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)

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
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

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...

Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: If you are a committed Te...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style