each of the cases, and that just as the Crown Office had said, it was not in the public interest lawyers be hauled before the courts on criminal charges.
The fourteen cases of solicitors suspected of legal aid fraud were reported to the £100-Million-a-year-to-run Crown Office by SLAB since 2005 under the term of former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC yet not one single lawyer was prosecuted. An investigation by Diary of Injustice backed up by Freedom of Information enquiries revealed the full details of the scandal which can be read here : FOURTEEN lawyers accused of multi-million pound legal aid fraud escape justice as Scotland’s Crown Office fail to prosecute all cases in 5 years
1. What the hell was that highly decorated parachutee doing in that position of power and influence in the first place?
2. As Ian Parker-Joseph points out, “Bear in mind that England pays for most of the Scots’ legal aid bills …” We’re not wishing to upset the Scots or anything.