Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Robbie the Pict seen in better stead than Justice Secretary.

Robbie the Pict would make a better Justice Secretary than the current holder of the office, Mr MacAskill, according to a recent survey of legal movers & shakers ...

The Scotsman reports :

Robbie the Pict has more legal clout than justice secretary MacAskill


ROBBIE the Pict, the veteran Skye bridge tolls campaigner, holds more legal sway than Cabinet secretary for justice Kenny MacAskill according to a new survey.

The campaigner came fourth in an annual poll of the 100 most influential figures in Scottish law, which is voted for by the legal profession.

Alex Salmond, the First Minister, came top in the survey; Elish Angiolini, Lord Advocate, was voted second; and Donald Findlay, QC, came third.

Mr MacAskill polled fifth - one place behind Skye's most famous campaigner.

Robbie the Pict, who in 2004 raised a civil action against the Skye bridge company, Miller Buidheann, demanding a refund of toll charges that he considered unlawful, said he believed people had voted for him as a "protest".

He said: "I think it reflects the appalling level of justice in this country at the moment.

"I don't stand for it. I kick up a stink and I suppose there are a lot of people who appreciate that."

He challenged others in the top ten, who include Annabel Goldie, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, to meet and discuss cases which have not been adequately investigated by the legal system.

"Let's sit round the table," he said. "I can show them cases that need to be challenged."

Pict is not the only campaigner to feature prominently in the list, which was compiled by Scottish legal magazine, The Firm.

Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and has since campaigned for justice on behalf of UK relatives, was placed at No 11.

Yesterday, he expressed surprise at coming so high up in the poll. "I and fellow Lockerbie campaigners operate entirely outside of the legal system," he said. "From that point of view we do not claim any particular influence.

"However, I'm glad if any pressure that we put on the system has an effect, and pleased to know that our campaign to seek truth and justice is considered significant."

Iain McKie, who has fought tirelessly to clear the name of his daughter Shirley, the policewoman whose fingerprints were allegedly found at a murder scene, came in at 24.

Others included Mike Dailly, principle solicitor at the Govan Law Centre, which spearheaded the Scottish campaign against illegal bank charges. Listed 96th last year, he was placed at 13.

Aamer Anwar, the Glasgow-based human rights lawyer, was also judged to have become more influential moving from 64th place to enter this year's top ten at number nine.

Anwar, who is facing a contempt of court charge over comments he made after the trial of Scotland's first convicted Islamic terrorist, has received wide-ranging support from the legal profession as well as politicians such as MP Tony Benn, who defended his right to freedom of speech.

Richard Draycott, editor of The Firm, said: "This should make interesting reading for the legal establishment.

"The results show where lawyers think the real power lies in Scotland, and reflect the reality that law and justice are about more than occupying office.

"Those on the list have been recognised by their peers for exercising real influence and making distinctive contributions to the law in Scotland."

Leading lawyer Alistair Bonnington, who was listed in tenth position by the poll, said he was sceptical a campaigner like Robbie the Pict exercised any real legal clout.

However he was not surprised that so many campaigners were included. "I suppose lawyers are very often campaigning for the underdog," he said. "With that in mind I'm sure that they admire people who are willing to take on the system. They admire their determination."

The poll is compiled with the help of readers who give their nominations before magazine editors whittle down the best entries for the long list.

The legal profession are then invited to chose the top 100, voting via The Firm's website.

No comments: