Where do i begin, there are so many. I will try to summarise the main points in Shaun's case, but I will add links to some of the press articles that have been written throughout the last 2 years, hopefully they will give some of the detail to you.
The judicial system
There is no accountability, no transparency, and probably hardest to take of all, the entire system is built around the rights of the accused, and not the victims.
The judge in Shaun's case was Lady Stacey, she passed the sentence on Ibnomer of 4 years, plus an 18 month supervision order. This was whats called a cummulo sentence, or a total combined sentence for all of his crimes, he pled guilty to Assault and Serious assault, he was found guilty of Culpable Homicide. For all of his crimes. To this day nobody, including Lady Stacey will tell me what sentence was passed for killing my son. Lady stacey is the only person who can break it down, but she refuses to do so.
The Scottish Sentencing Council, formed in 2015 with an initial remit of producing guidelines for both Murder and Culpable Homicide in Scotland. 3 years later, and nothing, no guidelines for the 2 most serious crimes, and nothing even remotely on the horizon, all of this at the tax payers expense. Why are these guidelines not alraedy in place, perhaps because the Judiciary doesn't want them in place, after all why should they be told what sentences that they should pass down.
The Lord Advocate is the only person in Scotland who can appeal a sentence that has been passed in Scotland. This MUST be done within 28 days of the sentence being passed. However if a defendant wants to appeal a sentence, their legal team has 8 WEEKS to intimate that they want to, and then take as long as they want to bring it back to appeal. Where is the fairness in that system.
The Lord Advocate, Lord Wollfe, must decide wether or not a sentence passed is " unduly lenient", not just lenient, but unduly so. What exactly does that mean, and why should it be one person that decides this. In Shaun's case we launched a petition in the hope that it would put pressure on Lord Wollfe to look into the sentence passed, with almost 70,000 signatures, it worked, he agreed to look at the sentence. After 28 days he decided it was NOT unduly lenient. However when asked on numerous occasions by myself, the COPFS are unable to tell me what sentence was passed on Ibnomer for the killing of our son, they CAN'T tell me the sentence just for that part, but they CAN say that it was not unduly lenient. Where is the logic in this fact, something that has been admitted by Crown Counsel Alex Prentice QC at subsequent meetings.
The entire trial that lasted some 18 days was frought with issues, witnesses not called, no testimony heard on the weapons that were used by defendants, the whole trial was in our opinion totally mis handled. Having met with Crown Counsel Alex Prentice QC on two ocassions now face to face, I still find that there are glaring holes in the entire trial.
We felt that we had a good prosecutor in Tim Niven Smith, however what we did not know at the time of the trial, he was already under investigation for his handling of a previous trial for the mis representation of evidence at that trial. Three judges decided that he had in fact "misrepresented evidence" and the accused in that particular trial was retried.
I asked Alex Prentice on numerous occassions if he was happy with the way that Tim Niven Smith handled the trial, he said he was. However he has still been unable to answer some of our questions, a year now since the trial was concluded.
After being found guilty of misrepresentation, Tim Niven Smith resigned for the COPFS, to my knowledge the last case he tried was Shaun's. He went on to head up the Clutha Enquiry, and this was the point he resigned, as a matter of honour is how it has been described. I asked Alex Prentice for a face to face meeting with Tim Niven Smith, but my request was denied.
These are but some of our issues, and at this date it's over a year since the trial ended, and we still have many un-answered questions.
Our Judicial system is a law unto itself, no accountability other than to itself, no transparency whatsoever, and no guidelines on sentencing, only a Judge will decide a sentence passed , and does not have to justify that decision to anyone. They DO NOT HAVE TO BREAK A SENTENCE DOWN, NOR EXPLAIN THE PRECEDENTS OR PREVIOUS CASES USED TO DETERMINE A SENTENCE, how can this be right in todays open and transparent society. It is one of the last bastions of secrecy we have in our country, and its without doubt a system that needs to be more open, and more transparent to the public at large, after all we are the ones who fund it all.
see below just some of the Press coverage and headlines in Shaun's case