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.
It must be said from the outset; there is no such thing as an
independent, impartial judge.
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
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 supporting this betrayal of the Scottish people..
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/supporters-of-justice 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 in my absence by, and not surprisingly, Sheriff
Peter McNeil, one 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 and
sidestepping the hearing of my impending appeal, I regarded Rogers'
expenses as legalised theft.
That said, 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 sequestration 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. Sheriff McNeill also refused to allow
me the opportunity to "show cause why sequestration should
not be awarded", contrary to Section 12(2) of the Bankruptcy
(Scotland) Act 1985.
What is more, according to Chesire & North's
"Private International Law", 12th Edition,
Page 385 (b) 2nd paragragh: Due notice and opportunity to
be heard: "It is a violation of natural justice if a
litigant, though present at the proceedings, is unfairly prejudiced
in the presentation of his case to the court." LINK
Regardless, 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.
Compared to the extreme lackadaisical inaction
after sequestration was granted - which was drawn out
precisely to keep the gravy-train expenses accumulating for as
long as possible - they accelerated the actual bankruptcy hearing
through the sheriff court as quickly as possible because, two
months later, the minimum amount for which someone could be made
bankrupt would be raised from £750 to £1,500.
I think it is appropriate to mention at this
time that I was taken aback by the almost social-clublike mood
among all the lawyers in the packed courtroom prior to the appearance
of the beak. Lawyers for and against absent litigants.
Litigants who, were they flies on the wall, would be aghast at
the sight of their legal agents frictionlessly and even harmoniously
discussing among each other what would be a highly sensible way
to proceed with the cases: for themselves; not for their absent
clients. There were only two party litigants present in
the packed courtroom. I hope the other one noticed the same
Unbeknown to me at the time
of the bankruptcy hearing, Sheriff McNeill had already secretly
deemed me bankrupt in my absence and without intimation three-and-a-half
weeks before the hearing, 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. It never fails to amaze me how society not only
permits these questionable characters to manipulate our laws with
impunity, but after their demise an obliging media fills their
obituaries with unjustified plaudits. LINK
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
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
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: “Yeah, 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 (false
statement). Her business here was obviously to add to the
legal jugglery. That mythical claim went unopposed.
So too did Eric William Robertson’s referral to my £100
fine without taking it to its inherent 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 ought to have been
concentrating on the criminals plotting inside the courtroom.
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 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
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 these "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
or law herdsmen (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 law practitioner
in the daylight .LINK