Comment on Tangled Up In Blue by Stephen O’Donnell (Book Review) by easyJambo.

    JC and I attended the latest appeal hearing in the cases of David Whitehouse and Paul Clark's action against the Lord Advocate at the Court of Session earlier today.

    Unfortunately today's proceedings had little to do with events following the administration and liquidation of RFC, but were focused on legal arguments about whether the Lord Advocate and his staff in the Crown Office (Advocate Deputes, Procurator Fiscals and Procurator Fiscal deputes) should have immunity against civil claims for damages.

    The appeal was heard by the Inner House of the Court of Session with five judges on the bench, viz. Lord Carloway – The Lord President, Lady Dorrian – The Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Menzies, Lady Paton and Lord Brodie, so was close to the most senior bench available to the court.

    Roddy Dunlop QC for Whitehouse and Douglas Fairlie QC for Clark argued that the case law needed updating to reflect the current situation.The current case law, which provides the Lord Advocate with virtually absolute immunity, was set in 1961 in the case of Hester v MacDonald.  It was argued that only the USA and Scotland continued to offer such immunity, while England, Ireland, Australia, Canada and South Africa did not. There were references to cases in each of those jurisdictions which highlighted why the prosecutors should not be given blanket immunity.

    There was half an hour at the end of the day when Gerry Moynihan QC, acting for the Lord Advocate started his submission on why immunity should continue.  He made one very odd statement, saying that the immunity policy came into being in order to ensure that 999 prosecution staff acting in good faith should not be subject to claims because of 1 prosecutor who acted in bad faith.

    It seemed a weak argument given that the 999 would not be subject to a claim if they indeed acted in good faith.

    The hearing continues at 10:30 tomorrow (immediately following the announcement of the CoS decision on the merits of the appeal against proroguing of parliament). 

    I sensed from the interventions of Lady Dorrian, in particular, that overruling/updating the case law from Hester will be a difficult challenge, and that the case could end up in the Supreme Court.

    Dunlop and Fairlie were keen that the case should go to proof (trial) so that the facts of the case can be heard in order to show malice and lack of probable cause by the Crown Office, as the alternative was that such immunity if confirmed would necessarily mean that there would be no remedy for a wrong.

    easyJambo Also Commented

    Tangled Up In Blue by Stephen O’Donnell (Book Review)
    A couple of court cases next week that will be heard together by the Inner House

    Tuesday 10th September
    Summar Roll (4 days)
    A293/16 Paul Clark v The Chief Constable of Police Scotland &c – Kennedys Scotland – Scottish Government

    A295/16 David Whitehouse v The Chief Constable of Police Scotland &c – A & W M Urquhart – Scottish Government

    Tangled Up In Blue by Stephen O’Donnell (Book Review)
    wottpi 3rd September 2019 at 16:47


    As you point out, politicians will always act in a way that they believe will appeal to their electorate and not pose a risk to continuation of their own elected position.

    For info:   The Bury CVA proposal indicated that HMRC was owed £1,158,850.45. HMRC voted against the CVA.

    Tangled Up In Blue by Stephen O’Donnell (Book Review)
    The EFL and its clubs appear ready to make up new rules as they go along in the Bury case.


    The English Football League is to discuss Bury's future with its member clubs following efforts to reinstate the Shakers in League Two next season.

    Bury were expelled from the EFL on 27 August after a failed takeover bid by C&N Sporting Risk.

    Bury North MP James Frith has called for the Shakers to re-enter in the fourth tier for the 2020-21 season.

    Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Police has said it is investigating an allegation of fraud involving the club.

    No arrests have been made.

    In a statement, the EFL says the "only current established procedure" for entry to League Two is promotion through the National League.

    However, it added that "in acknowledgement of the extreme nature of the problems" at Bury, the EFL board had "agreed it is appropriate to discuss the matter with member clubs" and those talks will take place in the coming weeks.


    Recent Comments by easyJambo

    In Whose Interests
    Another €570,000 in Rangers coffers following their win tonight.

    Celtic will receive €190,000 for their draw.


    In Whose Interests
    Timtim 19th September 2019 at 16:48

    The way Brazil is talking it sounds like an unknown matter and the Ashley situation is already in the mainstream so could be more issues in Sth Africa that really do render him impecunious . He specifically points the finger at King so is unlikely to be the Wavetower issue as that would affect all shareholders and is more specific to Green.King knew exactly what he was doing by failing to get a Nomad and leaving his actions free of scrutiny , we will just have to wait and see what skullduggery he has been up to this time.


    I've had a look at the last set of accounts for Sebata Holdings (the new name for Micromega Holdings) for the full year to the end of March 2019. As far as we know, King's business investments in SA are predominantly held in that company. 

    King's family trust (Laird Investments) owns 63.3% of the shares in Sebata.

    At today's share price and exchange rate, the company is worth £26m 

    The valuation of Laird's investment is therefore around £16.5m.

    The company made a net profit of £8.5m in the year to March 2019.

    However, they made a dividend payment of  £18.7m. The resources to pay the apparently excessive dividend appear to have come from the sale of the NOSA subsidiary which realised £33.7m in April 2018, with a reported profit on disposal of £16.5m. Laird would have received £10.4m from the special dividend payment as a result.

    We know from the TOP machinations that King funded the "confirmation of funds" from that special dividend payment.

    In summary, King's SA investment is diminishing in value year on year, although he should still have more than £10m in liquid funds from the special dividend (before tax that is mail). 

    The fact that New Oasis (King) has written off £8.5m of loans in RIFC in exchange for shares of questionable value in the last 12 months leaves his residual wealth relatively limited when compared to his purported spending via TRFC. 

    In Whose Interests
    John Clark 18th September 2019 at 23:54

    easyJambo 18th September 2019 at 22:21

    '.. I don't believe that Hearts needed a DOF role..'


    eJ, I have only the vaguest notion of what a Director of Football is, or what his 'powers' are.

    Isn't  CL merely an employee? As 'sackable' at the Board's pleasure as Caldwell today or indeed any football manager?

    Or does being a 'director of football' give him the status and voting power of a Board member holding a significant number of shares?


    The role of a DOF varies from club to club. As we saw with Mark Allan at TRFC he had responsibilities for recruitment, scouting, and some elements of the academy and that was it.

    At Hearts, CL has responsibilities for recruitment, the academy, coaching, scouting, succession planning for the 1st team coach and an overarching view on the style of play adopted at all levels. As befits his title Ann Budge appointed him to the HMFC Board, although he is not a shareholder.  All that occurred before he became 1st team coach in succession to Ian Cathro after he was sacked after 9 months in charge, finishing 5th in the league, and having a poor start to the new season.

    CL has seen Hearts finish 6th in each of his two seasons in charge, his saving grace being reaching a cup final last season, albeit with the aid of the easiest draw imaginable. Hearts currently is on a run without a league victory since March, that equals the worst in its long history. That is why there are protests. It's not just a 5 game run this season

    His removal as an employee (first team coach) should be no different to any other club's non performing manager, assuming he was paid off for the remainder of his 3 year contract that he signed when he became 1st team coach.  His removal as a director would probably follow voluntarily   It could of course be forced, with a motion to a GM or AGM, if he chose to hang on.

    In Whose Interests
    theredpill 18th September 2019 at 21:58

    I see Ann Budge's statement regard craigie went down like a lead balloon with the Hearts fans that's a pity I was optimistic she would bring something different to football,but the bland patronising statement seems to show she is the same as the rest ,cares not a jot about the fans .


    Oh she does care ……….. but only if you fall into a particular category and agree with her..

    "I address to all genuine Hearts Supporters"

    I don't think I qualify as being genuine enough.  Mainly because I don't believe that Hearts needed a DOF role, far less CL as first team coach.

    Looking at Hearts fans' reaction to the statement, I think many would find it patronising and misses the point of deteriorating performances for a much longer period than the 5 games that she refers to in the statement.

    In Whose Interests
    Timtim 18th September 2019 at 13:59

    update from BDO regards that holding company in liquidation


    I can't see any update via that link since the report to creditors on 10 June 2019.

    HMRC's agreement to drop the "penalties" claim was contained in that June report. Ongoing discussions with Henderson & Jones was also noted in that report 

    There was an update of sorts in early August, which was discussed on here, with the satisfaction of the Floating Charge that was formerly held by Lloyds and allegedly assigned to Wavetower (TRFCG Ltd).

    That discussion led me to believe that an arrangement had been agreed between BDO and Henderson & Jones, although I have no idea about the material terms of that arrangement or deal or settlement

    The next creditors update is not due until early December.