Poll Tax

DEEP-ROOTED CORRUPTION IN THE SCOTTISH LEGAL SYSTEM


What started out as an enquiry to ascertain whether the poll tax was an antinomy or simply a blunt, illegally enacted tax, resulted in a wearisome journey spanning well over a decade, leading to an unwelcome discovery of the infinitely worse, deep-rooted corruption in the Scottish legal structures.

This tortuous journey began when I purchased a copy of both the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc (Scotland) Act 1987 (hereinafter referred to as the poll tax) and the Treaty of Union 1707.  I soon discovered that the poll tax, which was imposed on the people of Scotland a year ahead of the rest of the UK, was irrefutably unconstitutional, illegal and unenforceable in Scotland.

On 18 December 1989, I appeared before the poll tax officer Ian M Rogers in his council office for my appeal against my name being entered in his register for liability to pay the illegal tax.  Ian Rogers responded: "I feel bound by the existing decision of the sheriff in the Randolph Murray case."  He was referring to the case in which he himself was the respondent.  It was decided upon by Sheriff Peter McNeill on 12 June 1989 after representations from advocate Robert Reed, representing Ian Rogers, were preferred by Sheriff McNeill to the representations of Randolph Murray. Randolph Murray was a solicitor with Marshall Henderson & Whyte, Stafford Street, Edinburgh, and, unbeknown to me at the time, was appealing to the Court of Session against Sheriff McNeill's decision.  It was not to be heard until Friday, 18 May 1990.   Ian Rogers, therefore, fraudulently used the Randolph Murray case as a supportive argument while knowing it was sub judice (still under judicial review).  Incidentally, advocate Robert Reed would become Scotland’s youngest ever judge for his sins.

I wish I had known at the time that the three amigos, poll tax officer Ian Rogers, advocate Robert Reed and Sheriff McNeill were like a clamlike triumvirate, put in place to defeat poll tax dissidents at any cost.

Be that as it may, my only option left was to appeal to the Sheriff Court against Ian Rogers’ decision.

Rogers did not defend his own decision before Sheriff Andrew Montgomery Bell on 28 May 1990, but had his advocate mouthpiece, Robert Reed defend it for him.  Reed fumbled at length quoting irrelevant, hairbrained cases of the past as supportive arguments or matters of persuasion.  It cannot be overly stressed here that the term "precedents" is often used wrongly.  There are no precendents in civil actions.  Every case is, or should be, considered on its own merits.  Past cases can only be used as "supportive arguments" or "matters of persuasion"; not "precedents".

Irrespective, given the opportunity, Robert Reed would have gossiped himself to death promoting absurd arguments from past cases.  I interjected at one stage with: “What on earth has fishing rights in the North Sea got to do with the poll tax?”   Sheriff Bell frowned upon that particular strain of court etiquette, but my point was made nevertheless.

Sheriff Bell agreed with me, however, on my opposition to Robert Reed’s flimsy interpretation of the public right/private right issue in Article XVIII of the Treaty of Union.   Reed argued, unconvincingly, that the "evident utility" safeguard in that article did not apply in my case because the poll tax legislation involved "public right" facets of the law rather than "private right".  Article XVIII states that "no alteration be made in laws which concern 'private right' except for evident utility of the subjects within Scotland".  My argument was that the poll tax was for evident “inutility” of the subjects within Scotland.

Sheriff Bell would come to regret saying: "Although matters of taxation concern “public right”, it cannot be disputed that the poll tax is also very much a matter of 'private right' because it affects everyone individually.”

With the wind taken out his sails, an embarrassed Robert Reed deceitfully used the case of Randolph Murray -v- Ian Rogers as a supportive argument, knowing that Randolph Murray's appeal had been heard ten days earlier (18 May 1990) in the Court of Session, but the decision was withheld ad avizandum (withheld to a later date) and was therefore sub judice.  This was the same reprehensible ruse used by Ian Rogers six months earlier in his council office.

At the conclusion, Sheriff Bell asked if the question of expenses was worth considering, implying they should be waived.   Reed told the sheriff that for the first time the poll tax officer was instructed by the council to pursue expenses in the Sheriff Court as it had changed its original policy.  Being the only appellant thus far against whom expenses were sought was discriminatory, especially considering they knew I was unemployed.

I was sent a copy of Sheriff Bell’s Opinion on 13 June 1990, dismissing my appeal.  The crux of my appeal, the Treaty of Union, was ignored.

On 27 June 1990, I appeared before Sheriff Bell again, this time in the Consistorial Court, a part of the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly, to discuss the question of expenses.  In the preamble to the proceedings I brought up his change of heart over the public right/private right issue regarding the Treaty of Union.   He responded by completely losing the plot.  I noticed a head of steam building up in his cranium.  His face contorted in slow motion like a boy in the classroom chewing a penny dainty, inciting him to let off an ineloquent tongue of flame.  Totally losing control, he threw a tantrum, awarded expenses in favour of the poll tax officer, then rushed from the courtroom in a rage, falling short to howl at the moon.   It was a stellar performance.  It was also a calming influence, serving as a reminder how not to conduct oneself in public.

Although he had not given me the opportunity to finish explaining why expenses should not be awarded against me, I somehow felt self-satisfied that he had all but acknowledged I knew someone had got to him and compelled him to obedience, leaving him no escape but to execute a breathtaking U-turn.  This U-turn, in turn, rallied the extended legal profession.  They would close ranks and join hands in an obscene embrace to cover every workmate’s subsequent acts of iniquity.

The expenses awarded to the poll tax officer Ian Rogers was £924.63, most of which was for expenses claimed by his advocate mouthpiece Robert Reed for his feeble, amateurish attempt at trying to justify a crime against the Scottish people at my hearing of appeal.

I appealed against Sheriff Bell’s decision and was informed on 20 July 1990 that the Sheriff Principal Gordon Nicholson QC had sent my Note of Appeal to the Court of Session that day.  That ought to have put a hold on any and every further court business until my appeal was heard.  This is crucial; especially since my appeal was never heard in the Court of Session because the poll tax legislation was repealed on 5 April 1993.  All proceedings should have come to a halt at that time because an appeal cannot be heard under legislation that no longer exists.

I was advised over the phone by Kenny MacAskill, solicitor and future Justice Secretary, that Randolph Murray was the only solicitor representing poll tax dissenters so I arranged an appointment with Mr Murray for 4.00pm on 24 July 1990, with a view to securing legal aid. Mr Murray told me he would apply for a sist of process (postponement) on the grounds he was applying for legal aid on my behalf.

Randolph Murray had represented several members of CAP-T, Citizens Against the Poll Tax; a middle-class group opposing the poll tax.  As coincidence would have it, Randolph Murray received his (adverse) decision that selfsame day from the Court of Session in respect of the four appellants he represented. He gave me a copy of the decision of the Lord President Lord Hope, and Lord Grieve and Lord Kirkwood.

It soon became very apparent to me that the terms of the CAP-T appeal were laid down almost entirely by him alone.  When he read the perhaps strongly worded but sincere terms of my appeal, he prompted me to proceed more or less along the same lines as his appeal, even though he had just lost his.  He did not seem to have the appetite to invite the court to simply accept the sum and substance of the Treaty of Union and declare the poll tax legislation illegal in Scotland.

Realising his discomfort, I suggested he merely applies for legal aid on my behalf and once that hurdle was overcome I would take over and present my own case in my own terms and he need not concern himself further.   Coming to terms with the fact he could not persuade me to moderate the terms of my appeal, he said, rather meekly: "I'm fifth division stuff compared with these guys,” referring to the beaks in the Court of Session."  I was utterly flabbergasted that he had the shamelessness to represent other people, harbouring an attitude like that.  I said nothing because he was my only hope of securing legal aid.

Exactly one week later, Mr Murray phoned me at 4.30pm from, he said, the Supreme Courts in Parliament Square.  He anxiously told me that, not only would he not be submitting an application for a sist of process, but he had just been advised to have nothing more to do with my case, and that if he did not represent me, all expenses incurred by his other four clients from CAP-T would be waived.  I told him I understood his predicament and did not blame him for his decision.

It is worth remembering at this point that the expenses incurred by Randolph Murray’s CAP-T clients were for appeals already lost in the Court of Session: quite a considerable sum of money compared to the comparatively paltry amount being extorted from me at that time in the Sheriff Court.  It confirmed that the money issue was just a front.  The primary reason for pursuing the sham debt was to teach a member of the public a lesson for having the temerity to expose the illegality in Scotland of the poll tax.  I was refused access to legal representation in the hope I would capitulate.  They got that one wrong.

I received four days notice about the Motion and Account of Expenses, but I was not advised in which of the many Sheriff Courts the proceedings were to take place.  At that time there were annexes of the Sheriff Court in multifarious buildings in Edinburgh.  This was before they were all housed together in the new building in Chambers Street, which opened in September 1994.  The non licit proceedings was railroaded through the court by, and not surprisingly, Sheriff Peter McNeil, lone of the three amigos, .

Even though my appeal was lying in the Court of Session, I was still threatened with bankruptcy for refusing to pay Ian Rogers’ expenses.  I refused because, apart from them putting the cart before the horse, sidestepping the hearing of my impending appeal, I regarded Rogers' expenses as legalised theft.  I appeared in court before, you would never guess, Sheriff McNeill, on 21 December 1992 to “show cause why sequestration should not be awarded”.  I was denied my legal right to show cause why it should not be awarded and Sheriff McNeill railroaded the bankruptcy through on a fast track regardless.

Apart from overlooking the fact I had that appeal pending in the Court of Session, Sheriff McNeill also overlooked the crucial proviso that an “Oath by Creditor” must be sworn by the creditor or a person authorised to act on his behalf before a person entitled to administer the oath, e.g. in the UK a Notary Public (usually a Solicitor) or a Justice of the Peace.   The Oath by Creditor was NOT signed by anyone, rendering it null and void. Bankruptcy was awarded and despite my protestations, three times accusing the court of corruption, I had to leave without securing a welcome charge of contempt.  Incidentally, if the hearing had taken place two months later, even in Sheriff McNeill’s kangaroo court I could not have been deemed bankrupt as the minimum amount that someone could be made bankrupt was raised from £750 to £1,500.

Unbeknown to me at the time, Sheriff McNeill had already secretly deemed me bankrupt in my absence and without intimation three-and-a-half weeks earlier, 27 November 1992.  This is the official designated date of bankruptcy, so my appearance in court was but a “show hearing” to rubber-stamp the legal chicanery.

Graham Ritchie, chartered accountant and partner in the Ernst & Young Gang, was appointed interim trustee and subsequently permanent trustee of my estate, as they call it.  Since I did not recognise the legality of all proceedings hitherto, I refused to comply with the requests of Graham Ritchie to supply him with a list of assets and liabilities.

On 5 April 1993, Ian Rogers’ job as poll tax officer was made redundant. The poll tax was officially invalidated.  This did not deter Graham Ritchie from persistently pursuing a pretended debt for a nonexistent creditor.  He continued to circumnavigate a lucrative gravy-train on an endless circuit.

Eight days later, and less than four months after I was illegally declared bankrupt, Graham Ritchie, ignoring the fact that the creditor ceased to exist, threatened to take action in the Court of Session for division and sale of my family home to pay his alleged expenses.

On the 17 February 1995, I was formally charged in Drylaw Police Station under Section 64(2) of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985 of failing without reasonable excuse to deliver to the interim trustee a list of assets and liabilities, "on the instructions", they told me, "of the then Lord Advocate, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry". I was to discover that Lord Rodger instructed no such thing.

On 12 April 1995, Sheriff Isobel Anne Poole remitted the civil Cause to the Court of Session on a motion solicited by advocate E W Robertson on behalf of Graham Ritchie, the pursuer.  Since I had called into question the integrity of some sheriffs, it was deemed by Sheriff Poole that sheriffs were therefore incompetent to preside over it.  Sheriff Poole was the first and only person to evoke a modicum of humour.  When I suggested I could not afford the expense of coming to the Sheriff Court, far less the Court of Session, she retorted: “It won’t cost you any more; it’s just round the corner.” Tittering in appreciation of her humour was not the response anticipated.  But by that time I was long past expecting things to shape up favourably.

An offer was made by my wife’s mother on 9 May 1995 to pay the £924.63 pretended debt.  This was not communicated to me until years later and only then because there had been no response to the offer until years later, by which time Graham Ritchie had culpably escalated his so-called expenses through the ceiling.

On 21 August 1995, I appeared in the Sheriff Court at 10.00am for the intermediate diet for the alleged "criminal offence" of failing without reasonable excuse to deliver to the interim trustee, Graham Ritchie, a list of assets and liabilities.  Sheriff Andrew Bell presided over the proceedings.  I asked for an adjournment on the grounds that if I won my case in the civil court, the charges in the criminal case would fall, advising that Sheriff Poole had already remitted the civil "equivalent" to the Court of Session.  I explained that she deduced the Sheriff Court was incompetent to deal with it since I had called into question the integrity of some sheriffs.

Smirking self-assuredly at the lawerlings in the well of the court below him, Sheriff Bell said with an apparent geniality, "I hope I am not one of the sheriffs whose integrity is being called into question?”.  Being by that time considerably distrustful of court processes, and not intimidated by inferior fidelity, I asserted forcefully: "Yes, you ARE one of them."  Fingering among the missives to locate his name, he sat in silent horror, feeling unable to be dismissive.  On this occasion he did not throw a tantrum, but said only that he could not deal with my request for an adjournment and had to recuse himself on the basis of potential or actual bias, or on the appearance of such partiality.  He arranged for me to appear before one of the other sheriffs in another courtroom that same day to make my request.  I appeared before Sheriff Stoddart who adjourned the intermediate and trial diets to later dates.

On 5 October 1995, Sheriff Peter McNeill railroaded through the court in my absence and without intimation the deferment of the bankruptcy discharge date for a period of two years from and after 27 November 1995.  Apart from the bankruptcy being unlawful in the first place, my cause had moved on to the Court of Session.   The all-important factor now was, according to Lord Trayner’s legal maxims: Actor debet sequi forum rei :- “A pursuer must follow the forum or court of the defender; that is, a pursuer raising an action against his debtor or obligant, must do so before the forum or court to the jurisdiction of which the defender is subject at the time.  The rationale of this is obvious; for if the defender be outwith the jurisdiction of the Court before which he is cited, he is not bound, and cannot be compelled to answer before that Court; and any decree of that Court will be valueless, there being no way of enforcing it.”

What should have been another coup de gráce was scratchy-head-and-bum time. When convoluted legalese cannot be found to put forward even a rambling argument, the objectionable thesis is simply ignored.  In time-honoured fashion that is exactly what happened.

Before my trial began in the criminal court on 15 November 1995, a petition was raised to excuse members of the legal profession from giving evidence.   The characters I had cited, included the then Lord Advocate, Lord Alan Rodger of Earlsferry – who had made no instructions to charge me, as was previously claimed; Sheriff Andrew Bell and Sheriff Peter McNeill; the ex-poll tax officer Ian Rogers; the would-be permanent trustee Graham Ritchie, solicitors Fergus Christie and Robbie Burnett, partners with Drummond Miller WS who uttered a false "Oath by Creditor" almost two years after the bankruptcy hearing; and Robert Ferguson Lees, the Regional Procurator Fiscal. I wrote to them all, adding: “Let me remind you that failure to appear may result in the court granting a warrant for you apprehension.” Regardless, Sheriff Richard John Dinwoodie Scott, who presided over the petition, prior to the trial proper, excused them all but Graham Ritchie from giving evidence.

When the trial got underway, Sheriff Scott said I could not cross-examine Graham Ritchie about the sequestration.  He would have been as well saying that I can say anything as long as I don’t speak.  I was forced to enter the contest with both hands tied behind my back in a blatant “trial-by-ambush”.   To aggravate the irregularities, Graham Ritchie supplied an inventory of productions and inadvertently included at Page 44 the "unsigned" Oath by Creditor.  Again I was cut short by Sheriff Scott when I tried to bring it to his attention.  After the trial-by-ambush I was found guilty and fined £100.  I appealed to the High Court of Justiciary.

In the meantime, regardless of my two appeals, civil and criminal, to the Supreme Courts, Graham Ritchie, the sham trustee, sent me a letter stating: "My account of intromission have been audited by the Accountant in Bankruptcy who has at the same time issued his determination fixing the amounts of outlays and remuneration payable to me for my work as permanent trustee.”   The A-in-B was the mob’s latest recruit.  The letter went on: “I enclose a copy of a circular which I have sent to ‘all known creditors’ [emphasis mine – no known creditors remained] and should point out that you have a similar right of appeal.  Please note that payment of my remuneration will be made from the estate and this is not a request for payment.”  How magnanimous of the man.   Dick Turpin at least wore a mask on his marauding ventures.  Over the years, his accumulated accounts would amount to well over £50,000 for supposedly sending ONE circular to NO known creditors.  The poll tax officer had no interest in the debt after the first six months of Graham Ritchie’s appointment as interim trustee because Ritchie’s expenses take priority, so overrode and nullified Ian Rogers claim within that time.  It cannot be overemphasised that the job of poll tax officer was redundant on 5 April 1993 so Ian Rogers left the employment of Lothian Regional Council, leaving behind also his status as creditor; therefore no creditor remained in existence.  Ian Rogers and Ian Rogers alone was defined as the creditor on all pertinent legal documents, not the council or anyone else.

I exercised my right to appeal against the Accountant in Bankruptcy auditing Graham Ritchie’s expenses on that and numerous subsequent occasions but was denied that basic right by the courts.  That is, until the 14th account had been audited by the A-in-B, which is addressed hereinafter.

My appeal against Sheriff Scott’s finding in the criminal case was heard in the High Court of Justiciary on 6 December 1996 before the Lord Justice-Clerk Ross and Lord Morison and Lord Cowie just over a year after the trial.  Since they all had copies of my written submissions, I was not required to reiterate in public all the foregoing skulduggery.  After brief, hushed deliberations between the three judges, Lord Justice-Clerk Ross told me that Sheriff Scott was wrong at my trial for not allowing me to challenge the validity of the sequestration, therefore "the conviction is quashed and the appeal upheld".

This should have had a decisive knock-on effect for the civil case because it was now officially accepted that I did indeed have a reasonable excuse for not delivering to the trustee a list of assets and liabilities.   However, only in a parallel world where law and justice is the order of the day would this logic prevail, but this was the real world, the Scottish legal world where law and justice are constantly out to lunch.

The idiocy proceeded regardless.  The illicit process for the proposed division and sale of my family home to pay for Graham Ritchie’s extortionate expenses for supposedly sending circulars to NO known creditors was well under way.  A Procedure Roll in respect of a sneakily added plea-in-law by E W Robertson for Graham Ritchie was added after the Record was officially closed.  The plea-in-law claimed that my defence should not be remitted to probation (i.e., heard in court) as it was "irrelevant et separatim lacking in specification".   This is the long–established dodge to prevent uncomfortable and embarrassing truths being heard in court, tarnishing the court’s records.  There were over 14,000 words in my Condescendence alone so which part, I had to ask, lacked specification?  It was a sick joke.  Lord Alan Johnston allowed the additional, sneaky plea-in-law to be included in the Closed Record in my absence and without intimation and without consent of both defenders.  My wife was designated the Second Defender by the rogues even though she had no understanding of the scheme of things.

The advocate, E W Robertson, the character who moved the court to deem my defence irrelevant, should have been asked why the selfsame plea-in-law was not put to the Sheriff Court”   This would have saved the courts and everyone involved a whole lot of valuable time and money.  But then the legal profession is the only profession that rewards its members for not only failure but for incompetence and dishonesty.

On the 7 May 1997, Temporary Lord Ordinary T Gordon Coutts QC, presiding over the issue about my defence lacking in specification, more or less said there was too much specification.  He said I had raised some very valid points, but, he told me, it did not help my case by calling into account the integrity of some sheriffs, adding that it would help my case if I mellowed the terms of my submissions.  Judging by past experience of law practitioners’ lack of candour, I could not allow another one to interfere with my defence so I refused to alter one word of my submissions.

After making avizandum (i.e., time to get heads together to try to justify the unjustifiable) Coutts sustained the pursuer's fifth sneakily added plea-in-law and refused to remit to probation my entire defence.  By doing so he was deeming my entire defence irrelevant even though he said I raised some very valid points.   The fact that my case in the criminal court, which was almost identical, had already been deemed more than relevant by the Lord Justice-Clerk Ross and Lord Morison and Lord Cowie, was of no consequence to this oppressive man

Mr Coutts confused matters when he suggested in his Opinion that I was asking him to rule on whether or not the poll tax was valid in Scotland.  I did no such thing.  As I had insisted from Day-1, I did not need a ruling, an opinion, or a seal of approval from Mr Coutts or, for that matter, the Lord President, the Lord Chancellor, the Prime Minister, or from any parliamentary dogma, whether or not it was valid in Scotland.  I was imposing a duty on them to accept it was irrefutably invalid in Scotland and no court or Act of Parliament was competent to rule otherwise.  I had already explained this to Mr Coutts at the snidely arranged Procedure Roll.

I appeared in Court 7 in the Supreme Courts on 24 July 1997 before Lord Alan Johnston for the hearing of my motion for a late review of Mr Coutts' interlocutor and to reclaim the prints, as they call it in legal bumf.  Again it was held in furtive chambers away from the public and media eye.  Lord Johnston was the selfsame character who previously allowed the Closed Record to be received late, "without consent" of either the first or second defender.  He had by now a vested interest in endorsing his earlier malfeasance.

From the well of the court that day, I accused agents for the pursuer of being blatant liars over the Procedure Roll fiasco, in that they claimed my wife, the second defender had agreed to it.  She was not even asked.  It would be akin to the hen agreeing with the fox to take charge of the chicken run.  I also accused them of being gravy-train-riders for prolonging the issue by moving it to the highest courts only to then have it declared irrelevant when they could have used that ploy in the Sheriff Court.  The legal vagabonds were too embarrassed to dispute one word of it and looked up silently to Lord Johnston for some fraternal assistance.  It did not help my cause, however, when I mentioned that Temporary Lord Ordinary Coutts was also corrupt.  Lord Johnston reminded me in stern tones that he was a High Court judge, which I assumed was a warning.  If it was, I ignored it and replied: “Yeh, but like I was saying, Temporary Lord Ordinary Coutts is corrupt.”

In almost Bellesque fashion, the blood visibly rushed up Johnston’s face.  He outpoured a brute assertion, refusing my motion to reclaim the prints, then made for the door just behind him to his left.  Before he escaped, I opined, ”Further corruption.”  He did not react spontaneously so I repeated the charge louder.  He made as if to turn, probably thought better of it because he would have to bring a charge of "contempt of court" against me, giving me another day to illustrate the accuracy of the accusation and add him to my long list of legal misfits.  He checked his stride then scurried through the doorway.  But like Sheriff McNeill before him (21 December 1992), he did not deny the accusation.  This was not surprising, given that he had that vested interest in covering up his earlier malfeasance.

The so-called "Diet of 'Proof'" began in Court 14 of the Court of Session on 26 November 1998, presided over by the latest addition to the crime-protection-syndicate.   Lord Philip, with the main player, myself, demoted to the public gallery; persona non grata.  My defence or exposé was too alarming for the pantomime.   As a consequence, I was denied my locus standi (i.e. my right to be heard or participate in my case), in direct contravention of, inter alia, Article 6 of the Council of Europe’s Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.  It was enshrined in UK law by the Human Rights Act 1998, which states: “In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time …”   More importantly, the Scottish Parliament enshrined these Articles into Scottish law in the first month of its administration.  Unfortunately, these articles were on furlough from Lord Philip’s idiosyncratic legal map.

At the opening of the proceedings he asked Gail Joughin QC, the law agent for my wife/second defender, why it had taken so long to reach the "Proof" stage of the case.  She told him that it was due to the attitude of the First Defender over many years.  I immediately rose from my seat in the public gallery and vigorously pronounced: "The First Defender's attitude was exemplary."  Lord Philip said that if there are any more outbursts from the public gallery, the person responsible would be removed from the court.

For two days they found it difficult to navigate around the periphery of secondary issues and non-issues.  For example, Maureen Leslie, substitute witness for Graham Ritchie, testified that a debt of £750 arose from non-payment of the poll tax.  This was a suggestio falsi.  Her business here was obviously to add to the legal jugglery.  That mythical claim went unopposed.  So too did E W Robertson’s referral to my £100 fine without taking it to its conclusion; that my appeal against the conviction was quashed and my appeal upheld.  The disjointed proceedings were adjourned to give the crime-protection-syndicate time to work out how to structure the coup.  Everyone it seemed wanted to distance him/herself from the travesty.  In his “munificence”, however, Lord Philip did advise that the bankruptcy fiasco be called to a halt.

In the meantime, on 30 September 1999, outwith my ken at the time, the so-called trustee and pursuer, Graham Ritchie was sacked by the Ernst & Young Gang.

The moment I entered Court 4 in the Court of Session on Friday, 14 January 2000 in the reconvened cause, the would-be “defence” advocate, Gail Joughin, supposedly representing my wife, gave Lord Philip a barely discernible nod.  I realised immediately that this was prearranged to identify me.  Lord Philip discreetly summoned the mace-bearer to the bench and quietly instructed him to remove me from the court.  I had to sit outside the courtroom while the proceedings were being wangled.  Before long, two police officers appeared to warn me of the consequences of returning to the courtroom, even though I had no intention of doing so.   The police have no part to play in civil proceedings/pantomimes, yet here they were to ensure a civil court hearing would press ahead without the main party witnessing the shenanigans.  They should have been concentrating on the criminals inside the court.

This ploy gave Lord Philip carte blanche to navigate the proceedings in any way he chose without the presence in the empty public gallery of one member of the public with an objective mind to make a fair appraisal of the sham.  By ordering my removal, he also ignored the fact that a bankrupt, though not retrocessed, maintains a radical right and interest in his own estate.  And that is not taking into account the fact that the sequestration was non licit in the first place, or that the second most senior judge in Scotland Lord Ross had said in my appeal before him that Sheriff Scott was wrong at my trial for not allowing me to challenge the validity of the sequestration, before upholding my appeal.

My expulsion from the proceedings also enabled Lord Philip to ignore the entire terms of my defence and refer to me in his written judgement in any pseudo terms he chose to suit his purpose.   Not only was the dice loaded against me, I was not even allowed a throw of that loaded dice.

The noble lord predetermined a path of least resistance against the pursuer’s case.  As expected, his modus operandi was a litany of evasion and stonewalling.  I was prevented from lending my wife some moral support while she gave evidence.  I also misssed out on all the legal posturing as she was led by the nose by both advocates, nurtured along by the judge.

The advocates had a greater problem avoiding the essence of the case for hours on end than they would had they actually addressed it, because the facts, a copy with which Lord Philip was provided, were so straightforward it would be extremely difficult to deny I had an infallible case.  What took place was not a legitimate “Proof” hearing, but a lynching.  Lord Philip adjourned the panto’ until 11 February 2000.

On that date, according to Lord Philip’s subsequent Opinion, E W Robertson, in summing up the case for the pursuer, had the colossal gall to suggest that "all aspects of the case should be considered before a final decision is made”.  That was rich indeed considering Robertson went to great lengths to prevent ANY part of my case being considered.   Now he was saying that all aspects of the case should be considered?  If this character descended any lower he would have to be watered. Robertson painstakingly avoided the very core of the case, fumbling aimlessly around circumstances that existed only in the backwaters of his own imagination.  The endless stream of lies, fudges and slanders, pouring out both advocates’ crude, odious, repulsive language, flowed with Lord Philip’s knowledge, consent, complicity and applause - totally ignoring all aspects of equity, justice, law, the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985 and the Treaty of Union.

The complete unfolding of this case since 1989 saw a series of corrupt judges rubber-stamping corrupt decisions of other corrupt judges in an entirely contrived, stage-managed process.  I was in the clutches of an endlessly remorseless tyranny that abides by no code, legal or humane.  The maiden of justice was continually raped by that tyranny.

On Wednesday, 14 June 2000, Lord Philip's "Opinion" was announced in the cause of Graham Ritchie, pursuer, ex-employee of the Ernst & Young Gang.  The family home was ordered to be sold within six months to recover £30,000.  But, and here’s the rub, the Opinion was not imparted to the Defenders themselves but to the media.  A large presence of the newspaper and television media converged on my house.  The first thing they asked was what I thought of Lord Philip's decision.  Since I was unaware of it, I replied: "Well it shows you how professional Lord Philip is when he reveals his decision to the media before he does to those involved in the case."  After being made aware of his decision and asked the same question, I replied: "Lord Philip is a low-life maggot."  I assumed this would be aired to the public and sincerely hoped I would get another day in court to answer a desirable charge of "contempt of court", but no such luck.  Being cognizant of all the facts with which he had earlier been provided, Lord Philip would see no advantage in allowing me back in court to expose all the preceding corruption.  The crime-protection-syndicate had already moved heaven and earth to keep me out of court.

My response to the media appeared later that day on both the BBC and STV national news and was splashed around the following day’s newspapers. One of the TV channels edited out the part I called Lord Philip a low-life maggot.

Lord Philip’s "Opinion" was at pains to ignore the crux of the case, making no reference whatsoever to my Defence or to the history of my battle exposing the illegality in Scotland of the poll tax or, more importantly, the deep-rooted corruption throughout the legal system.   His decision could not be remotely equated with the factual account of the case, but only with a story provided from the periphery of my wife's controlled "non defence".  It was a finding contrived by the pursuer's legal team conspiring with my wife's legal team, and with Lord Philip himself.

The £30,000 to be recovered was only about half the sum supposedly accrued by Graham Ritchie for expenses over many years.  The full amount had become too much of an embarrassment to pursue, illustrating, inter alia, that operatives in the extended legal system are indifferent to legal processes when it suits them.  In any event, the house was never sold to recover the pretended debt.

Despite the cause in the Court of Session being done and dusted with Lord Philip calling a halt to further bankruptcy processes, the Accountant in Bankruptcy audited another Account of Intromission for Graham Ritchie’s professed successor, J S S Graham. T he audited period began six months after Lord Philip’s ruling and was also outwith the 2-week time-bar period.  Again I appealed; however, for once I was given a hearing in the Sheriff Court.  It was called on 18 July 2000.  Every previous Account of Intromission audited by the A-in-B had also been audited illegally outwith the 2-week time-bar period prescribed by Section 53(1) of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985.  Some were time-barred by periods ranging from four weeks to almost two years, but, what the hell, who in the legal profession pays attention to intrusive laws!   This latest claim for remuneration and outlays totalled a ridiculous £27,008.39,

Sheriff Farrell presided over the hearing.  The former A-in-B George Leslie Kerr’s successor, Stephen Woodhouse, was represented by William Holligan, a partner in the much maligned law firm Brodies.  Mr Holligan had lodged a motion to prevent my appeal in this specific case going ahead.  It all seemed so familiar.  His argument was that: "Had Mr Burns appealed against earlier accounts of intromission a whole different mechanism would apply."  Mr Holligan was actually handing me the case on a plate because, as hereinbefore mentioned, I had appealed against each and every one of the previous 13 Accounts of Intromission.  I could not have explained in more emphatic terms that Mr Holligan, by his own admission, was saying a whole different mechanism did indeed apply in my case.  However, only in a Scottish court of law could facts be ignored and a lost cause endorsed. Sheriff Farrell smashed every fructifying principle of equity and justice and supported Mr Holligan’s lost cause.  I suppose any other result would not be in keeping with what is expected in Scottish lawyards. Trust the "law" warehousemen at your own peril.

My experience in all this taught me that of all the professions to evolve in society, none have ever come close to matching the legal caste for downright deceit and dishonesty.  The extended legal profession is immutable, intransigent, self-protective, unaccountable and corrupt.  It has been tyrannising, misleading and oppressing the Scottish people for over 500 years.  To this day, an insidious, dark underbelly permeates throughout this closed shop.  They malevolently promote themselves to a guileless Scottish public as the best legal system in the world.  Nothing is further from the truth.  It is the only profession that flourishes by abusing the tools of its trade.  To compare the integrity of legal mechanics (because that is all they are) with used-car salesmen would be an injustice to the latter of cosmic dimensions.  I would sooner trust a thief in the dark than a legal mechanic in the daylight. LINK

Billy Burns
by
Judicial Mafia
Poll Tax
Copyright © 2016 Billy Burns. All rights reserved.
Law Lords who are members of the exclusive, secretive, Masonic and highly suspect Speculative Society of Edinburgh (Spec):
How many more non-SPEC Law Lords are Masons nevertheless?
Acknowledgement:
Credit to Tom Minogue for unearthing the SPEC roll of dishonour and also its founding members.
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