Paralegals, recently put forward by the Law Society of Scotland as being a panacea to the calls from campaigners of opening the legal services market in Scotland, face charges of poor standards as revelations emerge of an in-house paralegal working for Renfrewshire Council allowed a property to be used as storage for illegal drugs.
Standards slipping in the Paralegals perhaps ? ....
The Scotsman reports :
A FORMER employee of Renfrewshire Council's legal department turned a blind eye when she discovered that a flat she owned was being used as a distribution for cocaine.
Claire Feely, 32, a one-time paralegal with the local authority, used details of someone else's identity, taken from the local authority's database, to rent the property in Muirpark Street, Glasgow, then sub-let it to Derek Morrison for £150 a month.
During a huge police operation mounted last summer Morrison, a car dealer, was kept under surveillance, a court heard yesterday.
Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency officers recovered cocaine with a potential street value of over £800,000 during the raids that were mounted.
After gathering evidence, police arrested both Morrison and Feely and detained two others.
Police, acting on inside information, began watching Morrison, formerly of Elliott Street and now of Mossvale Street, Glasgow, over the summer last year.
The final pounce was mounted in August after Morrison had driven to properties associated with student Nikolas Guit, in Glassford Street and Sheila Street; and attended at the home of David Burke, a scene hand, in the city's Aray Street. Morrison, 30, admitted being concerned in the supply of the drug between 1 March and 24 August last year at the flat, described in court as a "drugs warehouse", and at his then home in Elliott Street, Glasgow.
The High Court in Paisley heard that police had found 15 one-kilogram packages of cocaine, concealed in a suitcase kept on top of a wardrobe.
A frying pan, hammer and scales, all stained with traces of cocaine, and various packages prepared for onward sale, were also retrieved.
Feely, who is now working as a hotel receptionist with the Holiday Inn group, was interviewed by police when they discovered her property had been let to Morrison.
She pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cocaine between 1 March and 24 August at 6 Muirpark Street.
Burke, 35, now of Pitreavie Place, Glasgow, was found in possession of £800 worth of cocaine when officers raided his former address in Aray Street. He admitted he had been dealing and confessed he had a personal drugs habit that cost him £1,000 a day.
In court, he plead guilty to being concerned in the supply of the drug between 24 May and 24 August, 2006, at both Aray Street and Muirpark Street.
Guit, 32, was found with cocaine with a street value of £3,370 when police went to a second property he had in Glassford Street.
He admitted being concerned in the supply of the drug at both addresses on 24 August.
Yesterday judge Lord Kinclaven was told that a meticulous search of Morrison's home had also revealed correspondence relating to the purchase of another flat in Bulgaria.
Feely, he was told, had not been able to bring herself to tell any members of her family anything about the court case.
The judge remanded Morrison and Burke in custody after calling for background reports, and released Feely and Guit on bail.
All four will appear at the High Court in Edinburgh for sentencing on 31 October.