Breach of the peace trial of Anti-abuse campaigner Robert Green will ultimately cost taxpayers up to £1 million say sources. A RECORD TWO YEAR BREACH OF THE PEACE prosecution against anti-abuse campaigner Robert Green which is apparently being waged at the insistence of key figures in Scotland’s legal world including private law firms with direct & personal links to Scottish Ministers, serving members of the judiciary and Crown Office officials both current & former is likely to result in a final staggering bill of up to ONE MILLION POUNDS to taxpayers after the eventual conclusion of any trial which will probably take the case into a THIRD YEAR after the initial arrest, according to newly released estimates by legal insiders of the costs of the long running case which began when Robert Green was charged in February 2010 after attempting to hand out leaflets which publicised the case of Downs Syndrome victim Hollie Greig who is alleged to have been repeatedly abused by an Aberdeen based paedophile ring.
The now record costs of the Crown Office’ prosecution for a single Breach of the Peace, dubbed by legal insiders a “Three year private vendetta bankrolled by taxpayers against Robert Green & abuse victims” were revealed when Scottish Law Reporter earlier reported pre-trial costs had already risen to around HALF A MILLION POUNDS, after factoring in the expenses of THIRTEEN earlier hearings at Stonehaven Sheriff Court, 15,000 travel miles for the accused, hugely expensive legal bills generated by private law firms hired by officials which appear to have been paid for out of public funds, rising legal aid fees, trips by Grampian Police Officers to England to search & raid homes & seize property including computers & documents, Crown Office staff being flown into Aberdeen especially for the case, and the costs to the Crown of ‘consulting & maintain’ a witness list which has varied in numbers and currently totals SIXTY ONE persons.
Former Lord Advocate now Dame Elish Angiolini employed law firm linked to Cayman Islands & Cocaine addict who ran Glasgow City Council, Levy Mcrae from Glasgow. The controversial case, which earlier this week had an unprecedented FOURTEENTH HEARING at Stonehaven Sheriff Court and now has a preliminary date of 16 January 2012 set for the actual trial to finally take place, may see former Lord Advocate now Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC take the witness stand to answer questions over why Mr Green was charged with breach of the peace with regard to his anti-abuse campaigning. Dame Angiolini is also likely to be asked why in her position of Lord Advocate she used a private law firm whose partners have dealings in the well known offshore tax dodging haven of the Cayman Islands, LEVY MCRAE, to serve interdicts against Mr Green while also threatening media outlets including Scots law publication “The Firm” and several newspapers over their coverage of the abuse story.
Late last night, sources close to COPFS let it be known officials were being badgered to maintain the prosecution of Green “on a no matter the cost basis". Reports of telephone calls to & off-the-record meetings between those with an interest in maintaining the prosecution of Green and COPFS officials have been likened akin to “a lobbying effort" to punish the anti-abuse campaigner for raising issues over the failings of an abuse investigation carried out years ago by Grampian Police & Scotland’s prosecuting authorities around the time Dame Angiolini served as Procurator Fiscal for the Aberdeen area.
The fruitless & costly investigation by Grampian Police into the abuse claims has been criticised over the years by campaigners & politicians, and yet with no clear end result after Police involvement in the case, Hollie Greig, who was a child at the time of the abuse, was paid a significant sum of money from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority totalling £13,500, a move which prosecutors are reluctant to explain.
At the latest hearing of the case this week, which was solely to determine the status of Procurator Fiscal Stephen McGowan who has also been called as a witness for the defence, Mr Green’s defence solicitor, Mr Alan MacLeod informed the court that as he had just been appointed as part of the new legal team for the defence given the withdrawal of Mr Green’s previous legal advisers who included Frances McMenamin QC, he required time to look through the complex evidence of the case. Mr MacLeod requested the trial date be delayed until 16th January 2012.
However, Grampian Area Procurator Fiscal Anne Currie opposed the defence’s request, stating the Crown wanted the trial to go ahead as quickly as possible in the interests of Crown witnesses, whose names have not yet been made public.
Responding to the Crowns objections, Mr MacLeod for the defence told Sheriff Principal Bowen that if the Crown’s demands were accepted, the whole defence team would have to immediately withdraw from representing the accused as it would be impossible and unreasonable for them to prepare its case in a short amount of time, given its undoubted complexity.
Sheriff Principal Bowen accepted the defence plea, ruling that the trial should commence on 16th January 2012 and that yet another interim hearing to resolve the issue of Mr McGowan`s refusal to recuse himself from the prosecution of Mr Green should be heard on 21st December. Sheriff Principal Bowen also voiced his concerns about the rising costs of pursuing the case.
Reporting on the background of the case, Robert Green was arrested by Police on 12th February 2010 in relation to a breach of the peace alleged to have been committed in Aberdeen when Mr Green attempted to hand out leaflets regarding the anti-abuse campaign. It was also revealed the then Lord Advocate, now Dame Elish Angiolini had employed private law firm Levy McRae to serve interdicts on Mr Green in connection with his campaign to ‘out’ alleged abusers of downs syndrome victim Hollie Greig. Glasogw law firm Levy McRae who later represented shamed former Glasgow City Council Boss & Cocaine addict Steven Purcell, proceeded to threaten several media outlets & journalists over their reporting of the case, covered by Scottish Law Reporter HERE & HERE. The Purcell scandal caused some newspapers to ‘evaluate’ their relationship with Levy McRae, details of which were featured in a report here : HERE
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill worked at same law firm used by then Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini in interdict case. As details of the case began to be reported in the wider press, it emerged the Scottish Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill has personal links to LEVY MCRAE, the law firm employed by the then Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini in legal action against Mr Green. Mr MacAskill has made no comment on the fact he served his apprenticeship at Levy McRae and also worked at the firm for a considerable time during his years as a solicitor before he entered politics, while he is thought to have backed Dame Angiolini in her actions at the time. The revelations were reported by Scottish Law Reporter at the time, HERE.
The Crown Office have consistently REFUSED to respond to Freedom of Information requests asking for details of how much public money was spent on legal representation for the then Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini. However, earlier today sources close to the Crown Office condemned the huge cost of the operation against Mr Green on the single breach of the peace charge, claiming the level of expenditure by multiple public bodies & law enforcement was unsustainable & unjustified for a simple breach of the peace.
Legal insiders have also pointed out the record amount of time it has taken to bring the case to trial, raises doubts over whether a three year wait for a trial to begin during which sixteen hearings on a single breach of the peace charge have been heard, complies with Article 6 (1) of ECHR where the issue of an accused’ being “entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time” may have been breached.