Inquiry expected to clear judiciary of conspiracy
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Monday 25 January 1993
Instead the report, by William Nimmo Smith, a Scottish QC, and James Friel, procurator fiscal for North Strathclyde, is likely to refer to police prejudice against homosexuals, an internal conspiracy by certain CID officers to smear senior echelons of the Scottish legal profession, and a disregard by some officers for substantiated evidence able to be used in court.
The two men were appointed to re-examine Crown Office decisions in five cases dating back to 1988, where, in a confidential 11-page police report, it was alleged that homosexual judges and lawyers had been suspected of tactically influencing Crown decisions, allegedly to avoid compromising their positions as leading members of the legal establishment.
The Independent has learnt that officials in the Crown Office who have seen the lengthy report regard it as 'a positive document' that will 'clean the soiled linen, but not leave it pure white'.
The report will be delivered to the House of Lords by Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, the Lord Advocate, and to the House of Commons by the Secretary of State for Scotland, Ian Lang. When the inquiry team was appointed, Lord Rodger, commenting on the 'gay magic circle' claims contained in the leaked police dossier, described the substance of the report as 'based on nothing more than rumours, speculation and innuendo'.
In November 1991, Tam Dalyell, MP for Linlithgow, wrote to Sir William Sutherland, Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders police, demanding an investigation of the 'magic circle' rumours.
Sir William subsequently ordered his own internal investigation. It was the details of this inquiry which were leaked to the Edinburgh Evening News in September last year. The leaked report focused on five cases: a fraud involving a six-figure sum linked to a Scottish-based building firm; an investigation of embezzlement in a collapsed solicitor's firm where the two partners were homosexuals; an alleged mortgage fraud where an advocate was a suspect; the withdrawal of 47 out of 57 charges in a case involving young male prostitutes and homosexuals who used their services; and allegations that a sheriff had been photographed in potentially compromising sexual behaviour.
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