Imagine you were up in court for a crime you committed back in 2016, let’s say you robbed a bank. You’re found guilty as charged and the appropriate sentence is handed down to you by the Sheriff at Glasgow Sheriff Court.
Then there’s an entirely unexpected twist. Despite the Sheriff doing his job faultlessly including imposing the appropriate sentence on you for the crime that you committed, the Sheriff’s boss intervenes to wipe out the sentence entirely…because a) you said you were sorry and b) the crime took place a long time ago, way back in 2016.
So you are free to go about your business as normal as if nothing had happened. Nothing on your record, whitewashed clean…
Now imagine you are a sheriff, one with shares in the football club you support, that goes bust and you are pretty angry about all that has happened. Despite clear conflict of interest rules in place you nevertheless get involved in matters relating to the death of your club to collude with a senior police officer – who is a fellow supporter of your doomed football club and you then submit a DISHONEST and MISLEADING report during the botched police investigation into the takeover of your club that happened prior to its eventual, although probably inevitable, demise.
Then imagine that one of the people affected by your dishonest actions lodges a formal complaint against you and it emerges that you granted 22 warrants to police during an ill-fated fraud investigation despite you regularly appearing at that doomed club’s matches and social events and being said to have a framed photograph of their stadium in your chambers.
These warrants were driven by your fellow supporter in the police and the entire operation was found to be unlawful and “executed without proper safeguards”.
Then imagine your boss – who has no particular interest in your football team or any of your rivals either – handles the investigation into the complaint lodged against you and he concludes that you submitted a misleading report trying to justify your decision which contained information you were ignorant of when you granted the warrant.
— Tam sellic son (@TamseIIicsonIII) January 12, 2023
Your account appeared, according to your boss, to have relied heavily on information taken directly from a “police warrant sheet” complied by your fellow supporter in the Police, a senior investigating officer who is said to have chanted certain unsavoury songs popular with fans of that doomed football club of yours while conducting interviews in this matter.
And it’s by this time a matter of record that a judge has ruled that this senior investigating police officer had given evidence that was “patently untrue”, acted in an “intimidatory and threatening” way and conducted himself in a “reprehensible” manner.
Your actions led to a number of individuals being arrested over allegations of fraud linked to the club you support – they were all exonerated and so far over £40million has been paid out from the public purse as compensation to these individuals who were prosecuted maliciously and that would not have happened had you followed your own professional rules, that dictate that you should not involve yourself with a case where you have any conflict of interest.
The LORD ADVOCATE tried to maliciously prosecute Charles GREEN and Craig WHYTE because an old club died. Had the people who killed that old club in as defence witnesses, that happened, but not the refs. How much extra did it cost tax payers? https://t.co/thC98tFEhl
— JohnPaul Fitzpatrick (@F1tzy79) January 12, 2023
It was one of these prosecuted maliciously individuals who lodged the complaint against you claiming that you had obtained and used a police warrant request sheet to compile an explanatory report submitted to an appeal court.
In his investigation into your conduct your boss found that you did not dispute this claim. He reports that: “The sheriff relied upon the police information sheet in the preparation of the supplementary report. He accepts that the report looked as if it was his own note of what he was told by the police officer (and fellow supporter of doomed football club) in the application for the warrant in question. The sheriff accepts that there was material in the report which he did not know when he granted the warrant.”
— Mark (@mark040608) January 13, 2023
Consequently your boss finds the complaint against you substantiated. He states: “An (appeal) court has a legitimate expectation that reports provided to it by judges of the court below are complete, and accurate and not misleading. In the present case the supplementary report was misleading.”
Your boss notes that you have accepted responsibility for your actions and had apologised. He added: “The sherif has given notification of his intention to retire in May 2023.”
He found that you had not discharged your responsibilities properly. “That failure requires to be marked in some way,” your boss continues: “My recommendation is that FORMAL ADVICE be given.”
So you are retiring as a sheriff (due to an ongoing shortage, many retired sheriff’s return to the courtroom and receive a lucrative daily rate for their services) and you are to receive some FORMAL ADVICE. But before any of you reading this tale, and are declaring it as SCANDALOUS then hold on for a moment please because it’s not done yet.
There’s another not entirely unexpected (given the subject matter) twist to our story.
You see the recommendation from your gaffer about you receiving FORMAL ADVICE has actually, quite remarkably been REJECTED by your boss’s boss…because you said you were sorry and it all happened years ago!
In fact it’s Scotland’s most senior judge who intervenes to overturn your boss’s recommendation to say that NO ACTION WOULD BE REQUIRED AGAINST YOU.
The Judicial Office releases a statement on the matter saying: “Almost seven years have elapsed since the conduct complaint of occurred. The sheriff has recognised his error and expressed remorse. In these and other circumstances in relation to (your) tenure, the lord president has decided that it would neither be appropriate nor desirable to issue formal advice.”
Scottish football is corrupt. It appears also the judicial system and Police Scotland. Care to comment 1st minister @NicolaSturgeon ? You need to call this out or you become part of the problem. https://t.co/Z8DC6G9Pgb pic.twitter.com/WSSfWd6piL
— Michael McCahill (@MichaelMcCahi10) January 12, 2023
The chap who made the complaint against you in the first place is not at all happy and is frankly astonished. (He’s rather slow on the uptake when it comes to any matters in Scottish society relating to your doomed football club).
He states: “It now appears that passage of time is to be taken as an acceptable defence for wrongdoing. When this matter was first raised in 2019 (the) Sheriff had the opportunity to admit to colluding with (the investigating officer) and misleading the appeal court. Since then I have incurred considerable cost in exposing this conduct.”
And a senior legal figure describes the decision to take no action against you as “extraordinary”.
“It is a fundamental principle of our system of justice that it must be operated honestly and with integrity and part of that is coming down hard on breaches. However it seems that it is okay for a sheriff (ie you) to mislead a court if it was a long time ago and you are quick to retire.”
Knowing that there’s plenty of lucrative day-rate work for retire sheriffs these days and of course there’s that brilliant pension.
One wee point to note, on what is your lucky day. Your boss did NOT investigate the apparent conflict of interest aspect of this as saga relating to you involving yourself in this matter in the first place given your shareholding in your now liquidated football club. Given your extraordinary luck you should now consider buying a lottery ticket. It’s a better use of a pound than buying your deceased football club.
And they say that Celtic fans are paranoid….
Oh and before I forget-
“Celtic fans are just paranoid. Not a chance reputable professionals in Scotland would conspire to benefit an Ibrox club!”
— Rangers Tax-Case (@rangerstaxcase) January 12, 2023