Craig Murray’s Trial: What Happens Next 184

Post By Kirsten MacDonald

On Monday morning, Lady Dorrian and two supporting judges will hear the application from Roddy Dunlop QC for Craig Murray to be allowed to appeal to the UK Supreme Court against both their verdict of contempt of court for jigsaw identification, and against the disproportionate sentence.

It is widely expected, given the obvious animus against Murray she has shown throughout the proceedings, that leave to appeal will be refused and Lady Dorrian will commit Craig Murray to jail, probably from Wednesday 9 June. At that stage, Murray’s legal team will have to apply direct to the UK Supreme Court to grant him an appeal, but his eight month sentence will likely be served before the Supreme Court even looks at whether to consider it.

For comparison, the English High Court has not yet decided whether to hear the United States appeal against the decision to refuse extradition of Julian Assange, even though Assange remains in Belmarsh prison while they decide whether to take their case. Murray languishing in Saughton or Barlinnie is unlikely to be a consideration for the Supreme Court.

There is no precedent for an appeal against conviction for contempt of court in Scotland to be heard by the UK Supreme Court; we are in uncharted waters. It is possible for Lady Dorrian to grant interim liberation so that Murray is not jailed pending a decision on taking his case by the UK Supreme Court, and then further until they had decided the case. The UK Supreme Court does not itself have power to grant liberation.

But anybody who heard Lady Dorrian interrupt Roddy Dunlop QC six times in the opening four minutes of his mitigation plea, and heard her tone of voice in the sentencing remarks, would view it as very unlikely she will delay imprisonment. One experienced reporter said to me that they had never heard any judge so “emotionally invested”.

There was one moment at the end of the sentencing hearing when there was consternation among the judges, noted by those with videolink access. When Roddy Dunlop QC stated that they would seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, Lady Dorrian’s air of stern control dissipated momentarily and there was a moment where all three judges were visibly, physically shifting around uncomfortably.

Lady Dorrian replied that any appeal would be to the nobile officium, an ad hoc court peculiar to the Scottish system which is brought into being where no other appeal route exists. That appeal would in effect be to Lord Carloway, Chief Justice of Scotland and an extremely close friend as well as colleague of Lady Dorrian, supported by a panel of judges all of whom work under Lady Dorrian, the Lord Justice Clerk.

The Murray team had decided such an appeal would be utterly pointless. There is very serious concern that the system of justice in Scotland has been corrupted, as expounded this week in the House of Commons by no less than Scotland’s former Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill MP:

Since the days of learning about the Gordon Airs case, HM Advocate v. Airs, I always assumed that those who were seeking to put forward information that was appropriate and fair would be protected. Yet in Scotland, in the fallout from the Alex Salmond affair, we have seen Mark Hirst, a journalist, prosecuted. The case, in which he was supported by the NUJ, was rightly rejected by the presiding sheriff in the borders. We have seen Craig Murray, a blogger and former British senior civil servant, now facing a prison sentence of eight months. That is not only shocking, but drives a coach and horses through a position brought in by the Scottish Government that there be a presumption against a sentence of imprisonment for less than a year. Their absence of criticism and their failure to comment has been quite shocking.

It is not simply cases brought by the Crown. It is the cases that have been pursued by the police, where people so much as tweeting anything that might be seen as possibly identifying a witness have faced a knock on the door from the police. That is fundamentally damaging to Scottish democracy. It is not what I expect and it has not come about by happenchance. It has been deliberate. It has been targeted. It is being driven by the Crown Office. If we are to have a free press, there has to be free reporting. That has to apply to bloggers as much as it applies to the mainstream press.

That people have been charged in Scottish courts and have faced possible terms of imprisonment for simply doing exactly the same as the mainstream press has done but not faced prosecution is simply unacceptable. There is also a reason that I am required to raise it here: it is that the position of the Lord Advocate of Scotland is no longer tenable. There has to be a separation of powers of having one individual who is both a legal adviser to the Scottish Government and also the head of the prosecution service in Scotland. That is no longer appropriate

Murray’s legal team effectively decided to break for the border and get the case out of corrupt Edinburgh. Roddy Dunlop QC argued that, by statute, the appeal against any ruling of a panel of two or more Scottish High Court judges is to the UK Supreme Court. There had been some legal consternation as to why Murray’s contempt case was heard by a panel of three judges in the first instance, which is unusual. It was perhaps intended to increase the thin veneer of respectability of these highly political proceedings, but it seems they may have shot themselves in the foot by providing an escape route away from the nobile officium, which plainly caught Dorrian completely off guard when Dunlop first raised it. Lord Turnbull looked around as if an answer to this development might be lurking somewhere behind him in his study. It was the most bizarre moment in these entirely bizarre virtual proceedings.

So Monday will be about the denial to Murray of the right to appeal. That a blogger might be jailed with no jury and no right of appeal, for a jigsaw identification which few other than Lady Dorrian were able to perceive, is a stain on the reputation of Scotland.

But not necessarily a black mark for Lady Dorrian. Many believe her ambition is to replace Lord Carloway, who retires shortly, as Lord President – Scotland’s top judge. The appointment will be made by the Queen on the recommendation of Nicola Sturgeon.

Lady Dorrian, while the Murray case was engaged in its painfully slow process, produced a report for the Scottish Government suggesting the abolition of juries in cases of sexual assault, and that accusers should not attend court or be cross-examined by defence lawyers. Dorrian’s public advocacy of this on the BBC alongside the Scottish Government funded Rape Crisis Scotland, will, to say the least, do her no harm with Nicola Sturgeon.

Murray is of course one of Sturgeon’s fiercest critics and opposes both the abolition of juries and the abolition of the right of defence lawyers to cross-examine accusers. The prime thrust of the reporting for which he is being jailed was that Nicola Sturgeon was behind the false accusations that were made against Alex Salmond.

There is a real possibility that aspects of Dorrian’s handling of the Murray case could come in for serious criticism by the Supreme Court. These include her acceptance of a handful of anonymous tweets claiming to have learnt identities from Murray’s blog (with zero evidence they actually knew identities) as having important evidential weight, her effective dismissal of his entire affidavits as lies despite hearing no evidence that contradicted them, her making no reference at any stage to Salmond’s acquittal (indeed both her judgement and sentencing remarks on Murray refer to Salmond’s “victims” and “offences” with no “purported”, “alleged” or other qualifier, even after the acquittal), her extremely low bar for jigsaw identification (to any individual who already had specialist knowledge), the breathtakingly draconian sentence, and the curt and offhand dismissal of all Article X ECHR freedom of speech arguments.

If Dorrian grants the appeal to the Supreme Court, she is opening herself up to criticism at a crucial time in her career. As one lawyer put it to me, to grant the appeal would be “asking for a kicking”. If she refuses permission to appeal, she is putting back any Supreme Court decision probably for two years, and giving herself the ability to imprison and silence Murray in the interim.

Murray’s team have very little hope for Monday.

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184 thoughts on “Craig Murray’s Trial: What Happens Next

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  • Jules Orr

    “There is a real possibility that aspects of Dorrian’s handling of the Murray case could come in for serious criticism by the Supreme Court. These include her acceptance of a handful of anonymous tweets claiming to have learnt identities from Murray’s blog (with zero evidence they actually knew identities) as having important evidential weight, her effective dismissal of his entire affidavits as lies despite hearing no evidence that contradicted them, her making no reference at any stage to Salmond’s acquittal (indeed both her judgement and sentencing remarks on Murray refer to Salmond’s “victims” and “offences” with no “purported”, “alleged” or other qualifier, even after the acquittal), her extremely low bar for jigsaw identification (to any individual who already had specialist knowledge), the breathtakingly draconian sentence, and the curt and offhand dismissal of all Article X ECHR freedom of speech arguments.”

    Astounding that such a person could be appointed to preside over a court of law, let alone a juryless Diplock court. She is an absolute disgrace.

    • Bayard

      “Astounding that such a person could be appointed to preside over a court of law, let alone a juryless Diplock court.”

      In the absence of anything preventing such an appointment, it is hardly even surprising, let alone astounding, that it happened.

  • AmyB

    How can eight months be fair when even the person who deliberately named the women in question on Twitter received a significantly lesser sentence?

    • Kempe

      He got six months (from the same judge!) but he did plead guilty which earned him a discount.

      • Louise Hogg

        Is Monday’s hearing virtual? Or is a protest in Edinburgh required?

        • craig Post author

          Louise, it is virtual, but possibly we will be tying to get a protest together when I am actually incarcerated. This might be at a few hours notice.

      • Paul Murray

        You’d be waiting 10 years for the ECHR machinations to go through their torturous legal processes Craig.
        It’s a sad indictment that we should need European oversight on Scottish or British injustices.

        Your conviction is wrong on so many levels.
        I read your blog during the AS trial and appreciated your honesty and candour.
        I’ll be there for any physical protest on the day but meantime I’m going to contact my MP.
        She’s SNP, so may well be a Sturgeonista, but the fightback has to start somewhere.

        Stay strong Craig.
        I’d suggest you/we hope and dream of a fairer justice system or, at the very least, this despicable Lady D gets her commupance for the injustice she’s done to you.

        Keep us informed either directly of through a confidante?

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Scotland slides into Gleichschaltung. These cretins are incapable of thinking through the consequences of denying a legal route of redress.


      All is not lost. In their zeal to convict Craig, they’re making a blunder. Keep an eye on over the next couple of days. Just finalising a post, drawing upon my knowledge and experience of media law, to put a cat among the pigeons.

        • HorizonT

          Replying here rather than on your blog, Jaggy, because it is more immediate here.

          What you set out in your blog highlights that for any sense to be made of a charge of ‘Jigsaw Identification’ is that several pieces need to be laid in place and that for a charge to ‘reasonable’, it is not enough to allege that a piece placed is the one which COMPLETES the jigsaw. Rather, it is all of the pieces placed which MAKE the jigsaw. Otherwise, we become lost in issues of contemporaneousness and various authors may innocently and separately publish relevant things to the case such as hairstyle or general connections to party hierarchy which are in no way identifying of themselves

          In other words, a ‘Jigsaw Identification’ necessarily involves some form of conspiracy involving input from more than 1 person [otherwise if the ‘Jigsaw Identification’ is complete from one person, it is effectively a full identification published by that person and there is actually no need to describe it as ‘jigsaew Identification’]. The strange feature of such a conspiracy is that there need be no element of collusion, cooperation or communication between the parties responsible for the ‘Jigsaw Identification’.

          As such, the charge of ‘Jigsaw Identification’ necessarily requires information from more than 1 party. So, logically for a coherent charge of ‘Jigsaw identification’ to be brought, it must be brought against all, or against none.

          I suggest that this is beyond the competence of the Judiciary, especially when acting in collusion with the Prosecutors, who have a direct political interest [due to the ambiguity of the Lord Advocate’s constitutional position]. It needs sorting in Statute Law, with proper public debate before any of this is made to stick.


            Agreed. This aspect of media law law is extremely vague, hence hardly ever invoked. My journalism students struggled to understand the concept. I suspect some members of the Scottish judiciary – and the legacy media – might be doing likewise.

  • Derek Aitken

    When members of a justice system abuse the law and power they have, it puts them above the law. That is a very dangerous precedent as it means the law doesn’t apply to them and therefore they cannot expect to be protected by the law.

    • Cynicusj

      The fashionable phrase, “unfit for purpose“ originates (I am told) in hire purchase agreements from the 1960s.

      It is far too elegant and up-market a description of either Lady Dorrian or the Scottish criminal justice system.

      I content myself with, “bloody disgrace“.

      Stay brave, Craig.

    • Tom Welsh

      Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!

      More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

      Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

      More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast– man’s laws, not God’s– and if you cut them down—and you’re just the man to do it—do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.

      — Robert Bolt (“A Man For All Seasons”)

  • Ian

    An appalling indictment of the Scottish ‘justice’ system, where it is entirely clear that the personal animus and career ambition of one judge is the determining factor in the vindictive punishment of Craig Murray, for which there is simply no precedent. A hefty fine would have been entirely appropriate, if the guilty verdict was based on solid evidence and reasoning. But not even that was applied in this case – had it been the case would have been dismissed. Instead we have the might and unregulated power of a tiny number of establishment functionaries with clear ties to the political administration of Sturgeon, and reliant on her patronage for advancement. There is no country on earth that such a system could be adequately called impartial justice, where the judiciary and the government are in such a close relationship. Further, with the contemptuous dismissal of the defence case and its evidence, the sneering disdain for the defendant’s stated reasons for his actions, she clearly demonstrated a remarkable personal bias which makes any judgement of hers unreliable and inadmissible. The fact that she was clearly nettled by Craig’s frank, fair and well-argued defence should have rendered her unsuitable for a decision which was, as clearly she would like all cases to be, free of the court of public opinion in the form of a jury. That isn’t justice, it is arraignment and political punishment for offending the establishment.

    Any real appeal would take place well away from her influence, by a panel of judges who can examine both sides of the judgement and would no doubt deem it faulty and tainted by the personal feelings and bias of the judge. In such a just appeal, I would expect the case thrown out, or a token fine. The fact that it won’t be is an astonishing revelation of how Scottish justice is constructed and administered by a small clique of like-minded establishment friends and colleagues. I thought we had moved on from feudal times. Clearly not.

    • Carolyn Zaremba

      Hear, hear. Thank you, Ian for clearly stating the problem. The British (in)justice system is appalling. First Julian Assange, and now Craig Murray (who, incidentally, gave us the best coverage of Julian Assange’s hearing last year, which no doubt has counted against him in this matter). These women judges, along with Nicola Sturgeon, are harming the cause of women in the professions everywhere with their vindictive and emotional behaviour when dispassionate analysis of evidence and mitigating circumstances are what is called for. Baraitser and Dorrian should be removed from their positions.

  • Frank

    Murray went out of his way to mock Judge Baraitser, during the trial of Assange. The legal world is small

    • Sarge

      I’d agree with Kirsten that it was his revelation of Sturgeon’s role in the Salmond fitup that has produced this crazed sentence. Dorrian is a Sturgeon puppet, forgive me, appointee.

    • J

      I don’t think that’s true, at all. His rendering of Baraitser was unusually perceptive of her dilemma for media commentary and he was actually more decent and fair than her despicable corruption of office deserved. Although I grant you, the general air of servility shown before even the most egregious and breathtaking corruption in high office is probably what makes frank and honest reporting seem like mockery.

    • Lee Davis

      Personally, I think her own actions made her a mockery. I was just glad C Murray was able to report.
      It’s utter madness what is happening now!

    • Susan

      “Murray went out of his way to mock Judge Baraitser…”

      I ponder the motive for making this statement. None of us, with the exception of maybe Frank, agreed with her reasons and judgements. But disagreement, even strong disagreement, does not equate to mocking. In fact, unlike the rest of us, it was Craig who managed to see empathy (humanity) in Baraitser:

      “I am quite sure that I again noted magistrate Baraitser have a catch in her throat when discussing the inhumane conditions in US supermax prisons, the lack of human contact, and specifically the fact that inmates are kept in total isolation in a small cage, and are permitted one hour exercise a day in total isolation in another small cage. I noted her show emotion the same way when discussing the al-Masri torture evidence during the trial, and she seemed similarly affected here.”

      • Tom Welsh

        Susan, pity (which a hardened psychopath might see in any suggestion of empathy) might be considered still worse than mockery.

      • J

        Indeed, that is one of a number of passages (laudable empathy with and perhaps even compassion for – the enemy) in Mr Murray’s dispatches from the trial which stuck in my mind as indicative of the highest possible calibre of reporting. Compassion entirely absent from the machineries of government and the many injustices meted out by the legal system. Frank is seeing something I cannot.

    • Tom Welsh

      And if this were a private school or a Greek tyranny, one could understand that a little gently mockery of an official would be visited with ferocious vengeance.

      But for God’s sake, this is supposed to be Britain!

    • Minority Of One

      Can you please give us some examples so we know what you are referring to?

      • Patsy Millar

        Still couldn’t send to defence fund but have sent a donation directly to you through paypal.

    • mods-cm-org

      Both links seem to be working OK.

      The method for entering the amount is quite quirky: when you click on the ‘£0.00’ figure, you can’t delete or replace the characters, as you might expect. Instead, the cursor moves to the right, and typing a numeral will display that digit in the rightmost position (rather than, more conventionally, the left). So if you type ‘5000’, it will register as “£0.05” then “£0.50”, then “£5.00” and finally “£50.00”.

      • Patsy Millar

        Thanks for your reply but just ended up sending it directly from paypal. Don’t know what the problem with the defence fund was.

      • Patsy Millar

        Thanks for your reply. As per my reply to mods-cm-org just sent directly from paypal.

  • dearieme

    Two of the best features of the old Scotland were her education and legal systems. The SNP has buggered both. Well done, ye nationalists.

    Nationalism needn’t logically be proto-fascist but it turns out that in Scotland it is.

    • Louise Hogg

      Which will suit UK govt no end, as it provides an excuse, to remove the independence of those institutions from London, and complete the colonisation of Scotland.

    • john mckay

      Sturgeon/Murrell and their cabal really are not the SNP. They are hegemonic impostors. They are being shown into the light from behind the skirting boards >no pun intended< where they lurk as the treacherous betrayers they are. They will be gone. That decent nationalism still exists within Scotland. It will prevail. Truth will prevail.
      Not all nationalisms are what Gordon Brown is presently spouting on about. Clenched Fists Across Europe. Will he never just go away and grow thistles behind the manse?

  • Crispa

    It’s trite to describe this situation as Kafkaesque or Alice in Wonderland, but it is in both respects! What sort of justice system is it that allows the same three judges that gave their verdict the authority to be the judges of the rightness of their verdict? Words are difficult to find to describe the absurdity of it all.

    • Wikikettle

      She will be remembered and the case used in legal history, that’s why she is angry. Here today, gone tomorrow, Judged forever.

      • Joseph Mellon

        I think you have hit the nail on the head. The whole Alex Salmond trial and the surrounding process was kafkaesque.
        The people responsible would like to bury the memory: the politicians, the prosecution service, the judges.
        In their arrogance they think further abuse of their positions will secure them safety. They are like a losing poker player in a casino: they keep doubling the bet in the strange hope that the next throw of the dice will make it all go away.

        • Louise Hogg

          And they forget that some DON’T ‘fear (their) fate too much’, nor are ‘(their) deserts … small’. Some WILL ‘put it to the touch, to win or lose it all’!

          Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

        • Grhm

          Do they play poker with dice, then, in Scotland?
          That strange place just gets stranger and stranger…

    • Ian

      What they, Sturgeon and Dorrian in particular, can’t stand is being exposed to the light of scrutiny. Craig did with the Assange case, and of course the Salmond case, which has clearly infuriated them to the point that the only account of the defence is now censored. And once again Craig, in his own case and to his eternal credit, gave his readers as much of the legal documentation, charges and information as he could. You can feel their fury at being held up to the public gaze, their actions and motivations questioned. In their world, they are supposed to act in covert and unchallenged ways, hiding behind their positions of authority. Their reaction says it all, particularly when faced with an honest and painstakingly accurate account of their nefarious actions. Craig, like all the other media, was supposed to be cowed, intimidated and silenced. Instead he quite diligently and without prejudice reported the facts of these cases.
      Clearly they can’t have that attitude of conscientious reporting and commenting spreading, and exposing their hidebound, self-gratifying practices and biases. So Craig, instead of being processed in line with the gravity of the offence (if you believe there ever was one), is to be physically and mentally punished for his crime of honesty and accuracy. Just to make sure there are no others thinking of the same subversive methods. It is a horrendous stain on Scotland’s reputation, and will be viewed as the actions of a tinpot, retributive medieval state.

    • Tom Welsh

      Lewis Carroll hit the right note in “Alice in Wonderland”. The trial scene in Chapter 12 is distinctly reminiscent of recent proceedings.

      ‘Let the jury consider their verdict,’ the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.

      ‘No, no!’ said the Queen. ‘Sentence first – verdict afterwards.’

      ‘Stuff and nonsense!’ said Alice loudly. ‘The idea of having the sentence first!’

      ‘Hold your tongue!’ said the Queen, turning purple.

      ‘I won’t!’ said Alice.

      ‘Off with her head!’ the Queen shouted at the top of her voice.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    There should be a fundamental consideration that given the time-frame of the sentence and the period for the appeal to be heard, the sentence would have been completed. If the appeal is allowed then such a victory would be pyrrhic.
    A stay of execution of the sentence, given the nature of the offence and the time-frames involved for the appeal to be heard, should provide an eminently reasonable basis for due process to be afforded an opportunity to operate in a just manner.

    • Louise Hogg

      ‘Reasonable’, ‘due process’, and ‘just’ don’t seem to have featured here for some time…

    • Ian

      I have no idea, but if Craig goes to jail and is at a later date exonerated, I would hope he sues the arse of them, and then, should he wish, use the money to set up a centre for journalistic excellence which will accurately reports politics and the law in Scotland.

      • Ron Soak

        In such a circumstance the very minimum charge which should be levelled against these Parish Guardians is malicious prosecution. A charge containing its own implicit contempt of court procedures and processes element.

        What was it the Queen in Carroll’s story liked to shout out?

  • Joseph Mellon

    Lady Dorrian seems to be already ‘damaged goods’ in terms of career advancement, even if she gains the favour of Nicola Sturgeon.
    She is already up for a ‘legal kicking’ by more senior judges, whether those judges be in the UK Supreme Court or the European Court of Human Rights.
    Although when one considers that the Lord Advocate contiunes in office despite admitting to malicious prosecution, and the atrocious state of Scottish Justice, she may well get away with it, dragging Scotland further into the mire.

  • AnneDon

    This is quite frightening from the point of view of justice in Scotland. Justice denied to one of us is denied to all of us.

    However, I would take issue with the final paragraph. Nothing I have seen of her appointments suggests that a failure to do your job properly is a hindrance so long as you agree with her and support her views.

  • John O'Dowd

    “It is widely expected, given the obvious animus against Murray she has shown throughout the proceedings, that leave to appeal will be refused and Lady Dorrian will commit Craig Murray to jail…”

    And well she might feel animus towards him:

    He reported honesty on the (successful) defence in a case over which she (mis)presided;

    His report enabled those who read it to see precisely why the charges were thrown out by an honest jury;

    This is precisely the type of case in which Ms Dorian is conducting a political campaign to have juries abolished – and who can doubt that she would have seen guilt where the jury saw no such thing;

    He correctly identified the case as politically motivated and vexatiously brought;

    And, most unforgivably, he called out the corrupt Crown Office as precisely that – and cast discomforting (for the legal and political establishment) light on its dysfunctionality, perversity, dishonesty and preening corruption;

    And beyond even that, he had the damned temerity to mount a defence against the arbitrary powers of a judiciary that is not accustomed to challenge in an area (contempt) which they use perniciously to silence dissent and to scare the citizenry – including one might add, any member of the legal profession who acts towards them in any manner whatsoever short of grovelling.

    This explains both the Ceaușescu-esque looks of pained, outraged surprise (describe above) when it became clear that their normally unchallenged writ would be subjected to external scrutiny.

    “Animus” is likely too tame a word for it.

    With their bogus titles ( mi- Lord and mi- Lady Shit), and exercising powers under “The Crown” along with their imperious swaggering, and their unaccountable appointments mainly from the so-called upper strata of the Edinburgh haute bourgeoisie, they represent a last redoubt of unchallengeable Feudalism left in Scotland, acting on behalf of its Unionist sponsors.

    It is beyond time for a fundamental change in how our legal system is organised, structured and manned, and brought under genuinely democratic accountability. And that latter most certainly does not include the right of a deeply discredited head of the Colonial Administration in Scotland appointing a wee pal to head up the Judiciary – and for that wee pal to so openly canvas for appointment to the post – and damn the innocent!

    • Paul Mc

      Out of curiosity, John, is Dorrian’s title of “Lady” merely a courtesy title appended to female judges of that rank, or is she actually a member of the aristocracy?

      • John O'Dowd

        Courtesy title Paul.

        A hangover from when the judiciary was yer actual aristocracy – with a Lord literally lording it over the peasantry – which is precisely the attitude adopted by their present day successors who are drawn almost exclusively from the Faculty of Advocates – and who, mysteriously as with Ms Dorian, are predominantly privately educated, awfully posh, and totally detached from the lives and concerns of the folk they sit in judgement upon.

        This and other factors related to Scotland’s social predicament as a colonial possession, means that we have the highest jail population pro rata in Europe, and not coincidentally, some of the worst poverty and social deprivation – invisible to the denizens of New Town Edinburgh salons, who sit in judgement – Lord it – over them.

        • Bill Craig

          Is there not a desperate need for some specific moves to reform our legal system? I wouldn’t expect anything from the current government at Holyrood, but I’ve long wondered if there might be a campaigning organisation established to look at what is obviously a big problem with its roots in our authoritarian history. I know there is the Scottish Legal Action Group, and I wonder if a number of us might join that with the intention of adding some political muscle rather than “re-inventing the wheel”.

          • Ian

            Imagine an independent Scotland, with a clean slate, looking at building state institutions from the ground up. The end of privilege, secrecy and the class bias in appointments. A fine thing. However, can you imagine the likes of Sturgeon or her acolytes having the imagination and drive for social democracy even contemplating such issues? No chance, they want to keep all this stuff and exploit it to the hilt. They are far too comfortable with things as they are, and benefit too much from the status quo. Which is why they are completely unsuitable and incompetent at the most basic concepts of independence, and what it would entail.

        • Alf Baird

          Professor Michael Hechter’s work on UK internal colonialism informs us about what is an ethnic division of labour in Scotland (Wales and Ireland), hence a mostly anglophone unionist elite hegemony controls the nation’s institutions. In this environment the Scots speaker, who is prevented by these institutions from even learning his own language, is inevitably considered as inferior and subordinate, whether in a classroom, a job interview, or a court. In this we see ethnic discrimination and prejudice due to colonial oppression – which in addition to societal inequalities also explains what is the highest prison population per head in Western Europe.

          As Albert Memmi reminds us: “every colonial nation carries the seeds of fascist temptation in its bosom. What is fascism, if not a regime of oppression for the benefit of a few? The entire administrative and political machinery of a colony has no other goal.”

          The UN regards independence as decolonisation. The Scots are only just beginning to understand what independence is and why it is necessary.

  • Republicofscotland

    This is a travesty of injustice, you’d have gotten a fairer hearing in North Korea, its a vendetta against you by you know who, she is determined to imprison you, and her puppet judge as you mentioned will receive her reward of the top spot for unlawful services rendered.

    As for this its spot on “effectively decided to break for the border and get the case out of corrupt Edinburgh” you haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell in Scotland we’ve had political persecutions for a while now – you, Mark Hirst, Stu Campbell, David Llewellyn etc. – and the HCB will only see more folk in the dock. Freedom of speech, and the freedom to report the truth are under attack in Scotland as are women’s rights.

    You may well become a political prisoner in Scotland – what a corrupt wee country Scotland has become!

  • Republicofscotland

    Can you not do a Carles Puigdemont and leave temporarily, or have they taken away your passport? We know the verdict and the coming imprisonment is a miscarriage of justice, the UK isn’t in the EU I’m not sure if EAW are in effect in the UK after Brexit. Go to Strasbourg if you can and plead your case, for if you stay here you will surely go to prison, and you’re not in good health. From there what happens is anyone’s guess.

    • 6033624

      But they’d lap that up. His name would be blackened forever with no chance of an appeal and he would definitely be extradited as no country would accept this as a ‘political crime’ even though that’s exactly what it is.

      • Republicofscotland

        But would it not get it out into the open, and allow others countries to examine his unsafe conviction without a jury or the full use of documentation for his defence.

        I doubt his name would be blackened let alone forever, Carles Puigdemont, Clara Ponsatí, their names weren’t blackened, in fact if anything their reputations were enhanced for being able to stand up to to injustice against them, and they were only able to do so from afar, they couldn’t have achieved anything from the inside of a Spanish prison cell.

      • Tom Welsh

        And the Americans are capable of kidnapping anyone from anywhere. (With the possible exceptions of Russia and China).

    • DunGroanin

      Should have read this before posting my instant reaction.

      It’s a fabulous article by the way.

  • 6033624

    I am saddened by all of this. Craig’s facing jail and has no immediate remedy, he will do the full sentence and be smeared by that forever more, job done. After failing to convict Salmond, and I read all of the now-banned reports, on evidence that was obviously ‘troubling’, it seems Dorrian wants to ensure that no innocent party could ever ‘escape justice’. I do firmly believe that many men get away with these offences because of a poor justice system but removing juries and removing the accuser from being at all questioned is no longer justice of any kind at all. Presumption of innocence and the benefit of the doubt must always be given to the accused, improvements in how police investigate crimes is what’s needed; many crimes simply don’t make it to court when they should – in Salmond’s case the opposite was true.

    I hope that Dorrian allows that Craig be kept at liberty meantime. If she doesn’t then it may be worse on her – even two years down the line.

    • Squeeth

      Dorrian (Grey) doesn’t want better cases made against suspects, she wants to deprive the accused of a defence, how fascist.

    • Tom Welsh

      “I do firmly believe that many men get away with these offences because of a poor justice system…”

      Or perhaps because such accusations are intrinsically difficult to decide one way or the other. Often it is “he said, she said” (perhaps I should add “or ‘he said, he said’ or ‘she said, she said’ to fit in with the spirit of the times) and I can’t see any fair way of arriving at the truth.

      Just because we very much want to punish crime, we mustn’t assume that we always can.

  • Wally Jumblatt

    I cannot believe that the legal profession in Scotland -assuming they are of the highest personal and proefessional integrity- are standing by and letting Sturgeon’s Kangaroo Courts destroy the reputation of hundreds of years of a system of Scots Law, respected around the world.

    I’m sure in the olde days, some wise heads would hint to the like of Wolffe & Dorrian that they were bringing the game into disrepute and they would wander off-stage for good.

    Where are they now, what do they think, and how do they plan to recover the situation and the impartiality of the Law.
    To let things get to the stage where the Supreme Court in London gets to have the final say, is surely a slap in the face.

    • bevin

      For hundreds of years Scots law has been a bulwark for the ruling class and the Empire. I suspect that the only difference between the treatment generally accorded to its victims and that being meted out to Mr Murray is that he is in a position to fight back, above all by publicising the actual workings of the system and employing the most skilled counsel.
      The English legal system is bad enough, it could be argued that the Scots system is even worse.

    • PhilM

      There’s a lot of people stating that Scots law has been respected around the world…does anyone have any evidence for this proposition?

      • Alf Baird

        Evidence for the opposite proposition is perhaps contained within the Treaty of Union itself which specifically enshrined the Scottish legal establishment’s ongoing status and privileges, in return for giving up the nation’s sovereignty; an thay bide in the auld pairlament itsel! In many respects the Scottish legal establishment therefore became the real seat of power within Scotland post 1707, and un-elected to boot. And it is they who are still drafting any laws that waft their merry way through any devolved arrangement. Working class Scots sort of figured this out a while back, as reflecting Fanon’s view that: “…in the colonies the native has always known that he need expect nothing from the other side.”

    • Jo1

      The reputation of the Scottish Legal system was destroyed long before this in the Lockerbie case.

  • john dann

    Observing from the west coast of Canada one still gets a chill up the spine. The authoritarian streak pervades the whole world. We in Canada are not isolated from that. For example we have the Meng Wanzhou extradition case, which is clearly a political case with Canada’s fine judicial system acting the part of lapdog to the USA.
    Craig is being used as a political pawn in a small country determined to block the truth from being published or heard. That Ms Dorrian can see herself as accuser, judge and executioner in this case on her path to promotion and honour is a disgrace to all in your small northern country, but some of the rest of the world is watching with a chill up the spine.

  • DunGroanin

    We all understand THEIR game. They want CM to abscond to Europe like the Catalonians – and then claim the Pyrrhic victory as the Lockspittles throw the ‘running away so must be guilty card’, like they did with Assange.

    Yup they are so dumb – ‘it worked before let’s do it again.’

    It’s a hard call. But so is few months in a prison.
    It really ought to be house arrest – even if they are crass enough to use a ‘bracelet’.


  • Giyane

    I was thinking about recent reports of endemic sexual exploitation in British fee paying schools. When I was at one in the 70s and then at Oxford university in the 80s it was open and explicit amongst the teenage brats we were that all the girls outvthere in similar institutions were 100 % available low hanging fruit.
    That was the culture then and apparently now.

    In the light of that , both in the case of Baraitser a d Dorrian, is it not conceivable that they both sufferers institutional sexual abuse and it motivated them both to become lawyers. You can’t pick on the people who abused you at the time, but you can pick on people that have been labelled as sexual abusers by the British State like Assange and Salmond or Craig.

    The ones doing the labelling for HMG are probably those institutional abusers st school and university.

    Picking on an easy target who has a list of thought crimes on his MI 5 file as long as a novel by Tolstoy, might be a form of revenge of sorts. But picking on innocent people does not stop the on going abuse of teenagers by their contemporaries.

    The rich and priveledged cannot be curtailed by the police and society. Only the political targets of the British State can be hounded like foxes. Two wrongs certainly don’t make a right. Both of these female judges need to take a long hard look at themselves.

  • Andrew Ingram

    … acceptance of anonymous tweets claiming to have found out from Craig.
    You questioned whether they did find out, you could also ask whether they already knew and they were part of an effort to manufacture evidence after the fact.

  • M.J.

    I understand that Charles III admired the conservation area of Loch nan Uamh. I’ve only read of it, but it sounds like a good place to recharge one’s batteries during the weekend.

  • john scouller

    There is no justice system in Scotland. If you take on the establishment, ie the corrupt judges ect and expose them. You have very little hope of winning. The people of Scotland are sovereign, We are above the corrupt. We should be deciding how our justice system works.

  • Frank Waring

    A previous commentator said ‘Kafkaesque’ or ‘Alice in Wonderland’….. What these events bring to my mind is RLS’s ‘Weir of Hermiston’, in which Archie Weir’s father is a Scottish judge so blinded by his own judicial and intellectual power that he is no longer able to behave with human decency towards even his own family, still less the poor wretches who are brought to face him in court.

    • john mckay

      Archie Weir, like Dorrian and her ilk, are not true intellectuals. Merely egotistical specialists.

  • NotARobot

    Which amount needs be supported through donations to date? Please let us know so we can back you up as much as we can.

    I propose we plan to regularly wear HMP escape suits in case we’re forced to express our support from the outside.

    Long May You Run.

  • stuart mctavish

    Good luck Craig.

    One problem with positive law – which is presumably the direction progressives hope to take it – is that when it gets caught up in insanity, it becomes not only fully divergent from natural law but also risks losing much of its core strength and value in so far as it can no longer be respected as the law of the most powerful – quite the reverse, in fact.

    In this particular case potential drivers of the descent into chaos include the accusers anonymity (which by extension has created victims where there were adjudged to be none), touchy-feely legislation, the recent political and malicious prosecutions, a possible attempt to sabotage the career of Lady Dorrian (or women in general), and your being at liberty pending Monday’s hearing despite any relaxation on incarceration pending appeal (/leave to appeal) being necessarily contingent on the appeal having a good chance of success – i.e. the judge has already decided, de facto, that she (and/or her colleagues) got it horribly wrong at trial!

    Since aggravators also include the cumulative effect of uncommon covid, and an emotive political environment on multiple fronts, an easy retreat for Lady Dorian and all involved might be to consider the sentence as starting on the day of the guilty verdict, allocate double time to that served pending transfer to HM accommodation, and give the rest of the time off for good behaviour. That way any further attempts to bring Scots law into disrepute can perhaps be mitigated with reference to at least one genuine attempt to avoid adding (more) ludicrous politically motivated incarcerations to the charge sheet..

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