Monday, November 7, 2011

When Is A Vulnerable Witness Not A Vulnerable Witness ?

In my blog on September 6th I pointed out the inconsistency between two statements made by the Crown at intermediate diets in April and August.

 I wrote to the Crown Office asking for an explanation of this matter and have now received a belated response from Mr David B Harvie, Director of Serious Casework.

 I will quote from Mr Harvie's response:

 "You claim that, in opposing your motion to adjourn, Ms Currie indicated that there were 50 Crown witnesses available for the period of the trial and that half were vulnerable witnesses suffering from trauma as a result of your alleged conduct..... Ms Currie made it clear to the sheriff that she was using the word "vulnerable" in the everyday meaning of the word. The sheriff could not therefore have considered Ms Currie was referring to the specific legal definition of "vulnerable witness" found in section 271 of the Criminal Procedure of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995."

 This statement is quite simply untrue. I was standing approximately ten feet from Anne Currie when she referred to "vulnerable witnesses" and, unless she used some form of secret code, she made absolutely no attempt to clarify that she was using the word "vulnerable" in it's everyday sense. Several other persons in court on the day will also be able to vouch for this.

 I would point out that on the day when Anne Currie referred to "vulnerable witnesses suffering from trauma", I was forced to represent myself in court as my Legal Aid application had been refused at that stage.

 Mr Harvie goes on to say:

" have misunderstood what was said to the presiding sheriff at the intermediate diet on 18 August by Mr McGowan. He advised the court that there were 18 complainers. this is not equivalent to stating that there are 18 witnesses."

 Once again this statement is simply untrue. I have a very clear recollection that Stephen McGowan referred to "18 civilian witnesses", and other persons in court on the day share this recollection. The comment was made in the context of the Crown arguing that the trial should not be delayed, so the number of witnesses was relevant but the number of complainers was not.

 I am deeply concerned that the Crown Office's response to my complaint should contain two untrue statements. I have advised Mr Harvie of these errors, and when he establishes the facts it may well be that he re-considers his opinion that "the conduct of the Area Procurator Fiscal for Grampian on 13 April 2011 was entirely appropriate".


  1. Another shocker from "DISGUSTING JERSEY" where corruption is the norm!!!

  2. Is it not somewhat inappropriate for a Senior Scottish Crown Office Official to discompose himself into the factual statements made in an active case? (notwithstanding the supercilious approach of writing to the accused in an active case)

    To seemingly retrospectively alter the verbal record of what was stated in the court and as a result of this, seek to offer a definitive precognition of the Sheriff's resolution on the matter?

    Indeed, if it could be proven that the Anne Currie did describe the witnesses in question as 'vulnerable witnesses' (by simply referring to the court verbatim record), then NO explanation by her in court or by her Crown Office colleague can change the record of what was said.

    Anne Currie is apparently a scottish lawyer and would not have used the term 'vulnerable witnesses' without being aware of its statutory definition and it is frankly inconceivable for a learned crown prosecutor to be able to make a 'school-girl error' in an Internationally significant Scottish Show-Trial.

    For Mr Harvie to imply such is downright rude!

    It could be argued though that if Mr Harvie's comments have been put to the Sheriff, that this would be a member of the Crown Office seeking to influence the decision of the Sheriff in this matter to protect one of their own.

    A very grave Indictment of the Scottish Justice system.