Drew Millar, convener of the anti-tolls group SKAT, has written to the Lord Advocate urging him to investigate what appears to be a deliberate falsification of evidence crucial to the conviction of tolls protesters. This comes in the light of a ruling last week by Lord Eassie in which he conceded that part of the evidence produced by the prosecution in Skye Bridge cases was not what it was claimed to be.
At issue is the status of Crown Production 16. The Crown claimed that this document formed part of the assignation of the right to Miller Civil Engineering to collect tolls on the Skye Bridge and effectively secured prosecutions against many of those who had chosen to protest against the iniquitous tolls by refusing to pay.
From the outset SKAT questioned the status of this document and their suspicions were justified when the lawyer who had compiled the document admitted that whatever it was, it was definitely not the Secretary of States written consent to the toll collecter as was claimed.
On further examination SKAT discovered the provenance of pages which make up Production 16. They were pages removed from the rear of a development agreement and pasted together to give the semblance of the required written consent. Despite efforts at the time to draw attention to what appeared to be an attempt to pervert the course of justice, they were ignored. One Sheriff in the Dingwall court accepted Production 16 as the required consent from the Secretary of State but on a subsequent occasion another Sheriff was sufficiently doubtful about its authenticity to suspend trial of a protester. That was a year ago and the protester still awaits his trial.
But with Lord Eassies judgment confirming the dodgey status of Production 16 SKAT now demand a full investigation of the circumstances by which it was allowed to be used in the prosecution of Skye bridge cases. It seems there was an attempt to falsify evidence and pervert the course of justice and those in the Scottish Office who were responsible should be held to account.
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Copyright © Ray Shields, 1999.
Most recent revision, 13 March 1999