Friday, February 25, 2011

Too Horrific To Be True ?

Many people will find the Hollie Greig case too horrific for them to contemplate, as it deals with both allegations that a disabled child was systematically by a paedophile ring and that people in positions of authority appear to have gone to great lengths to protect the alleged abusers. It would be a perfectly understandable reaction to think "These allegations are just too awful to possibly be true" and to dismiss them out of hand. Certainly, if one were to write a book or a film script along these lines it would be regarded as too far-fetched to be taken seriously.

For many, many decades allegations were made that children had been abused by priests in the Catholic Church. Allegations were made in virtually every country in the world where the Catholic Church had a presence but these were swept under the carpet and it is only in recent years that the extent of the abuse has been acknowledged. It is difficult to believe that any more than a small minority of priests were involved in the actual abuse but it appears that there was a misguided view that a scandal had to be avoided at all costs which was shared by very senior figures in the Church. The attached wikipedia article provides full details:

So we can see that it is possible for paedophile crimes to be perpetrated on a global basis over a very long period of time and for a cover-up to last for decades. I would stress that I am not trying to criticise the Catholic Church and that I have the utmost respect for people of all faiths and of none.

Although the mainstream media is somewhat selective in it's coverage of paedophile crimes, the internet provides a platform for ordinary people to highlight the extent of the paedophile problem and it is encouraging that an increasing number of people are coming forward to talk about abuse rather than suffering in silence. If we can break the taboo on this subject it will make life much more difficult both for paedophiles and those who protect them.

Two of the bravest and best campaigners in this field are Chris Wittwer, who runs a website called Children Have Rights In Society, and Bill Maloney of Pie And Mash Films.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spreading The Word In Shrewsbury

We had a very useful day demonstrating at an event organised by the local unions on Saturday in Shrewsbury, against the cuts faced by the people of Shropshire. Although we have a separate and non-political agenda, of course, there was a great deal of interest and support from many of the hundreds of those present, not only about the issue of the council`s inhumane conduct towards Hollie and Anne, but also about the misuse of public funds in attacking them. Special thanks to all of Hollie's supporters who attended and contributed to a very successful day.

It was very gratifying to learn just how many local people knew something about Hollie`s case and emphasises just how effective the internet campaign and supporting demonstrations have been. We are seeing many examples around the world where social networking sites, blogs etc are enabling seismic changes to take place. Although it is frustrating that Hollie's case goes virtually unreported in the mainstream media, the internet is a powerful tool which cannot be censored.

  I note with interest the criticism which has been heaped upon Shropshire Council boss, Kim Ryley, in the wake of the event he recently hosted at London's Savoy Hotel.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Court Expenses

Last year the Court of Session in Edinburgh granted an interdict against myself preventing me from making certain statements. The pursuer in this civil action was a Mr Graham Buchanan.

I was surprised to learn that I would be held liable for Mr Buchanan's expenses incurred in obtaining this injunction and I have now received notice to pay £6,195.60. I understand that these expenses include the cost of hiring a private detective.

Mr Buchanan is employed as a Sheriff, a position which according to publicly available information, earns an annual salary of £128,296. It seems to me fundamentally unjust that I should be held liable for these expenses while at the same time I have been refused legal aid to pay for a defence in my criminal trial.


 I am pleased to report that the blog has now reached the landmark of 10,000 hits since it's launch eleven weeks ago. I welcome all your comments and was particularly interested in the comments made by "John" regarding Graham Power and the Haut de la Garenne case. I intend to return to this topic in a future blog.


 Can I take this opportunity to remind everyone that Hollie's supporters will be participating in an event organised by Unison, this Saturday, 19th February, commencing at 11am at the Shire Hall, Shrewsbury. All are welcome to attend this peaceful demonstration.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Link Between Hollie Greig And Shirley McKie

One of the most high profile recent injustice cases in Scotland was that of Shirley McKie.

  In March 1998, Ms McKie, a Detective Constable with Strathclyde Police was arrested and charged with perjury. She had testified at a murder trial that she had never been inside the house where the murder was committed, which contradicted testimony from expert witnesses from the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO) to the effect that they had identified a fingerprint in the house as Ms McKie's.

 At Ms McKie's trial, two American fingerprint experts  testified that her fingerprint was definitely not the same one as had been found in the house and she was found not guilty by a unanimous verdict.

In June 2000 the then Justice Minister, Jim Wallace, and Lord Advocate, Lord Boyd, apologised in the Scottish parliament to Shirley McKie. A former Deputy Chief Constable of Tayside Police, James Mackay QPM, was then appointed by the Crown Office to conduct a further investigation into the issues relating to fingerprint evidence and to report back with their findings. Mackay's interim report on August 3, 2000 suggested that SCRO fingerprint personnel had given evidence in court that was:
"so significantly distorted that without further explanation, the SCRO identification likely amounts to collective manipulation and collective collusion."
Marked 'confidential', the final Mackay report was submitted to the Crown Office in October 2000. It took more than five years for details of this report to emerge, but The Scotsman newspaper published extracts from it in February 2006. The report concluded that there was criminal conduct by SCRO employees and that there was sufficient evidence to justify criminal charges.

 A civil action was raised suing the Scottish Executive and others on the basis that a malicious prosecution had been caused by dishonesty of the SCRO fingerprint experts. On the morning that this was to be heard, in February 2006, Ms McKie was offered and accepted £750,000 from the Scottish Executive in full settlement of her compensation claim, without admission of liability.

  It has been suggested that the motivation for this attempted cover-up was in order to maintain American confidence in the Scottish legal system in advance of the Lockerbie trial.

 It is clear that this sorry affair reflects badly on the SCRO whose chairman was Mr Andrew Brown.'SCRO%20%E2%80%A6.pdf

 The very same Andrew Brown was Chief Constable of Grampian Police in 2000 when that force failed to investigate Hollie Greig's allegations. "

Monday, February 14, 2011

Police Investigations

 The Press & Journal report of 27 January 2011 made the following statement in relation to the allegations made by Hollie:

"two police investigations have found no evidence to support the claims"
  Similar statements have been made by the Solicitor-General of Scotland, Frank Mulholland, when responding to MP's and MSP's.
  It is worth reminding ourselves of the scope of the "investigations" carried out by Grampian Police.
  On 18 May 2000, Hollie made her initial allegation that she had been abused by one member of her family, referred to as Relative C in the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland (PCCS) Report. The PCCS Report states: "Relative C was traced, detained and interviewed on 12 June 2000... and the circumstances were reported to the Procurator Fiscal." This was the one and only interview with "Relative C" and there appears to have been no further investigation undertaken. One may have thought that the police may have searched the property of "Relative C" and removed items for forensic examination but this did not happen.
 On 25 August 2000, Hollie made further allegations against a number of individuals. As a result of this only one further interview with a suspect took place and that was seventeen months later. To quote from the PCCS Report: "Relative A was interviewed on 9 January 2002, after which he was released without charge due to the absence of evidence. .... Detective Sergeant F stated that it was possible that he expressed civil regret that Relative A had been inconvenienced by the process."
 None of the other named persons were as much as interviewed. This is how Grampian Police explain this failure: "Superintendent J stated that he had contemporary checks carried on police system's regarding the individuals named by X and confirmed that at the time of Detective Sergeant F's check there was nothing present on the systems to support any of the complainer's suspicions." This extraordinary statement suggests that if you do not have a police record then it is the policy of Grampian Police not to investigate any allegation against you !
 At the time the wider allegations were made Grampian Police were more interested in arranging for the sectioning of Anne Greig rather than investigating allegations of sexual abuse, as is evidenced by this statement from the PCCS Report: "Detective Constable E stated that she was later advised by a Social Worker and the complainer's GP that the complainer had failed to keep any appointments and, as a result, consideration was being given to visiting the complainer at home with the intention of detaining her under the Mental Health Act. " So it is the view of Grampian Police that missing an appointment with a GP or Social Worker is  grounds for sectioning someone !
 On 8 September 2009 I was present and able to listen when Hollie was re-interviewed in Shrewsbury by DS Lisa Evans of Grampian Police.Hollie spoke clearly and consistently, naming both the alleged attackers and other alleged victims, and giving details of locations. By this time Grampian Police were fully aware of expert medical witness statements, which overwhelmingly supported Hollie's allegations.
 To the best of my knowledge, Grampian Police did not interview any of the alleged attackers or any of the other alleged victims or any of the medical experts.  
 It would appear that Grampian Police investigate some crimes more zealously than others. Attached is the story of how they spent £170,000 of public money by repeatedly arresting a male stripper who dresses as a policeman as part of his act.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Holliegate - What Happened To The Tapes ?

I would like to publicly thank those who travelled to Edinburgh to make representations to the delegates at the ironically named Children First event. I would also wish to express my appreciation to those of you who came to Liverpool on the same day to support Hollie`s case at the TUC evening, where I was unexpectedly allowed to give a short address to a packed audience that included actor Ricky Tomlinson and award-winning film director Ken Loach.

The courage and commitment of our dedicated and loyal supporters are greatly appreciated by Hollie, Anne and myself.

I would like to remind everyone that our next planned event takes place at the Shirehall, Shrewsbury at 11.00 hours on Saturday 19th February, followed by a march into the centre of the town. It must be emphasised that we are joining an event arranged by Unison, who have kindly allowed us to participate. Unison are protesting about public sector cuts in Shropshire and, while we have no particular view on this matter, it seems strange that, in the current economic climate, Shropshire Council are spending so much money and effort in what can only be described as a campaign of harassment against Anne and Hollie.

After my arrest for Breach of the Peace on February 12th 2010, a tape recorded interview was conducted by 2 Grampian Police officers: DS Drummond and DC Crowder. During the interview I made reference to a very serious crime which I believe had been committed and identified an individual whom I had strong reason to believe was responsible.

To the best of my knowledge, the police and Procurator Fiscal, have made no attempt whatsoever to investigate this allegation and have not questioned the person I named. Due to the bail conditions which were imposed on me recently, I am unable to comment further on this matter.

 When I eventually received written transcripts of the interview eight months later, I was shocked to discover that there was no reference whatsoever to the allegations I mentioned above. This is a very significant omission both in terms of my own defence and, much more seriously, in terms of an allegation of a very serious crime appearing to vanish without trace.  

 In late 2010 I asked both Stephen McGowan, Procurator Fiscal for Aberdeen at the time of my arrest, and his successor, Andrew Richardson,  for an explanation of why this allegation did not appear on the transcript. I have yet to receive any response.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Legal Aid Refused

 I was disappointed, but not particularly surprised, to receive a letter from the Scottish Legal Aid Board, notifying me that I would not be granted legal aid for my case.

  The reason given was "due to the level of declared capital, the Board is not satisfied that the applicant is unable to meet the expenses of the case without undue hardship to him or his dependents".

  I cannot understand the logic of this decision as I was awarded legal aid in 2010 when my assets were greater. Several people have suggested to me that the reason the Crown dropped the original charges and pressed "de novo" charges was in order to engineer a situation whereby they could evade the unwelcome prospect of prominent citizens being cross-examined by the redoubtable Donald Findlay QC.

 My solicitor has applied for a review of this decision.

 I would like to thank the many, many people who are continuing to support Hollie, Anne and myself. The facts of this ongoing case speak for themselves, and it is important to stress that we should at all times stick to the facts and not be tempted to stray into the realms of speculation and conjecture. Our supporters come from all walks of life and will have widely differing views on many subjects so it is essential that we remain focused on achieving justice for Hollie and do not get distracted by other issues.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Legal Matters

The hearing of 26th January 2011 in Stonehaven threw into focus a wide variety of questions regarding the implementation of Scottish Law in relation to European Human Rights, English Law and whether the Crown was indeed acting for the public in general, as it should, in bringing a Breach of the Peace charge or is it acting in the interests of a small minority of the public, who already have legal remedies in their own hands.

Then there is the matter of me being prevented again from exercising my right to campaign freely as a candidate in the forthcoming Scottish Elections on 5th May, having been barred from the constituency for which I seek to stand for the second year in succession, based on the judgement of the same Sheriff, Patrick Davies.

Sheriff Davies presided despite our formal request that justice would be better and more transparently served by appointing a Sheriff from beyond the small circle that officiate in the Aberdeen area.

Given the extreme nature of some of the comments made by the Crown,the like of which my solicitor Mr Gerry Sweeney had never before heard in his long career, I asked for a transcript of the proceedings. I was disturbed to learn that no such transcript exists particularly as a member of the public had told me that he had been asked to stop taking notes by a court official.

Although I do not pretend to be a legal expert, it appears to me to be fundamentally inequitable that a decision whether or not an accused person faces trial by jury is made by the Crown alone. I cannot understand the logic of the Crown downgrading the status of my case from "Solemn" to "Summary" while simultaneously demanding punitive bail conditions.

I intend appealing against my bail conditions as soon as possible.

Additionally, by dropping the original case and beginning again with a reduced summary charge, there exists the necessity of seeking legal aid to reconstitute my excellent team including  Mr Sweeney, junior counsel Mr John McLaughlin and senior counsel Mr Donald Findlay QC. Indeed it may not be unreasonable to suppose the Crown`s tactics may have been motivated in part by the entirely justifiable fear of facing Mr Findlay in court.

As things stand, I intend to comply with my bail conditions, unfair though I believe them to be and await the result of my appeal.

Again, I would like to take the opportunity of thanking everyone in Scotland and beyond for their wonderful support yet again, but without forgetting that the issue is really all about Hollie Greig and the other vulnerable members of society.