This article marks the beginning of the Scottish Human Rights Union’s first campaign: That aims to ensure that every person accused of a criminal offence can receive a fair trial.
The attached paper (in PDF format) highlights an unprecedented and dangerous situation that has arisen in Scotland:
In June of 2011, after several important legal decisions went against the Scottish Executive (known as and sometimes referred to as the Scottish Ministers), the Scottish Justice Minister threatened the livelihood and careers of the people judging.
So what? I hear you cry – but, you must realise that anyone charged with a criminal offence in Scotland is prosecuted by the Lord Advocate who is a Scottish Minister and a member of the Scottish Executive.
In addition the Scottish Ministers are required to work under the doctrine of collective responsibility – each one of them is equally and collectively responsible for the actions of the others. So, in effect all Scottish Ministers have threatened the judges!
At its simplest we are saying that if you have threatened the judges then you cannot prosecute. Please imagine yourself ending up in court after having threatened the judges!
Since these threats were made, it is our opinion, that no one has received a fair trial in Scotland.
It goes without saying “that a person charged with having committed a criminal offence should receive a fair trial and that, if he [or she] cannot be tried fairly for that offence, he should not be tried for it at all”.
As such thousands of innocent people are now being held in jail and thousands more face the prospect of being convicted unfairly.
The attached paper explains all of this in detail. The subject matter affects everyone in Scotland. Please read on and, as always, all comments / criticisms are welcome.