Press revelations regarding the role played by Lord Rodger, Lord Advocate until 21 November 1995, in the prosecution of Skye toll protesters. There is a claim that this conflicts with Lord Rodger's role as senior Judge in the High Court of Appeal. He has rejected three Skye bridge appeals, two dating from offences allegedly committed on 17 October 1995.
Scottish Office stated on Jan 26 "The Lord Justice General will never involve
himself in an appeal which began as a prosecution during his tenure in the office of Lord
Advocate." This statement is known to be false. It has
happened on three occasions.
Henry McLeish has replied to a PQ from Charles Kennedy regarding dates of letters of instruction to the PF: "The Deputy Crown Agent replied on 6 November conveying the Lord Advocate's instructions that the procurator-fiscal (sic) should carry out further work before seeking instructions from Crown Counsel on whether to take proceedings".
The SKAT perspective is that Lord Rodger has without any reasonable doubt been 'involved'. There is a clear admission in Mr McLeish's response that the Lord Advocate has encouraged the development of the prosecution. The prosecution begins with a police report to the PF about persons refusing to pay a toll, contrary to Section 38(1) of the New Roads & Street Works Act which is a criminal offence. What 'further work' needs to be done? Clearance as 'civil or criminal?' at the Crown Office is the third step of a prosecution already in motion. A clear indication to continue the preparatory work for criminal prosecution has been given to the PF. Subsequent events verify this.
If failing to declare involvement was a crime it would be admittedly difficult to nail the Mr Big behind it 'beyond reasonable doubt'. However, reasonable doubt has not been conceded to criminally convicted appellants by Lord Rodger. He has favoured the Crown on a civil balance of probability. By his own standards he is guilty of acting in consort with others to prosecute persons to whom he has later denied very stateable appeals.
On behalf of hundreds of innocent people SKAT must, however, point out a more grave issue concerning miscarriage of justice. The denial of the human right to an independent and impartial hearing pales in comparison with the fact that each appeal rejected by Lord Rodger was based on a challenge to the Toll Order. It has since been learned that the Crown concealed the fact that the Toll Order was unpublished, something that should have been checked by the Lord Advocate's office before embarking on criminal prosecutions. There is a statutory defence against prosecution if an order has not been printed and sold. Lord Rodger has thus acted wittingly or unwittingly to deny this defence to the public and the concealment of this truth has resulted in the wrongful prosecution of over 100 innocent people.
SKAT had originally placed its faith in the Scottish Legal System to expose a criminal extortion scheme being operated by the Crown/Bank of America consortium. It is with both sadness and dismay that we now call on Lord Rodger to resign his post given his role in eroding the rights of the accused in a criminal prosecution in Scotland.
Back to Skye Bridge News Index or the Skye Bridge Main Page
Copyright © Ray Shields, 1999.
Most recent revision, 03 December 2001