Criminal Law

Taylor & Kelly were instructed by Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi the Libyan convicted of involvement in the Lockerbie bombing.  This was the largest criminal case in Scottish criminal history.  Read about Taylor & Kelly’s involvement in the Lockerbie case here.

Taylor & Kelly have been involved in many reported decisions in their litigation on behalf of accused persons in Courts throughout Scotland.

Armit v O’Donnell 1999 J.C. 289; 1999 S.L.T. 1035; 1999 G.W.D. 24-1129 was an appeal on behalf of a client of Taylor & Kelly and the requirement under the law of Scotland of corroboration.  Here the question for the Court was whether the presence of the accused at the locus of a crime sufficiently corroborated an admission of involvement

McCusker v Speirs 2003 S.L.T. 1263; 2003 S.C.C.R. 437; 2003 G.W.D. 21-626 was an appeal taken against the imposition of a sentence following upon breach of a community service order.  It was argued that the many, detailed provisions in regard to the making of such an order required to be complied with, failing which no proceedings could be taken for breaching the order

Gracie v HM Advocate 2003 S.L.T. 217; 2003 S.C.C.R. 105; 2003 G.W.D. 1-10 concerned the absence of corroboration required in a criminal charge.  An accused had proffered an apology but it was not ascertained to precisely what that related to.  Conviction quashed.

Fisher v HM Advocate 2000 S.C.C.R. 926 was about a challenge to a criminal charge on the basis that Article 6 of the European Con Human Rights (right to be tried within a reasonable time) had been breached.

Hendry v HM Advocate 2001 J.C. 122; 2001 S.C.C.R. 59; 2001 G.W.D. 2-88 concerned an appeal taken to the High Court of Justiciary about the failure to uphold a challenge to a criminal indictment on the basis that an unreasonable time had elapsed between charge and trial (Article 6, European Convention on Human Rights)

Taylor & Kelly have been involved in a number of high profile and significant appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.  A right appeal was created in the Scotland Act 1998 in connection with devolution issues – the convention compatibility of the actings of the Lord Advocate and other Scottish Ministers – to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Ruddy –v- Griffiths 2006 SC (PC) 22, 2006 S.C.C.R. 151; 2006 SLT 478; 2005 S.C.C.R. 134 (HCJ) 2005 JC 210, 2005 SLT 131 where the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council held that principle of acquiescence applied to a bill of suspension presented to the High Court of Justiciary challenging the use of temporary Sheriffs presiding over criminal convictions.  The subsequent devolution minute in Mr Ruddy’s criminal process from Airdrie Sheriff Court was referred directly from that court by the Lord Advocate in terms of paragraph 33 of Schedule 6 to the Scotland Act 1998.  The Lord Advocate successfully persuaded the Judicial Committee to overrule its previous decision in R v HM Advocate.  See below – Spiers v Ruddy

Sinclair v HM Advocate 2005 SC (PC) 28; 2005 SCCR 446; 2004 SCCR 499(HCJ); 2004 SLT 794 concerned a devolution issue regarding the failure of the prosecution, prior to the commencement of a criminal trial, to disclose evidence of the police statements of a crown witness.  The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council held this to be a breach of Article 6 ECHR which vitiated the fairness of the trial.  It quashed the conviction of the appellant and recast the Law of Scotland in relation to disclosure, described by Professor Peter Duff as “Sinclair and Holland: A revolution in ‘disclosure”’, 2005 SLT (News) 105).

Speirs v Ruddy [2007] UKPC D2; [2008] 1 A.C. 873; [2008] 2 W.L.R. 608; 2008 S.L.T. 39; 2008 S.C.C.R. 131; [2008] H.R.L.R. 14; 2007 G.W.D. 40-700; The Times, December 31, 2007, concerned a referred devolution issue from Airdrie Sheriff Court directly to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council by the Lord Advocate under a power contained in the Scotland Act, to overrule previous settled authority on the question of the remedy to be afforded to an appellant  where more than reasonable time had elapsed.

See Delay, expediency and judicial disputes: Spiers v Ruddy Edin. L.R. 2008, 312

Tony Kelly: ‘Spiers v Ruddy: Delay is Dead’: Scottish Criminal Law, September 2008

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