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Scottish High Court of Justiciary Decisons
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> Scottish High Court of Justiciary Decisons >> Robbie the Pict v. Her Majesty's Advocate  ScotHC 12 (13 March 2003)
Cite as:  ScotHC 12
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APPEAL COURT, HIGH COURT OF JUSTICIARY
Lord Justice Clerk
Appeal No: Misc. 117/02
OPINION OF THE COURT
THE LORD JUSTICE CLERK
to the nobile officium
ROBBIE THE PICT
HER MAJESTY'S ADVOCATE
Respondent: Docherty, QC, AD; Crown Agent
13 March 2003
"the opinion and procedural conduct of the Lord Justice General Lord Cullen was sufficiently flawed in law to invite a well-informed observer to conclude that a miscarriage of justice has indeed occurred".
The decision complained of was a decision to dismiss as incompetent an earlier petition to the nobile officium by the present petitioner to have a decision of the court dated 16 December 1999 set aside.
Further preliminary points
(i) Lord Kirkwood's participation
(ii) Masonic connections
"Have you ever taken the oath of entered apprentice at first degree for the purpose of entering into Masonic association, or are you obliged by any expectation of loyalty which has the potential to produce an imbalanced judgment in a tribunal such as this?"
The petitioner conceded that masonic membership does not per se disqualify a judge from participation in this case; but he argued that nonetheless each of us had an obligation to disclose whether or not he was a freemason. A failure by a judge to do so would lead a reasonable observer to suspect that the judge could have a higher loyalty (Remli v France, ECHR 1995/510/593, at para. 48).
The Speculative Society
Submissions for the petitioner
"In the past the University has, of course, made several famous but abortive litigious attempts to put right what it considered to be an untidy state of affairs. It is unlikely that these attempts will be renewed in the foreseeable future - not so much because the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor are honorary members of the Society as because the University realise that their chances of success in the courts would be somewhat slim. There was a time when it was said that if you hadn't belonged to the Speculative you couldn't hope to become a Senator of the College of Justice. That is not entirely true today but there are still a considerable number of speculators in the Court of Session. We all know, of course, that the judicature is icy in its impartiality, which is one of the chief glories of this country, but perhaps this impartiality would be strained to breaking point where the Speculative is concerned and the University are probably aware of this" (pp. 96-97).
Submissions for the Crown
Conclusions on the facts