Your Man With the Petition: My Appeal Against Imprisonment for Journalism, 23 February 167

UPDATE The Cabinet Minister who the judges met, delaying the start of my appeal, may have been Dominic Raab, Lord Chancellor and Justice Minister of England and Wales. Raab was in Edinburgh that day discussing with the Scottish Government the Tory plans to ditch the European Convention on Human Rights. What Lord Justice General Carloway said was that the hearing was delayed because the Scottish Government had called to set up an unscheduled meeting with a cabinet minister. We had all presumed he meant a member of the Scottish cabinet; perhaps not.

Secondly, my former QC John Scott has been in touch to say that he had no doubt that my sworn affidavits were accepted as evidence in the case, and that was the outcome of his discussions on the matter with the Crown. As I said below, I had found the Crown’s assertion to the contrary baffling.

Both these points highlight the extraordinary fact that there is no official recording or transcript of the court proceeding and the public were excluded. Our offer to have a transcript taken and produced at our own expense (as is done by the Assange legal team at his hearings) was also refused.

I should stress that this is not unusual; we were told it is the rule that there are no recordings or transcripts of such proceedings in Scotland. So what happened is whatever the judges say happened, and there is nothing that can be produced to prove otherwise. The more I go down the dark hole of Scotland’s legal system, the more it stinks.

26 February 07.13 END OF UPDATE

Today I was the “petitioner” as my appeal was heard in Court No. 1 of the Court of Session by the nobile officium. This sounds like something from Harry Potter, perhaps an annex of the Ministry of Magic, but is actually the Scottish legal system’s appeal court of last resort.

Here I sat very much as a last resort, getting through the last required hurdle before I can appeal to some judges at Strasbourg with no part in the Scottish Establishment.

Five judges presided, headed by Lord Carloway, the bulldog-jowled Lord Justice General. To his left sat the tall figure of the kindly looking and bespectacled Lord Woolman, and further left Lord Matthews, who looked so strikingly like an old drinking friend of mine from Dundee, that I kept being disconcerted it wasn’t him. To Lord Carloway’s immediate right was Lady Paton, a bright-looking lady, who had an air of intense concentration and took copious notes. On the far right, the bench was completed by Lord Pentland, very engaged, constantly leaning forward, moustache bristling, as though itching to do all the talking himself. Which from time to time happened.

All wore Gilbert and Sullivan costumes and long wigs that looked frightfully uncomfortable. I felt for them.

Proceedings started one hour late. Lord Carloway opened by apologising to the court. The case had been delayed, Lord Carloway stated, because the bench had received unexpected intimation from the Scottish Government that a cabinet minister was coming to see them on an important matter. They had therefore had to delay and meet the minister before starting the hearing.

That is what Lord Carloway said. I faithfully report it. He did not say the cabinet minister’s visit had any connection to my case. He did not say it had no connection to my case. It might have been about judicial appointments, refurbishing courts or covid restrictions, for all I know. Urgent enough to cause an unscheduled cabinet minister to dash, and justify a delay to the hearing.

Roddy Dunlop QC, Dean of Faculty (which is a big deal among Scottish lawyers, head of the profession) then arose to present my case. Dunlop has a delivery of relentless logic, driven home by piercing blue eyes, but disconcertingly has a haircut which must entail going into the barber and saying “Cliff Richard circa 1963, please”. Dunlop’s horsehair wig has to perch behind the quiff.

Dunlop had been planning to speak for two hours, but interruptions from the bench were in the event so constant that he spoke for well over three. I published the written submission he had put in, and do urge you to read it – it is more entertaining than you might imagine. I shall not repeat here points he made from the written argument, except where necessary to explain a judicial intervention.

He opened by saying that this was a unique case. We knew of no precedent in Scotland for a journalist ever having been jailed for contempt of court. He then went on to say nice things about me, detailing my diplomatic career and positions I had held of great responsibility. He said that I had become a whistleblower, revealing terrible abuses of torture and extraordinary rendition, and in that respect had given evidence in person before committees of the Westminster Parliament, European Parliament and Council of Europe.

The bench looked to me particularly unimpressed by this; I am not sure they like whistleblowers.

Roddy Dunlop went on to say that I was a journalist, who had published articles in many mainstream media newspapers, but whose output was mostly published on my blog. That did not however make me any less of a journalist. I was fulfilling the role of a “public watchdog” on matters of public interest, as defined in judgments by the European Court of Human Rights.

I had a genuine belief, which I still held, that Alex Salmond had been the subject of a plot to prosecute him on false charges, and I had an article 10 right under the European Convention on Human Rights to publish that, as a matter of the highest public interest. That had to be the starting point for considering this case.

Both Lord Carloway and Lord Pentland queried whether I could be considered a journalist. Dunlop said that the ECHR case he quoted specifically included bloggers as enjoying the same protection as “public watchdog”.

Dunlop then argued that the test of strict liability in the Contempt of Court Act applies exclusively to publication of information which could interfere with a trial; it specifically does not apply to breaching an order on identification, where on the contrary there has to be an element of wilful disobedience of the court. He cited the Act itself and several cases.

Lord Carloway interjected that the act of publication was itself a deliberate act. That was the intent. Dunlop replied that there was no dispute that the articles were deliberately published; but that was not the same as that they contained intent to identify.

Lord Carloway queried whether this could be true even when the articles were obviously identifying.

Dunlop said yes, intent was crucial. Otherwise, if for example a protected complainer stated that they had been assaulted in a taxi on a certain date, and subsequently someone posted the taxi receipt online as routine public accounting for expenses, that person would be liable for jigsaw identification despite having no intent.

Lord Matthews asked how the court could know if the receipt had been posted maliciously.

Dunlop then moved on to the second ground of appeal, that the court should not have disbelieved the evidence given in my affidavit without cross-examining me and giving me a chance to answer questions on which they had any doubt. He described this as necessary to a fair hearing and natural justice.

Dunlop referred to Lady Dorrian’s judgment, which stated that evidence in my affidavit cast doubt on my claim to have no intent to reveal names. Dunlop stated that was far from a finding beyond reasonable doubt that I had intent to reveal names. The judgement had therefore not found intent to the criminal standard required in law.

Lord Carloway said the Court had no evidence before it that my affidavit had ever been accepted by the court as evidence at all. There was no joint minute to that effect, and there should have been. Dunlop said that indeed it would have been better if there were a joint minute, but that could hardly be held to be the petitioner’s fault. Lord Carloway asserted twice more that there was nothing before him to indicate my affidavits formed evidence in the case, and Dunlop repeatedly asserted that plainly they were evidence. Not to cross-examine was the Crown’s choice.

Dunlop said I had given this evidence by affidavit, as was frequently the case nowadays. My senior counsel had then informed the court that I had nothing to add but was available to answer any questions from Crown or Court. Lord Carloway said that offering to answer questions was not the same as submitting to cross-examination. Dunlop said it was the same. Lord Carloway said no it was not; I had not entered the witness box. Dunlop said that there had been no witness box: it was one of the early virtual hearings, I was not in a courtroom, and that may be some of the cause of procedural confusion.

There was then a slight break while I confirmed to Dunlop that counsel had said I was present (virtually) to be questioned by Crown or Court, and both Prentice and Dorrian had stated they did not wish to ask questions. Dunlop confirmed with Crown senior counsel Alex Prentice QC that this was indeed what had happened.

Carloway then said that witnesses were often not cross-examined in civil cases; it did not mean their evidence was accepted. He added that evidence “may be so manifestly untrue as not to require cross-examination”.

I recall Lord Pentland as saying this, but my notes say Lord Carloway. Either way, I had the distinct impression they intended this to convey their opinion of my own affidavit as “manifestly untrue”, and viewed it as closing the question.

Dunlop seemed somewhat thrown by the relentless negativity from the bench and the suggestion that my affidavit was so manifestly untrue as not to require cross-examination. He concluded that it remained his submission that, where the defendant faced imprisonment, they had a right to have doubts put to them, for them to give an answer that may change the view of the court.

Lord Carloway replied that the Crown’s scepticism of the defendant’s affidavit had been fairly put in the Crown’s written submissions.

Dunlop then moved on to the third ground of appeal, that the court had adopted too narrow a test in finding that identification had taken place to a section of the general public, such as work colleagues, whereas the correct test in the Act was to the general public, the public at large.

Lord Carloway said that it was obvious that the complainants were all close to the former First Minister; therefore very little extra information could identify them and great care should be taken. What if, for example, the parliamentary committee had been able to identify them? Would that in Dunlop’s opinion be a sufficient test?

Dunlop replied it would not. The parliamentary committee were not the general public, and had a great deal of other information available. Dunlop stated that my difficulty had lain in explaining what had actually happened in the Salmond trial, and what Salmond’s defence was, while still protecting the identities, as I had explained in my affidavits.

Carloway replied that the mainstream media appeared to have no difficulty in covering the trial without publishing identifying information. Dunlop said that he would question that. The mainstream media published similar information to the petitioner. Dani Garavelli in particular had published a great deal of identifying information. Yet none of these were prosecuted.

Dunlop had said the unsayable. The judges had all displayed simultaneous physical reactions to this, which in the nearly empty courtroom was particularly noticeable.

Lord Carloway said that Dunlop had said this case was unique. That was because the mainstream media knew how to avoid committing contempt. That is why there were no instances of the mainstream media being prosecuted for jigsaw identification. Lord Pentland reiterated that the reason no mainstream media were prosecuted was because they understood the law.

And at this point we broke for lunch.

After lunch, we reverted to the question of whether I ought to have been cross-examined before being disbelieved, on which Dunlop had found another precedent, which plainly said so, during the lunch break. Lord Pentland stated that it was common practice for a witness not to be cross-examined and then for their account to be dismissed as incredible. Lord Carloway said that it was frequently the case in criminal cases that complainers were not cross-examined by the defence on the grounds their evidence had no weight.

We then went back to the question of what was the proper test for identification. Lord Woolman observed it was “a tricky one”. He asked Dunlop what then the proper test should be? This struck me as the first open question asked of Dunlop, not phrased in terms of overt hostility.

Dunlop replied that the proper test should be whether, in combination with material that was already fully in the public domain, somebody had wilfully published the last piece of the jigsaw in order to enable identification.

Dunlop went on to give two examples. In the first, he stated that in their open and public opinion on whether my petition to the nobile officium was eligible, the court had stated that I published that a complainer had been nominated to a named parliamentary constituency. This was inaccurate. Had I published that, and had the complainer in fact been nominated, we accepted it would indeed have run a grave risk of identification to the general public. What I had in fact published was that she had been – unsuccessfully – seeking nomination. That fact was not available to the general public and only known to a small number of people within her own party.

I cannot explain the second example Roddy gave without repeating information Lady Dorrian found to be identifying. It was of a similar nature in relating to information only a very small number of people would know and which the public could not find. Lord Woolman asked how this was squared with google. Dunlop replied that information of the class he was describing was not available to a google search. Dorrian was therefore in error in finding it to be identifying.

Dunlop then moved on to his fourth ground, that of the article 10 right to freedom of speech. Dunlop said that this case represented the biggest single interference with freedom of speech in the modern history of Scotland. There was simply no precedent for jailing a journalist like this. Somebody with no criminal record and a history of public service, fulfilling a public watchdog role, had been jailed for eight months. Despite having a heart condition and a weeks old baby.

Lord Pentland intervened to say that this could be because there was no precedent for the committing of such a large contempt. It was also in the unique context of the Salmond case, in which there was unprecedented public interest and therefore unprecedented need to protect the complainers. That would explain the unique consequences.

Dunlop said that to jail a journalist must be necessary in law and consistent with democracy. The law must also be foreseeable. It was impossible for a journalist to know what pieces of the jigsaw might be known to a small group of people, and therefore to know if he was providing the last piece. Lord Pentland replied that was why extreme care must be taken. Dunlop said the care could become so extreme as to have a chilling effect which made any effective reporting of sexual assault cases impossible.

Dunlop then moved on to his fifth ground of appeal, that many of the identifications found by Lady Dorrian had never been alleged by the Crown or mentioned in proceedings; so the defence had no chance to rebut them. This was heard in comparative silence.

The Crown then opened, and Alex Prentice QC, a dry and inoffensive man, spoke very briefly. He said that the Crown had already set out its position in its written submissions (I am told I am not allowed to publish these). The Crown had alleged intent against me and the court had plainly found intent, so the question of strict liability did not in fact arise.

Lord Pentland came in to help Prentice by suggesting a precedent case to him, not in the bundle of authorities, which indiicated intent was not required. Pentland asked if that case might be useful to support his assertion that there was no need to prove intent. Prentice agreed, and said “we” had been discussing that very case over lunch. It was not plain to me who “we” were.

On the question of my not having been cross examined, Prentice stated that he had personally held a number of meetings with my then QC, John Scott, to discuss evidence. These meetings were covered by confidentiality, but the crown had “certain concerns” about my giving evidence. It had therefore been agreed between the counsel that my affidavits would be entered, and I would not be cross-examined: but this did not mean that my evidence was accepted.

I was much startled to hear that.

Prentice stated that on what was the correct test for identification, the Crown had alleged that I had embarked on a publication of a course of articles designed, when taken together, to reveal identities to the general public. This was accepted by the court and no question therefore arose. Furthermore the Crown had alleged that, taken together, all of the complainers were identified by all of the articles combined. It was therefore not necessary for the Crown to have cited each individual example of identification.

Lord Pentland said that contempt of court was a summary procedure anyway so there was no need to consider these questions.

Theoretically what happened next was that Dunlop had a chance to rebut. However he was so interrupted and overwhelmed by the bench, that my notes at this point seem to consist almost entirely of what the judges said.

Lord Pentland said that Dunlop had claimed it was unique for a journalist to be jailed, but the circumstances of the Salmond case are unique, and it was essential that the identities of complainers in sexual assault cases be protected, for fear of deterring other victims from coming forward.

Dunlop said we had always accepted that, and the Salmond case was also of unique public interest.

Lord Pentland said that we were looking at a course of conduct by a person who Dunlop had stated was a highly educated man who had held responsible positions. But these were aggravating factors not mitigating factors. He said that the need to protect identities had been stressed to the public and reiterated “Mr Murray’s previous positions of responsibility are an aggravating factor in his conduct”.

Dunlop cited an ECHR ruling which stated that journalists should not be imprisoned, except in extreme circumstances such as hate speech or incitement to violence. In this case, the appropriate punishment would have been a fine.

Lord Pentland said that this case was analogous to hate speech and incitement to violence; and my sustained campaign to reveal the identities of these women could indeed have incited violence or social media hate against them. Dunlop said no such thing had happened and there was certainly no such intent.

Lord Matthews said that the protection quoted in the ECHR case extended to investigative journalism and this was not investigative journalism. It said this applied to press offences, but was this a press offence? Was I a journalist?

Lord Woolman asked whether, if I could be called a journalist, did that mean just anybody could be a journalist who published on social media?

Dunlop replied, anybody who was fulfilling the role of a public watchdog, according to the European Court of Human Rights. Lord Pentland said that particular judgement appeared to refer to NGO’s rather than individuals. Dunlop said it specifically included bloggers. Pentland said he thought it mainly meant NGO’s but they would look at it.

Lord Carloway said that it was not plain this was a press offence. In mainstream media cases, the contempt was always acknowledged and an apology proffered. However in this case, a key factor in the sentence had been my “total and utter lack of remorse”, which continued.

Dunlop said it was my position that I had not intended to identify anybody. Lord Pentland said that it was common practice for sentences to be increased for lack of remorse from those who insisted on protesting their innocence after conviction.

Dunlop said my position was that I never intended to identify anybody; I had attempted to protect identities and I believed I had succeeded in that. Nobody had in fact been identified. But I would indeed be very remorseful if identification had occurred. Carloway asked, in a tone of incredulity, if we were saying that nobody had been identified as a result of my articles. Roddy Dunlop said that was indeed what we were saying. There had never been any credible evidence that identification had occurred. Carloway said he would find that most unlikely.

And that was it.


That is my best shot at a fair description of today in court, leaving out anything said that could identify a witness in the Salmond case. It is of course my perception, and a distillation of a full day, and in the circumstances I can hardly be unbiased. It is not my fault the court excluded the public from attending and so limited your access to other perceptions.

We will get a written judgement in probably around a couple of months. Of course judges can be testing an argument or playing Devil’s advocate. But my honest perception was of real hostility from the court. I think you will find the above is a fair guide to what the judgement will say. My perception is that judges’ hearts were worn on sleeves today.

The attempt to claim that my affidavits have never been accepted as evidence in the case is chilling.

My affidavits, of course, state the grounds of my belief that not only was there a plot against Alex Salmond, but that the politically corrupt Scottish prosecutorial system was a part of the plot. They list the documents I had seen, in the possession of the Crown and which the court refused to disclose, that led me to understand the plot. They name Salmond’s accusers and explain their roles (which part I have never published), and outline the roles of Peter Murrell and Sue Ruddick. The links to Nicola Sturgeon are outlined.

It is therefore unsurprising that the Crown had “serious concerns” about my evidence and did not want to cross-examine me in public and give me the chance to justify it.

It is more surprising that there is now an effort to claim my affidavits do not form part of the case at all. Carloway stoutly maintained they were not evidence. When we go to the European Court of Human Rights, those affidavits will be seen by judges who are not a part of the Scottish establishment. But if the affidavits were never evidence in the case, then they cannot be presented at Strasbourg.

How the judges can maintain my affidavits, given under oath, were not evidence I do not know, especially as they are repeatedly referred to in Lady Dorrian’s judgement. How could the court judge evidence which did not exist? I have never had any expectations from this court, but this is a key point I shall be looking for in this judgement.

I am afraid that I am going to have to renew my appeal for funds to help with the legal costs. Fighting these kinds of actions is simply crippling. Your dedication to freedom and support have so far saved me from personal bankruptcy, but we now need to raise a further £80,000 immediately – of which we readers have very kindly donated over half since I made the renewed appeal two days ago.

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167 thoughts on “Your Man With the Petition: My Appeal Against Imprisonment for Journalism, 23 February

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  • Ian

    Well, if it was Raab, that is very interesting. And would tie together his well-known hostility to European institutions and the Scot gov’s desperation not to be humiliated in Strasbourg. Once again we see the interests of Sturgeon and Westminster aligning, and potentially colluding. Craig has been, as usual, transparent in his plan to take it to Strasbourg, They know they are probably on a hiding to nothing, which may also unravel those things they are desperate to keep secret from the public. So let’s make a plan to make any evidencd Craig has inadmissible in Europe. What is the point of having 5 judges on the bench? You would have thought to ensure a variety of opinion and argument, in order to arrive at a fair judgement. Instead they appeared to have a remarkable unity of opinion, much of it derived from unsupported assertion and opinion – funny that they were so aligned, no, and were so uncomfortable with a closely argued and supported case, for which they had little answer except denial, and a Dorrian-like crystal ball into the defendant’s mind and motives.

    • Greg Park

      Yes, if it was him the intervention would be highly significant. It makes me wonder about the backgrounds of these appeal judges. Were they also directly appointed by Nicola? Or just elite Unionist Establishment Scots, highly suggestible to influence by English Tory ministers?

  • Robert Dyson

    “But these were aggravating factors not mitigating factors”. This has been in my mind since reading your report. This implies to me that the mind of the judge is already made up that you are guilty of deliberate identification; it does not fit with an unbiased review of the case. In any case for me “responsible positions” is an indication that you are a responsible person, circumstantial evidence, as your lawyer intended and as any sensible person would interpret it.
    No transcript is absurd.

    • Robert Dyson

      I see my previous post was there. The web site seemed to disappear when I tried to post earlier. I assumed those against you were trying to block your report.

  • Mist001

    Tell you what I got on this site earlier, which I’ve never had on here before was a ‘redirection’ from Cloudfare.

    To visit this site, usually I go Google > Craig Murray > Click on the link which is the first returned and I’m directly onto this page.

    This morning, it went Google > Craig Murray > Cloudfare > then redirected onto this site.

    I’ve encountered Cloudfare numerous times in the past on other websites and I associate it with being a protective ‘layer’, preventing DDoS attacks which makes me wonder, is Craig’s site coming under attack?

  • Jim

    “Total and utter lack of remorse” about…not being guilty of anything.

    Dorrian’s reliance on non-membership of IPSO is a blatant admission that there is no evidence to convict on.

    That and the “lack of remorse” guff….pure deflection.

    Keep going Craig. So much depends on standing up to this.

  • Deepgreenpuddock

    The essence of this case, as anyone who cares to look knows, is the freedom to report on matters of public interest by an individual, as opposed to the ‘regulated’ or ‘authorised’ press with a range of editorial processes.

    Somehow an individual is not a legitimate source of information without some prior history in the journalism sector. The lines of demarcation here are very diffuse. Dani Garivelli (an individual), is excused close attention because she published through a traditional medium, material that even in a cursory examination, was very similar to that of Craig Murray, informationally if not stylistically. Indeed the identity of one of the Alex Salmond accusers was revealed to me by that Scotland on Sunday article rather than by my preceding reading of the Craig Murray material.

    Apparently certain outlets have legitimacy conferred upon them by some unspoken process.
    One then wonders why these traditional print media are regarded more highly by a small cohort of the Scottish judiciary than say the Guido Fawkes blog or the Jonathon Cook blog.
    The position in singling out Craig Murray by Lady Dorrian for punishment is palpably inconsistent and unfair, but more worryingly not set out in a coherent intellecually satisfactory way.

    There is another fine distinction – that of ‘comment’ and that of ‘fact’. Most online blogs veer more to comment and opinion than factual reportage. For instance one would go to a blog for opinion about (say) the war in Ukraine whereas one might go to a large organisation such as the BBC for ‘facts’ and reportage.
    Factual reporting tends to be confined to the large media organisations because of the resource issues.

    I thought that it might be worthwhile to remind everybody of that other great injustice – the treatment of Julian Assange

    • Squeeth

      It’s a spurious distinction and I’m not surprised that the appeal judges seem bent on legitimating Dorrian rather than hearing a case. I bet the real point of this is to subtly invalidate testimony before the ECHR and tactically bankrupt Craig with an expensive diversion. Good job it’s payday on Monday.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      I kind of think that the distinction is probably based on the fact that the big MSM titles have in-house lawyers checking every story for potential legal ramifications before releasing them for print/uploading. Mr Murray is having to rely on his own judgement.

      That doesn’t mean that the in-house lawyer is any better than Mr Murray in this regard, it just says that the MSM have an ass-covering exercise in place to say: ‘well the lawyers said….’

  • Darren

    “Both these points highlight the extraordinary fact that there is no official recording or transcript of the court proceeding and the public were excluded. Our offer to have a transcript taken and produced at our own expense (as is done by the Assange legal team at his hearings) was also refused.“

    – as a practising lawyer in Canada this is astounding. I nearly spit my coffee and fell off my chair. How can they even be considered a court of record.

  • Clark

    Commenters and other readers, has Craig’s appeal been reported in the court-approved, corporate media?

    We have a few lawyers who read and/or comment here: I presume the legal profession has its own “trade journal” websites or whatever; is this appeal getting any coverage and/or discussion there?

  • Clark

    It seems wrong that the judge in the Salmond hearing was the same judge as in Craig’s contempt case. Lady Dorrian already knew who all the complainers were, so of course she would recognise them in Craig’s articles. She would also recognise them in, say Dani Garavelli’s articles – but Garavelli hadn’t been accused.

    “Objective test” indeed! Is it possible to be objective about a question when you’re already intimately familiar with all the answers?

    • Rhys Jaggar

      I suspect she was appointed knowing what result she was expected to deliver.

      I remember the Clive Ponting case in the 1980s when a member of the Government told the press that ‘they hoped that a suitably severe member of the Judiciary would be on hand to hear the case’….

      Not surprisingly, Ponting’s lawyer issued a statement which for sheer diplomatic calm was off the Richter Scale…..he basically said that the Government was potentially in contempt of court and that, basically, the whole UK judicial system was about as bent as two pound note.

  • Jim Dryburgh

    Not every Journalist wants to be a slave to the Right wing press barons so just as a joiner can go self employed why not a Journalist who can create a Revenue stream with his blog. Ludicrous that Craig was not considered a Journalist but a mere blogger. Also with no official recording of the Court Proceedings this could easily descend into a He said She said argument. Pathetic really.

  • Olly Perry

    The whole rotten stinking carcasses of our legal and political systems are laid bare here in this case in all their putrefying, corrupt glory. Rule Britannia indeed. They all need to be bulldozed into the sea, used as breakwaters or rubble for coral to grow on. The law lords just continue this charade with their outdated costumes, ridiculous wigs and archaic language, giving vain hope but no doubt primed in advance to ensure any attempt to question the probity of the establishment’s judgement is cut off at the knees. Why would they not look at the affidavit? Why dammit? Why was it initially left up to one woman’s opinion (a woman who clearly had a conflict of interest having failed to get Alex Salmond convicted) to send this man to jail? It was a cruel act, knowing his heart condition and young family. There used to be a phrase that said a man was innocent until proven guilty? Surely this would engender at least some curiousity as to what the man accused actually said, especially since it was signed under oath? No? I am fed up to the back teeth with how people like Craig Murray, clearly a decent man with a conscience, are treated by the establishment. How it is assumed he was lying and is still lying, no matter what he says or does. If anything, this case shows how completely unfit for purpose the current judicial system is. Craig Murray should have had the right to trial by jury. He should have had the right to be cross examined on his affidavit. He should have been accepted as a journalist – whatever that term means nowadays as those purporting to be journalists in the msm seem to be merely recorders of what they are told. He should definitely not have been sent to jail, for his health issues and the fact that this was clearly a show trial, a shot across the bows and an example of overreaching state abuse to crush freedom of speech and cast doubt in the minds of all investigative journalists. At least now the gloves are off and we have seen what we are up against. Truth will always find a way. I needed this rant, I am furious. Good luck with the appeal, Craig.

  • Brian Smith

    That is just appalling, Craig. I have read your submission document in full, and though I am no lawyer, I am an intelligent man with an engineering degree and many years of ‘common sense’ (I am now 75!) and I can see the logic in all that you have stated. To state that your evidence, given under sworn affidavit, has no value because they have ‘serious concerns’ about it, which allows them to discount it completely without cross examination, is a complete travesty of justice.
    I trust you will stay strong and maintain your belief that truth will out.

    • Wikikettle

      Stay strong Craig. Hope to meet you one day, perhaps at your music festival. Till then. Second contribution on way today as promised.

  • caltonjock

    I added a third donation of £100 to the fund and published an article to my blog

    The judgement of Lady Dorrian

    The arbitrary judgement of Lady Dorrian introducing a division of accountability between journalists of the “new media” and “mainstream media”, needs to be challenged and set aside since its retention as a legal judgement will establish dangerous precedence in Scottish law. The glaring flaw in her pronouncements is that control of media is retained by Westminster and online safety legislation is clearly at odds with her views.

    2021: The online-safety-bill-journalism-safeguards

    The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport confirmed that citizen journalists will have the same protections for their work as professional news providers.

    2014: Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General

    The High Commissioner stated that sound, bold and independent journalism was vital in any democratic society. It drove the right to hold and express opinions and the right to seek, impart and receive information and ideas; it ensured transparency and accountability in the conduct of public affairs and other matters of public interest; and was the lifeblood that fuels the full and informed participation of all individuals in political life and decision-making processes.

    The Security Council, in its resolution 1738 (2006), the General Assembly, in its resolution 68/163, and the Human Rights Council, in its resolution 21/12, had all condemned attacks against journalists. They had called upon all States to act on their legal obligations to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists so that they were able to perform their work independently and without undue interference.

    States must create an enabling environment in which the rights of journalists and other members of society could be fully respected, with clear and public agreement by officials that issues of public interest could, and should, be examined and discussed openly in the media.

    On the question of who could be considered a journalist, the High Commissioner confirmed that, from a human rights perspective, all individuals were entitled to the full protection of their human rights whether the State recognized them as journalists or not; whether they were professional reporters or “citizen journalists”; whether or not they had a degree in journalism; and whether they reported online or offline. In this context, she reminded the Council that the Human Rights Committee had, in its general comment no. 34, defined journalism as “a function shared by a wide range of actors, including professional full-time reporters and analysts, as well as bloggers and others who engage in forms of self-publication in print, on the Internet or elsewhere”.

    When fear prompts journalists to self-censor, the free flow of information is impaired, and the public is deprived of reliable, critical and independent information. States had both a duty to respect and a duty to protect journalists, who should be able to carry out their work unhindered and without fear. Governments were called upon to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists, online as well as offline, so that they could perform their work independently, without undue interference and without fear of censorship, persecution or prosecution. This required political will, as well as legal and judicial measures, but also the fostering of a culture of respect for the critical role of the media in any democracy.

    Speakers noted that bloggers, online journalists and citizen journalists played an important role in the promotion of human rights. Threats and attacks against such actors, including through their unlawful or arbitrary detention, were condemned. Delegates stated that the protection of journalists should cover all news providers, both professional and non-professional.

    Full article here:

  • Baritonewriter

    This may be naive, but my understanding is that the basic essence of a court hearing before judges is that the prosecution and the defence state their cases to the judges who then consider and pronounce on the evidence provided. What has happened here is that the judges have not only rejected evidence from your side, but have gone out of their way to assist the Crown’s representatives by presenting their own pieces of evidence in support of their case. Can this process therefore not be said to be not just a miscarriage of justice but an abuse of process which could/should be more helpful to you when you get to the ECHR?

  • Amrit Lohia

    Your case seems to be strongly supported by the recent English decision in McNally v Saunders [2021] EWHC 2012 (QB) (16 July 2021), where Chamberlain J said at [70]-[76]:

    “The Sandwell Skidder is not part of the mainstream press or media. Its focus is narrow and local. It is not regulated. Mr Saunders is not a formally trained journalist. Although he is apparently assisted by others, there is nothing to suggest that his posts are reviewed by an editor. The content of the posts themselves suggests the contrary. Given their frequently puerile tone and style, a casual reader, whether in Tipton or anywhere else, might be surprised to discover that they are the work of a semi-retired former solicitor. In my judgment, however, none of these features disentitles them to the protections afforded by the law to journalistic expression. The enhanced protection which Article 10 gives to such expression is not limited to those in the mainstream or conventional press or media. Even if it were possible reliably to identify outlets falling into this vague category, there is no reason of principle why publications that fall outside it should, for that reason, receive lesser protection from the law.”

    He continued:

    “Some of the older authorities refer to the importance of “the press” as “public watchdog”: see e.g. Observer and Guardian v United Kingdom (1999) 14 EHRR 152, [92]. Over the last two decades, however, there has been a transformation of the media market. Print journalism has faced serious economic challenges. Many newspapers, and particularly local newspapers, have gone out of business. At the same time, there has been an explosion of online writing by individuals and groups fulfilling some of the same functions without the training or institutional structures of traditional print or broadcast journalism. The problems posed by this are well documented: see e.g. Rusbridger, Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why it Matters Now (Canongate, 2018). But the solution cannot be to restrict the law’s enhanced protections to the dwindling number of outlets that make up the “traditional” media.

    The European Court of Human Rights (“the Strasbourg Court”) has recognised this. In the context of the Article 10 right to receive information, the Grand Chamber noted as follows in Magyar Helsinki Bizottság v Hungary (2020) 71 EHRR 2, at [168]:

    “The Court would also note that given the important role played by the internet in enhancing the public’s access to news and facilitating the dissemination of information, the function of bloggers and popular users of the social media may be also assimilated to that of ‘public watchdogs’ in so far as the protection afforded by art.10 is concerned.”

    There is no reason why the position should be any different as regards the right to freedom of expression, the primary right guaranteed by Article 10.

    This is consistent with s. 12(4) of the Human Rights Act 1998, by which Parliament conferred special protection on “journalistic material”, which is left undefined. This formulation focuses attention on the nature of the material being published, rather than the credentials of the author. “Journalistic material” is to be identified by its subject matter, not its author, nor the process by which it comes to be published.

    As I have indicated, a survey of the blog posts in which the material about Dr McNally appeared makes clear that she is one of the many individuals who have been subject to Mr Saunders’ critical attentions. The factor linking these individuals is that each is connected in some way to the Council. In this case, the material published is said to be relevant to the exercise of Dr McNally’s public functions. In these circumstances, the content falls within the category of “journalistic material” for the purposes of s. 12(4). That being so, the Court is required to have regard to the importance of the Convention right of freedom of expression and to the extent to which “it is, or would be, in the public interest for the material to be published”.”

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