Whatever happened to disrespecting devolution? - John McLellan

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QCLord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC
Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC
In January this year, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain gave a comprehensive statement to the Scottish Parliament about the unfolding Post Office Horizons scandal, making it clear that the Crown Office had been misled, apologising profusely to those wrongly convicted, but emphasising there would be no blanket pardon.

“Not every case involving Horizon evidence will be a miscarriage of justice and each case must be considered carefully and with regard to the law,” said Ms Bain. “It is also important to recognise the important and established constitutional role of our Appeal Court in Scotland and that due process must be followed.”

Preserving Scotland’s distinctive legal system was a condition of the 1707 Union, one which Ms Bain was making clear she was determined to uphold, so it was also a signal to the UK Government that in Scotland the scandal would be addressed through the due process of Scots law.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Had the UK Government ignored her there would be the usual howls of outrage from the SNP, as there were over a second referendum, blocking gender recognition reform and the botched deposit return scheme, but the UK Government backed away from imposing a blanket pardon against Ms Bain’s explicit position.

But according to First Minster Humza Yousaf this week, this is “outrageous” and the UK Government is “using our sub-postmasters and mistresses as a political pawn.”

Whatever happened to “disrespecting devolution”? The poor fellow doesn’t seem to know whether he’s coming or going, so the only charitable explanation is he simply forgot what his Lord Advocate said.