Douglas Mill: Businessmen, they drink my wine



Congratulations to our new Law Officers, Lord Advocate James Wolffe and Solicitor General Alison Di Rollo. Good lawyers both and deserving of their appointments. We wish them a fair wind. On one condition.

White collar crime in Scotland is patently not getting the attention it should. All has been Panglossian in Crown Office over the last few years and worthy initiatives abound, but what has happened to the difficult stuff. The fraud. The tax evasion rather than avoidance. Football club directors, politicians and bankers may be sighing with relief. I do not comment.

But when solicitors are escaping any prosecution for fraud,I do take notice. Why? Surely solicitors collectively should be pleased at that state of affairs. Fireproof? Absolutely not. Try telling that to the good lawyers in Inverclyde.

I used jokingly to tell Diploma students not to steal money, because if they did they would be caught, struck off and end up at Her Majesty’s pleasure. So, if they were going to pinch money, steal lots because they were going to have to scarper to a jurisdiction with no extradition treaty. Which probably means rotten golf courses and beer. And possibly no Skysports.

I am not sure if that advice still holds. Whilst LSS prosecutons do seem to take ages these days, at least they get there. Where are the Crown Office?

The SSDT case I referred to is a case in point. It has caused outrage in the Greenock area. The Tribunal decision (and these are usually careful and circumspect in their language) uses expressions such as ‘blatant and rampant dishonesty’, ‘a serious catalogue of offending’ and, tellingly, ‘embezzled’.

So, Crown Office, not really in the difficult box at all. No POCA/Money Laundering complexities. Just good old fashioned sticky fingers.

And the title? Bottle of Pommery to the first e-mail identifying it.