Homosexual legal network suspected for years: Judges have been implicated in a scandal that has undermined relationships between police, prosecutors and the judiciary in Scotland. Stephen Ward and Nicholas Timmins report

Allegations of a homosexual network within the Scottish legal establishment have been circulating for several years among lawyers, politicians and journalists.

Even the suspicion that such a network might exist and be interfering with the judicial process clouded the relationship between police, who assemble cases, and the Crown Office (the equivalent of the English Director of Public Prosecutions), which decides whom to prosecute.

The rumours were given substance in January 1990, when Scottish newspaper editors were called to the home of Lord Hope, Lord President of the Court of Session, Scotland's senior judge, to be told, unattributably, that three judges had been questioned about homosexual activities.

The number shocked the legal establishment. All the judges involved were in the Court of Session, the supreme court of Scotland, where there are only 24 judges. One allegation involved two judges entertaining young homosexuals at a cottage in south-west Scotland. Another involved the appearance, briefly, of a judge at a homosexual disco.

Scottish advocates do not work from chambers, but from their homes. Many leading advocates, solicitors and judges live in the New Town area of Edinburgh.

The 11-page leaked report, by a senior detective from Lothian and Borders Police, details facts and speculation surrounding Crown Office decision not to prosecute in some cases and to abandon others. The five cases mentioned in the report are:

A fraud involving a six-figure sum and involving a Scottish- based building firm;

An investigation surrounding embezzlement in a collapsed solicitor's firm, where the two partners involved were homosexual;

A three-year inquiry into an alleged mortgage fraud in which a leading advocate was a suspect;

The withdrawal of 47 of the 57 charges brought in a case concerning claims by a 16-year-old boy who ran away from a children's home. His claims led to an inquiry into a network of homosexuals who used a male prostitute to procure young men for sex. Five of the 10 accused walked free, one went to trial and was found not proven and the remaining four pleaded guilty to reduced charges;

Allegations that a sheriff had been photographed in compromising sexual acts.

Tam Dalyell, Labour MP for Linlithgow, last night confirmed the accuracy of the Edinburgh newspaper's report.

Mr Dalyell said he had written to the Prime Minister on Thursday asking for further investigation of the affair, after Lord Hope had told him he could take the matter no further.

Mr Dalyell said: 'I have no idea who leaked to the Edinburgh Evening News this police report, of which I have had a copy for some time.'

The implications for the constitutional relationship between the police and the Crown Office in the contents of the report, and the fact that they have now become public, were underlined last night by the wording of a statement from Hector Clark, Lothian's Deputy Chief Constable.

Without denying the potentially explosive substance of the document, he took pains to try to distance the force from appearing to criticise the Crown Office.

He said: 'From the police point of view, all allegations or suggestions of criminal activity have been sent to the procurator fiscal. There may be other issues investigated which, in some cases, involve speculation, rumour and some guesswork, and those issues are merely noted.

'On cases submitted to them, the Crown Office decide on whether or not to prosecute and the nature of charges. Occasionally, additional inquiries are ordered by them and undertaken by the police. The Crown may arrange to precognise (to take evidence on oath from) witnesses and others, and the police are often unaware of the total case this process reduces.'

The statement added: 'We are unable, therefore, to comment on decisions made, although the Chief Constable has no lack of confidence in the Crown Office and the judicial process . . .'

(Photograph omitted)

News
peopleChildren leave in tears as Santa is caught smoking and drinking
Arts and Entertainment
A host of big name acts recorded 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' in London on Saturday
musicCharity single tops chart
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall has become the eighth celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing
tv
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
News
i100
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin