Abuse allegations made by Hollie Greig were subject of misleading public statements by Crown Office. SCOTLAND’S CROWN OFFICE is facing claims it issued deliberately misleading statements over a decision by Stephen McGowan, the Aberdeen Procurator Fiscal not to prosecute a group of identified individuals including a serving Sheriff and Police Officers after Grampian Police investigated allegations of rape & abuse by Hollie Greig, a down’s syndrome woman who was forced to flee with her mother to England after the horrific events which took place in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini used Glasgow law firm Levy McRae to silence media publication of allegations of involvement. The allegations, relating to abuse carried out by an Aberdeen based ‘paedophile gang’, made as far back as 2000 have recently seen a number of successful attempts by private law firms such as Levy MCrae solicitors of Glasgow, acting on behalf of Elish Angiolini, the Lord Advocate, to censor website content and reporting of certain parts of Ms Greig’s allegations of abuse.
Aberdeen Procurator Fiscal’s letter to victim’s mother explaining lack of prosecution. In a letter from Aberdeen’s Procurator Fiscal, Stephen McGowan to Anne Greig, Hollie’s mother, Mr McGowan stated : “In September of this year, your daughter Hollie was interviewed by officers of Grampian Police in Shropshire and provided a statement in which she alleged that she had been sexually abused. Prior to September, other allegations had been made both by Hollie and by you on her behalf. Having reviewed all of the circumstances of Hollie's case, including Hollie's statements and all other available evidence, a report was prepared for the consideration of Crown Counsel. The conclusion is that there is insufficient evidence to allow criminal proceedings to be taken against any person in respect of these allegations.”
Allegations against Lord Advocate which Scots Law publication “The Firm” printed, then were forced to apologise over, were also mentioned. Curiously, Mr McGowan went on in his letter to detail allegations “made by others” of alleged involvement by the current Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini, in the case, claiming decisions taken in Hollie’s case were taken before or after Ms Angiolini’s time as Regional Procurator Fiscal in Grampian. Mr McGowan continued : “During the course of this investigation, it has been alleged by others that the Lord Advocate, Elish Angiolini QC, had in some way covered up Hollie's allegations. These allegations are unfounded and this has been supported by a careful scrutiny of the case. All key decisions in relation to prosecution in Hollie's case in 2000 and 2001 were taken before or after the Lord Advocate's time as Regional Procurator Fiscal in Grampian and were taken by other senior prosecutors, not the Lord Advocate. In addition, the Lord Advocate has not had any involvement in the recent decision by Crown Counsel that there should be no criminal proceedings.”
A legal insider said he found the references to the Lord Advocate in such a letter explaining a lack of prosecution in an abuse case, to be “unusual”, and questioned why it was included when “others” had made the allegations in the first place.
Crown Office issued ‘alternative version’ to newspapers over reasons why no prosecution took place. To cloud matters even more, it has now been revealed by several journalists the Crown Office issued statements to the press which appeared to contradict the terms of Mr McGowan’s letter to the family over why no prosecutions took place. Where Mr McGowan simply claimed there was “insufficient evidence to allow criminal proceedings to be taken”, the Crown Office’s media unit issued a statement which many claim appears to be an attempt to undermine the events documented in the victim’s allegations, stating : "Historical allegations of sexual abuse made by a 30 year old woman in Shropshire have been thoroughly investigated by Grampian Police. Crown Counsel have considered all the available information and decided that there is insufficient credible, reliable and admissible evidence to justify criminal proceedings in respect of these allegations."
A spokesman for the family issued a statement contending “there had not been a thorough investigation carried out by Grampian Police” and went onto state several key individuals had apparently not been interviewed by the Police during their ‘investigation’ of Ms Greig’s allegations.
A legal insider said he was concerned the questionable differences between what the Procurator Fiscal had told the family in terms of why there had been no prosecution, compared with what the Crown Office were saying publicly on the case, amounted to an attempt to mislead the victim, the media and the public.
Crown Office refused FOI request for investigation documents. In an attempt to verify the content of the Grampian Police investigation, reporters, and the victim’s family had made Freedom of Information requests to the Aberdeen Procurator Fiscal’s office for copies of documents gathered during the Police investigation, only to be told by the Procurator Fiscal he had decided to use a public interest exemption, thus refusing to release any documentation under FOI legislation. Mr McGowan said : “I have concluded that to disclose the information which you have requested would jeopardise the freedom and candour with which the police communicate with the Procurator Fiscal and the consideration of that information by police and prosecutors. I have therefore decided that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. On that basis I am refusing to release the information you have requested.”
The Crown Office have so far refused to make any further comment on the case, however a spokesman for the family has said there could be legal action over recent statements issued by the Crown which are being seen as an attempt to undermine Ms Greig’s traumatic experiences and the expectation that allegations of criminal acts reported to the Police should be dealt with according to law.