Herald Letter Published 12-7-00
What is going on in Scottish justice? You report that the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission uniquely has to take the Crown Office to the High Court in an effort to force release of documents relevant to the “Glasgow Two” (Plea to release Ice Cream Wars files, July11)?
Does the Crown Office not want justice to be seen to be done? What interests can be served by concealing possibly vital information while two men, who have protested their innocence for 16 years, fester in jail?
So far the only senior politician to have advanced their case was a former Scottish Secretary who entertained sufficient doubt as to let them out in 1997 on remand for a year. Do we need to bring back Michael Forsyth for justice in Scotland?
Silence is the voice of complicity. It should have no place except in the explicit public interest in an open society. The longer that gatekeepers to the corridors of power furtively block access to the full facts, the more the evidence stacks in favour of Tommy “TC” Campbell’s chilling assertion: namely, that “This is not a miscarriage of justice, but a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.”
Campaign Committee Release March 2000
On October 1984 Thomas Campbell and Joseph Steele were wrongfully convicted for the Doyle family fire murders upon the evidence of a thrice convicted perverter of justice who has now admitted, by recorded interviews and sworn statements, on- TV, and under caution to the police, •to having perverted justice once again in his evidence at the trial of the Glasgow two as part of a deal, with the police and his prosecutor, in exchange for bail and immunity from prosecution on his own unrelated of fences of armed robbery, attempt to pervert justice and attempted murder respectively.
On August 1996, the then Scots Secretary, Michiel Forsyth MP, referred the case to the court of appeal. This reference was based upon the witness Love confessions to perjury at the trial and, which evidence to an eavesdropped conversation in a public house was fundamentally crucial to their wrongful convictions for murder. Lord Kincraig, trial judge, noted •...
Now there is no evidence to say that these accused were near or at the scene of the crime at the time the crime was committed and so the evidence is that of inference from the evidence which is before you.. .which is that of the witness Love’s evidence regarding the conversation in a public house... there is insufficiency of evidence in law to entitle you to convict without his evidence... The crown case stands or falls uppon his evidence, it is theref or crucial to the crown case that you believe him.. .“
... It should be noted that the witness Love’s evidence to eavesdropped conversation in a pub was not corroborated by any evidence, nor supported by any witness in that respect. Further, it was infact refutted by three accused and two prosecution witnesses. Now countless more witnesses, TV viewers, sworn and recorded confessions etc, speak clearly to having over heard HIM confessing that he lied. His first confessions were from 1986...
“..There never was any conversation about that fire in that pub nor anywhere else mate. That was just something that was put into my head by the police for me to say that as part of the deal.. It was all just one big fit-up of a case... It was me who fired that gun at that van, I was the one (Not Gray) I took a double barrel sawn off shotgun and fired it at that icecream van...
His sister, Mrs Agnes Love or Carlton, is further independent evidence in cross check to his confessions to perjury. For not only did she witness his attack on the icecreain van, but she had also provided the police with a full detailed statement of her brothers part in that attack, at the time of the attack (1984) but which crucial police statement remained secret and undisclosed to the defence all those years until 1996 when the case was referred to the court. As result of non disclosure, Thomas Gray was wrongfully convicted ~upon the basis of Love’s false evidence against.1~Am at the trial in 1984... Mrs.WA~1ton states...
“. .It was my brother Billy. I seen him from my window. He’d come to my house with a double barrel sawn off shotgun, about ‘that’ size and said he was going to shoot up Jimmy Mitchell’s van to give him a fright. I seen him do it from my window, but it was the wrong van...
The Scots Secretary’s reference to the court regarded (1) Love’s confession to perjury and, in particular, the significance of his admissions to disch
-arging the firearm at the icecream van. That taken together with (2) his sister’s witness and statement to the police to that effect, were suffice to raise concerns on issues of which it would be more appropriate for the appeal court to reach a final decision.
However, at the appeal court on February 1998 the lord chief justice clerk. Lord Cullen, appears to have somehow managed to overlook Mr. Love’s confessions in that respect and, at page 52 of his opinion states (SLT 940H)
Love does not admit or suggest that he was the person who fired the gun at the van, nor admit that he lied about his patt in the shooting..
He returns to repeat this crucial error of the facts at page 56.(SLT 941K)
“..Since he does not say that he lied as to the extent of his own involve ment in the shooting, in these circumstances, I am not satisfied that the evidence that Mrs Canton would give could support Love’s explanation that he was induced and put under pressure to present false evidence against the appellants....”
Thus on the basis of this error of the facts, Mrs Canton could not ~confirm’ something of which it appeared (to Lord Cullen) that her brother had not admitted. Theref or her evidence was not allowed to be given as independent support to her brother’s confessions to the shooting incident and theref or to perjury at the trial. Further, as the law requires some such independent support, then there was no point in the court hearing the confessions of the witness Love with out her evidence in support. Thus the appeal to have their evidence of perjury heard by the court was refused by Lord Cullen.
Yet the very next judge to give an opinion was Lord Mc Cluskie. In his
Lordships most excellent opinion in support of the appeal, he confirms that
Love had indeed confessed to discharging the gun at the van as his sister
had witnessed and contrary to his evidence against Gray at the trial. Lord
Mc Cluskie paraphrases Love’s in depth confessions in that respect...
• Because it would enable me to avoid being charged myself with attempt murder, of which I knew I was guilty because I was the one who fired the shotgun, I was willing to go along with the plan to present false evidence...” (SLT 948K)
On this basis, he supported the appeal to have the evidence of perjury by the witness Love and supporting evidence of his sister, heard by the
court for full examination under oath...
For should it be confirmed in evidence, then that would entail that a serious miscarriage of justice had occurred...”
That the appeal court 2 to 1 not to allow the evidence of perjury at the onigional trial to be heard, then, in these circumstances, Lord Cullen’s patent error of the crucial facts became one of the essential points on petition to the new Scots Secretary of state, Donald Dewar MP, TO HAVE THE matter referred back to the appeal court to have the case properly and fully dealt with by the court.
Yet although the Scots Secretary confirmed that Love’s confessions to perjury and, in particular, his confessions that he was the one who had fired the gun at the van, contrary to his evidence at the trial. Was infact before him as with the previous Scots Secretary and was before the court from an early stage in the proceedings, as was quoted by Lord Mc Cluskie at the same appeal hearing... Never the less, the Scots Secretary stated that lord Cullen was not in error of the facts because, due to some clerical oversight or other, that witnesses confessions in that respect were not seen as included within the list of documents before Lord Cullen at the time his opinion was formed...??
... The Scots Secretary went on to impose his own opinion in presupposition of that of the court, averring that...
‘...Even if it had been, it is irrelevant and would have had no baring upon his Lordships rejection of Mrs canton’s evidence as independent support of.her brothers confessions to perjury in that respect...”
The Secretary was referred to Lord Cullens opinion as quoted and underlined and after further deliberations the Secretary could “make no final decision” and referred the case to the newly formed SCCRC on April 1999 after 14 months investigation and 16 years of wrongful imprisonment.
Yet where there is proof and supporting evidence that the Glasgow two are wrongfully convicted and imprisoned upon the evidence of a serial perverter of justice, then to further hold these men in prison whilst refusing to allow the fearful fact to be examined under the scrutiny of an open court in a public trial, is a scandal of titanic proportions and a gross travesty of justice entailing a crime against society for the fact that the cover-up is called ‘justice’ in our names.
Where the court and the course of justice stumbles upon such errors and, as result, fails to address those very issues upon which the case was originally referred in the first place. Is it theref or reasonable, just or fair, to hold these men in prison rather than publicly admit the gross travesty of justice perpetrated against them in our names? For, through no fault of their own, but by the perjured evidence of a serial perverter of justice and by misdirection and error in the administration of the law, these men have suffered 16 years of living nightmare, innocent imprisoned in our names and in the name of justice.
It has been more than two years since the crucial error of the essential facts in the opinion of the court of appeal. More than two years of further imprisonment for the Glasgow two while the Scottish office and the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission’s ‘intense and urgent’ priority enquiry can come to no conclusion upon what to do in this case and, whilst the reading of the courts opinion and the research on the stated errors of the facts would take but an hour or so of the average man’s time, in betwean time, justice delayed is justice denied, but justice prevented is justice pervert
-ed and when this is exasperated by the legal administration, it becomes more than a miscarriage of justice, it is an outrage & an outright afrount upon the public. As Thomas campbell Says....
“Where god hath given man taketh away
In boundless arrogant vanity
Lords temporal dare proclaim
God’s given law as their domain..”
By any reasonable account, it is neither reasonable, just nor fair to hold these men in prison without a full and fair hearing for another single day. The SCCRC have a duty and a responsibility, not only to these men and their familys, but to the victims and their familys and to the public, to ensure that to ensure that justice is restored by the referral of this case back to the court of appeal for a full and proper hearing of all the facts and evidence in this case. In the name of justice, equality and fairness for all and, for the restoration of the dignity and confidence in our justice system, this case must be referred to the court for a public hearing that justice might be seen to be fairly done and, not brushed under the proverbial carpet after 16 years of travesty.