Thursday, January 29, 2009

£100,000 legal aid for convicted rapist policeman as Legal Aid Board claims procedures found ‘wanting’

Getting legal aid from the Scottish Legal Aid Board is tough enough these days .. but if you are a convicted Police officer who raped two women … the odds seem to be in your favour as over £100,000 has been handed out to Adam Carruthers, a former Inspector with Dumfries & Galloway Police ..

The Scotsman reports :

Rapist policeman's legal fight costs public dear

Published Date: 29 January 2009
By Craig Brown

A RAPIST policeman will face hostile protesters today as he launches a court action to try to have his force pension fully reinstated.

Adam Carruthers, an inspector with the Dumfries and Galloway force until he was jailed in May 2001 for raping two women, had his employers' contributions stripped from his pension while he served his 11-year sentence.

One of his victim claims that if his action is successful, it will make rape a pensionable occupation.

Released in September last year after serving the maximum two-thirds of his jail term, Carruthers immediately took steps to have his full pension reinstated, funded by the public purse through the Scottish Legal Aid Board. He has already received upwards of £100,000 for legal representation relating to his conviction and other claims.

His trial and failed appeal cost £101,395, and he also obtained close to £10,000 while in prison for "advice and assistance" and to raise a number of civil claims, including £2,100 compensation for slopping out.

His action over his reduced pension could cost the taxpayer a further £100,000.

Iraina McGroarty, the manager of the South West Scotland Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre, said: "This is absolutely appalling. It's certainly not justice, and it gives out the wrong message.

"He preyed on vulnerable women while on duty and in uniform and was a prolific offender. We know Lothian and Borders (Police] had evidence from 38 victims in all. Our centre is into double figures in dealing with women he abused who have come to us."

Jane Dearie, a former special constable who was raped in her home by an on-duty Carruthers in 1996, agreed. She said: "When he raped me, he arrived at my house driving a police car and wearing a police uniform, all paid for by taxpayers.

"If he wins the civil case, not only will that mean the court has decided that rape is a pensionable occupation, it will mean that I, together with his other victims, will be paying my taxes to benefit him all over again. I think all taxpayers will be appalled at funding his action."

It is understood the court will hear arguments about his pension entitlement, but a decision is not expected immediately and there may be further hearings.

Because the case involved its officers, the Dumfries and Galloway force brought in Lothian and Borders Police to investigate, and it identified 38 victims in all, making Carruthers one of the country's worst sex offenders, but the Crown did not to prosecute him for the other cases.


THE Rape Crisis centre that helped care for the victims of Carruthers receives £50,000 central government funding each year, £58,000 from the council and £3,000 from the area health board.

That £111,000 is less than Carruthers' total legal aid bill to date, and had to provide a counselling service for 199 people referred last year.

The South-West Scotland Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre was set up in 1996 to give emotional and practical support to women and girls in Dumfries and Galloway who have been raped or abused at any time in their lives.

It offers advice on pregnancy tests, sexually transmitted diseases and reporting attacks to police.

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