Malicious Prosecution Scandal: External judge needed to investigate ‘contamination’ of Scottish justice
Scottish justice has become “contaminated” by the malicious prosecution scandal and should be scrutinised by a judge from another jurisdiction, an MSP has said.
Russell Findlay’s appeal followed reports by The Times that the Rangers-supporting sheriff, Lindsay Wood, who granted numerous warrants as part of the botched police investigation into the club, is to retire without punishment after being found to have produced a misleading report.
“The Rangers malicious prosecution scandal has contaminated Scottish justice and the victims have been treated with high-handed contempt,” he said. “This ugly episode only amplifies the need for the public inquiry to be conducted by a judge from outwith Scotland.”
Among the warrants granted by Sheriff Wood was one in 2015, which allowed officers to raid the London offices of Holman Fenwick Willan, the law firm representing Duff & Phelps.
Craig Turnbull, sheriff principal of Glasgow and Strathkelvin, who investigated Sheriff Wood, concluded that he had submitted a misleading report attempting to justify his decision, which contained information he was ignorant of when he granted the warrant.
He had recommended that “formal advice be given” to Sheriff Wood. Yet the Lord Justice General, Lord Carloway, said no action would be required.
The Judicial Office said the sanction would serve no “concrete purpose”. It added: “Almost seven years have elapsed since the conduct complained of occurred and the sheriff has recognised his error and expressed remorse.”
But Mr Findlay said this was not acceptable.
“Sheriffs received a salary of more than £140,000 and with that comes a requirement of absolute integrity,” he said.