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)

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone