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 both a copy of 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 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.
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".
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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, .
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.
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
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.
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
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
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, 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
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.
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
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,
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.
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.