Anyone in Scotland who has interacted with the Scots justice system and its many tentacles, be it in civil law, or criminal law, will have experienced some of the many defects in what even one of our top judges describe himself as a “Victorian” justice system unfit for purpose. Last night, Ian Hamilton QC gave his thoughts on Scotland’s defective justice system to BBC Newsnight Scotland, and blamed former Lord Advocate, now Dame Elish Angiolini and Scotland’s current Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill as being to blame for Scotland’s poor record on Human Rights laws.
Ian Hamilton QC speaks on Scotland, independence, the legal system and the Scots justice system’s appalling record on Human Rights since devolution.
Among the many topics discussed in the interview comes the controversial Supreme Court ruling on the Cadder v HMA, where it took the London based Supreme Court to give Scots the right to legal advice while being questioned by the Police.
Mr Hamilton went onto discuss the case of Gail Sheridan being interviewed by Lothian & Borders Police in connection with charges against the Sheridans for perjury in the Sheridan v News International case. Hamilton said Gail Sheridan took legal advice, said nothing in the interview and was accused of being tutored by terrorists. Hamilton went onto say : “The Police Officer interviewing Gail Sheridan should have been sacked.”.
The leak of the Gail Sheridan Police interview video tapes has been pursued by various publications although the individual who leaked the video has not yet been identified. Some sections of the interview, in which Mrs Sheridan is accused of being associated with terrorists, have been branded as examples of sectarianism within Scotland’s justice system. A section of the Police interview with Gail Sheridan can be viewed online HERE
It was put to Ian Hamilton it was wrong for the Supreme Court in Britain to be involved in the issue (in relation to its ruling in the Nat Fraser case), Mr Hamilton responded by saying the issue is defects in the Scottish justice system and that Alex Salmond was wrong there (in connection with his criticisms of the Supreme Court). Hamiltion claimed “The administration of justice has not yet caught up with devolution.”
Hamilton went onto say : “I would have an independent advocate as lord advocate and i would have a real tough in as justice minister, citing Alex Neil as a good candidate. Hamilton went onto say : “We need a different view on our minister of justice, only 4 % of the legal profession think MacAskill should keep his job. “Really Kenny MacAskill has got a solicitors mind to what is a statesman’s problem.”
Scottish Labour also came in for criticism along with the Conservatives & LibDems as being ineffective opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament to the SNP’s ‘overwhelming majority’.