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A judge is not permitted, in a judgement to express a personal view on a political question – But is that not what Lady Dorrian did when she inferred there were different standards to be applied between Bona Fide journalists and bloggers

New specialist court to deal with serious sexual offences should be created  in Scotland - Daily Record

One of the key factors contributing to the decision of the court and Lady Dorrian to impose a previously unheard of draconian jail sentence on Craig Murray was that he was not, in the opinion of the court entitled to the same rights and privileges as a mainstream journalist.
Paragraph 4 of the judgement stated in disparaging terms:
“The applicant describes himself as a “journalist in new media”. Whatever that may involve, it is relevant to distinguish his position from that of the mainstream press, which is regulated, and subject to codes of practice and ethics in a way in which those writing as the applicant does are not. To the extent that the submissions for the applicant make comparisons with other press contempt’s, and the role of mainstream journalists, this is a factor which should be recognised.”


But online activity is not a devolved matter. It is reserved to the Westminster government who publicly announced 3 week before the judgement and comments of Lady Dorrian that Craig Murray was fully entitled in Law to consider himself to be a bona fide journalist. Lady Dorrian’s judgement was predicated on a misinterpretation of her powers and that of the court.


This is the position of the Westminster government, published three weeks before lady Dorrian’s sentencing of Craig Murray.
Media minister John Whittingdale, speaking for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said; “citizen journalists will have the same protections for their work as professional news providers adding, “we don’t want the legislation to lead to a ‘woke web’ where legitimate journalism is censored. That’s why we’ve built in safeguards so that content from news publishers will not be in scope of new laws, including content shared on social media platforms, and media providers will need to factor in the crucial role of journalism as well as freedom of expression in their moderation decisions. A vibrant and free media is essential to our democracy and our Bill will make sure vital public interest journalism can reach its audience without interference.

Alex Salmond not guilty of attempted rape as he's cleared of all charges in  sex trial at the High Court in Edinburgh


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The cunning old cat might have described Lady Dorrian’s proposals for trials in which a Judge would sit as prosecutor, judge, and jury. Certainly Carroll’s satirical doggerel starkly foreshadows a lack of procedural safeguards, including a probability of bias that a defendant accused of rape or sexual assault in the courts of Scotland should her proposals be implemented.

I'll be judge, I'll be jury,' said cunning old Fury; 'I'll try the

I’ll Be Judge, I’ll Be Jury

Perhaps Lewis Carroll anticipated the creation of the Judge only courts in Scotland when he wrote his “Mouse’s Tale”:

“Let us both go to law and I will prosecute you. I’ll take no denial. We must have a trial. For really this morning I’ve nothing to do.” The cat said to the mouse that he met in the house.,

“Such a trial, dear Sir, With no jury or judge, would be wasting our breath” said the mouse to the cat.

“I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury,” said the cunning old cat “I’ll try the whole cause, and condemn you to death.”

The cunning old cat might have described Lady Dorrian’s proposals for trials in which a Judge would sit as prosecutor, judge, and jury. Certainly Carroll’s satirical doggerel starkly foreshadows a lack of procedural safeguards, including a probability of bias that a defendant accused of rape or sexual assault in the courts of Scotland should her proposals be implemented.

I am attaching a summary of a report published in the national press some years ago. It refers to England’s judiciary since comparable information is not available in Scotland. But it to be expected that there will be little variance. The incidence of misbehaviour is shocking. Thank goodness defendants are still entitled to be judged by a jury of their peers.

Wings Over Scotland | Partial justice

28 Aug 2011: Scandal of the judges who shame justice

A Record number of judges and magistrates were either fired for wrongdoing or resigned while under investigation in the last year.

A total of 29 members of the judiciary were sacked. Offences ranged from “inappropriate behaviour or comments” to professional misconduct or getting into trouble with the law themselves.

Another 25 resigned while under investigation, including two judges, and 18 magistrates.

The total of 54 who left under a cloud is up from 46 in 2009-10 and 43 in 2008-09.

There were almost 500 complaints to the Office of Judicial Complaints about inappropriate behaviour or comments, a rise of 40 per cent in two years. 28 members of the judiciary were also given reprimands by the OJC and another 24 were offered advice, warning or guidance.

Examples

Judge George Bathurst-Norman was censured after making anti-Israeli comments during a trial, including comparing the country’s actions to a Nazi regime. His comments came during the trial of defendants accused of sabotaging equipment at a factory which they claimed was making parts for Israeli warplanes. He was reprimanded after it was ruled his comments “could be seen as an expression of the judge’s personal views on a political question”.

Judge Gerald Price resigned during the disciplinary process into claims he had an affair with a male prostitute. The investigation found his actions brought the judiciary into disrepute. It had been alleged that the married QC had a nine-month affair with a £250-a-night rent boy, whom he set up in a flat. It was even said that Mr Price allowed him on the bench during trials.

Another judge was given formal advice after he criticised Britain’s “lax immigration policy” while sentencing a Jamaican drug dealer. Judge Ian Trigger had said: “People like you, and there are ­literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people like you, come to these shores to avail themselves of the generous welfare benefits that exist here.” He was disciplined for “intervening in the political process”.

Coroner Paul Forrest was fired from his position in Avon after being described as exhibiting “high-handed and aggressive” behaviour. Among the magistrates fired was William Stephenson, of Warley, West Midlands. He became the subject of a Police Community Resolution procedure following an allegation of assault on a member of the public. The OJC said he had “failed to display the maturity, sound temperament and judgment required of a magistrate”.

Wings Over Scotland | His judgement cometh