The award winning journalist-cum-MSP Russell Findlay, the former Tory shadow justice spokesman, who has been following the growing scandal of the conspiracy by senior members of Police Scotland and the judiciary to prosecute, at any cost, those involved in the downfall of the former club, raised the issue in the Scottish Parliament this week.
It is not often that I will say something nice about a Tory, but Russell Findlay is exactly the sort of man you would want in charge of Scottish justice. As a journalist, he was courageous in calling out gangland thugs and digging where no-one else was brave enough to go.
It cost him too, as he was the victim of an acid attack on his own doorstep for which a gangland enforcer stood trial and was later imprisoned.
On top of that, Russell is one of the very people outside Police Scotland who continues to probe a spate of firebombing attacks in various parts of the city, a cycle which includes a cowardly attack on our own chairman, Peter Lawwell, which this site has written about before.
Russell Findlay was also the journalist who, whilst with The Sunday Mail, broke the story of how a murder may have been committed inside Ibrox Stadium, in 2004.
“A shocked eyewitness has described how a leading UVF loyalist was murdered at Ibrox Stadium – and his death covered up. William Taube’s head was smashed against the marble floor of the Edmiston suite inside Rangers’ ground,” he wrote at the time, in an article you can still find today.
He would go on to re-tell that story in Acid Attack, the book about his career and the attempt to silence him which I mentioned a moment ago.
Russell Findlay is the Real Deal, and he has been raising uncomfortable questions about the ongoing Ibrox scandal for quite a while now, but this week put Nicola Surgeon under real pressure when he pointed out that the only two people we know to be guilty of something in this whole murky affair – a senior police officer and a Scottish sheriff – have been allowed to quietly resign.
Reports suggest that the officer, Detective Chief Inspector Jim Robertson – who was actually promoted whilst all his “work” was being exposed in courtrooms – could pocket a £200,000 pension pot.
The Sheriff also gets to quit and walk away with his own pension secured. In the meantime, as Findlay points out, when he first raised this issue 18 months ago the damage to the public purse stood at around £24 million. It is now £51 million.
Robertson and his buddy Sheriff Wood – both fervent “Rangers men” – conspired together to make sure that six individuals, including David Grier, Paul Clark and David Whitehouse of Duff & Phelps and Craig Whyte himself were all charged, taken to court and then cleared with the evidence against them labelled shoddy at best and at worst corrupt.
Tens of millions have paid in compensation to these guys, guys who in my view all had questions to answer in relation to their activities.
Now those questions can never even be asked because of judicial venality and police over-reach which had nothing to do with getting justice for the tax payers who were already out of pocket by millions, but was done in the name of revenge for their football team, wounds which were self-inflicted.
It is a national disgrace and one that keeps on growing. Nicola Sturgeon should be under pressure over it, because the two people most responsible for this colossal failure have walked away with their “reputations” intact and their own pockets bulging.
She has promised an independent inquiry, which simply cannot be held in Scotland if we’re to avoid even more of this. Amazing that in a country where we know the judiciary acted out of bias, and the police acted out of bias that we put such faith in mere referees.
God alone knows what a public inquiry will cost, but it cannot end without recommendations that some of the people directly responsible lose more than just their pensions. To be frank, some of these people should be in jail.
Well done to Russell Findlay and his efforts at keeping this in the public eye.
What has happened here is a scandal so vast that we’re nowhere near getting to the bottom of it yet, which is why I do support a public inquiry regardless of how much more tax payers money has to be squandered in the process.
This can of worms needs to be opened wide.