You will not recall an earlier time when the Lord Advocate made an unreserved apology to parliament and the Scottish taxpayer for a wrongful prosecution because it has never happened before. Yesterday, the incumbent of that position since 2016, James Wolffe QC, did just that over the persecution of Rangers’ administrators, David Whitehouse and Paul Clark. Each man received £10.5m compensation, an astonishing 20% of the annual Crown Office budget. The total cost of the fiasco is likely to exceed double this amount, possibly as high as £50m.
That’s not all. Last year Whitehouse and Clark settled an action for wrongful arrest against Police Scotland for a figure that those in power have decided you and I should never find out.
The case stood on the selective use of evidence. Police and prosecutors were in possession of the legendary Charlotte Fakes files, some of which proved Whitehouse and Clark were innocent of the charges, but those documents were not made available to the defence. It is the same modus operandi used to lock up the Guilford Four, who police had evidence of their innocence, but who spent 15 years in prison.
Roddy Dunlop, QC for Whitehouse, demanded answers as to why the arrests and subsequent prosecutions took place. He is not alone, although I suspect Mr Dunlop, you and I have a fair idea. The Crown acknowledged the prosecutions, which started in 2014, were “malicious” – a huge word for the Lord Advocate to use about his prosecution services.
What’s it to you? The criminal and prosecution service acted maliciously in the matter of who controlled the assets of a football club, in Scotland, between 2014 – 2018. The two administrators, their employer Duff & Phelps and those they associated with over the sale of Rangers assets, faced grassroots opposition to their actions.
You may wonder if the might of the Scottish state bent (which it did) in tandem with this opposition (which has yet to be determined). Opposition MSPs have called for a public inquiry, the Scottish Government do not want you to know what happened, so are opposed to this request. A status that will hold at least until May’s elections.
…..and they still ask why I’m not a member of the cult?