The following was what my MSP Bill Kidd wrote to the Justice Secretary asking for a review of SCCRC on my Behalf:
Cabinet Secretary for Justice
Ministerial Correspondence Unit
St. Andrews House
Tuesday 3rd March 2009
Review of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
I am writing on behalf of a constituent, a Mr. William Beck, whose case I, along with Iain McKie and Alex Neil, prior to his recently becoming a minister, have been involved with since July 2007.
Mr. Beck was convicted of assault & robbery in 1982; subsequently serving four years of a six year prison sentence. Mr Beck has unremittingly contested this conviction, on the basis of a number of failures of legal-procedure and discrepancies relating to his case.
Having served his prison-term, Mr Beck applied to have his case referred for appeal by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC). The SCCRC, however, came to the decision that Mr. Beck’s case would not be referred for appeal.
Mr Beck believes that SCCRC has been inconsistent in terms of which cases it will accept for appeal and which it will not; finding that evidence accepted as grounds for referral in some cases has not been accepted in others.
With regard to the above, I wish to enquire, on behalf of Mr. Beck, about the potential for an independent review of the SCCRC. The SCCRC was established with the expectation that it would, after five years, be subject to external review to evaluate its role, remit and the extent to which it has been achieving its aims. Thus far the SCCRC, since its establishment in 1999, has undergone no such review.
Having contacted the Scottish Pariliament Information Centre, I have been informed that the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which operates in England and Wales and corresponds to the SCCRC, has underwent review of sorts on a number of occasions, having submitted evidence, when asked, to the Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons.
As such, I would be interested to know if the SCCRC is to go through a review procedure in the near future, how comprehensive such a review would be and what form it would take.
I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to discuss this issue, in person, in the near future.
I look forward to hearing your response in due course.
Bill Kidd MSP
Despite this letter and Bill Kidd being of the same party as Mr MacAskill, MacAskill did not have the decency to give Bill a two minute meeting regarding the issues raised.
What chance does anyone have of Justice when the Justice Secretary refuses to look at matters of justice when called for from his own Party Members.
Surely he should be jumping at the chance to sort out the mess left behind when labour departed instead of inheriting and continuing to cover up the problems deeply seated at the roots of our Justice System.
I think it is time Kenny MacAskill hung his head in shame and does the decnt thing by hanging up his coat and giving the job to someone less bound by the Law Society, In other words someone not a Lawyer