Heavy Is The Crown

Kenny MacAskill MP examines issues facing Scotland's Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and says it is time to finally separate the Executive, Parliament, and Judiciary from each other.

Heavy Is The Crown

Is the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service of Scotland institutionally corrupt? I don’t believe so, but it’s certainly a troubled organisation.

The cost and reputational damage to it from the Rangers FC case are of a magnitude never seen before, and the actions in the Alex Salmond case and related actions by the Lord Advocate and Crown Agent have called its independence into question.

There must be structural change and individuals must be held to account.

Very many have served in the COPFS, whether in its current or previous incarnations. They’ve done so in a variety of forms from modest clerical positions through to the roles of government Law Officers, as the Lord Advocate and Solicitor General are decribed. They’ve invariably done so from a sense of public duty and with an intention of upholding the integrity of the post.

They were good and principled people, as are the overwhelming majority of those currently serving. Good work is done by the organisation not just in prosecuting in the public interest but in a variety of civil matters, from investigating sudden deaths through major public inquiries to monitoring charities.

It’s the actions of the Lord Advocate and a coterie surrounding him that are tarnishing the entire institution. Judgement, competence and even the role itself are now called into question.

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