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 New Chairman to review miscarriages of justice

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Location : Glasgow
Registration date : 2008-09-03

PostSubject: New Chairman to review miscarriages of justice   Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:34 pm

This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007 Jim Wallace

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The appointment of the new Chairman of the Scottish Criminal
Cases Review Commission was announced today.

The Very Reverend Graham Forbes will take over as Chairman
of the Commission from Professor Sheila McLean, the
Commission's first Chairperson, whose term of office comes to
an end at 31 December 2001.

Graham Forbes is currently the Provost at St Mary's
Cathedral, Edinburgh. He has served as a member of the
Commission since it began reviewing alleged miscarriages of
justice in April 1999.

Announcing the appointment, Deputy First Minister Jim
Wallace, said:

"I am delighted that Graham Forbes has agreed to accept this
important appointment. Directing the work of the Scottish
Criminal Cases Review Commission is a challenging task. I am
sure that his appointment as Chairman will help to ensure that
the public can be confident in the Commission's independence
and credibility in dealing with allegations of miscarriages of

In addition, Scottish Ministers have announced that they
will be recommending to The Queen the appointment of the Miss
Ruth Anderson QC, Mr David Belfall and Mr James Mackay to serve
as new Members of the Commission. Existing members, Professor
Peter Duff, Sir Gerald Gordon QC CBE, and Mr William Taylor QC
have been invited to serve on the Commission for a further term
of office.

The Deputy First Minister added:

"I am very pleased that we are able to recommend from a
strong field of candidates people who can bring such a breadth
of experience to the Commission. I am confident that each will
contribute fully to the Commission's work and help to enhance
the reputation of the Commission as a key player in the
criminal justice system."

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission commenced its
operation in April 1999. It is an executive non-departmental
public body which was established by sections 194 A-L and
Schedule 9A of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 as
inserted by section 25 of the Crime and Punishment (Scotland)
Act 1997.

The Commission has powers to refer cases to the High Court
where it believes that a miscarriage of justice may have
occurred and where it considers that it is in the interests of
justice to do so.

Around 120 applications for membership of the Commission
were received. The procedures for selecting the new members of
the Commission and for the appointment of its Chairman were
carried out in accordance with the guidance issued by the
Commissioner for Public Appointments. This guidance, as part of
the monitoring of public appointments, requires candidates to
indicate whether they have undertaken any significant political
activity in the last 5 years. None of the individuals who will
be recommended for appointment, have been involved in any such
activity, with the exception of Miss Anderson who declared that
she had canvassed for the Labour Party in 1997.

By statute, at least one third of the Commission's members
are required to be legally qualified (either an advocate or
solicitor of at least 10 years' standing) and at least two
thirds must have knowledge or experience of the criminal
justice system.

The appointments, which are part-time, will be for a period
of 4 years with the exception of Sir Gerald Gordon who will be
re-appointed until his 75
th birthday in June 2004. The current daily fee for
the Chairman is £372 while that of members is £217.

Biographical Notes:

The Very Reverend Graham Forbes

The Very Reverend Graham Forbes has been Provost of St
Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh since 1990 and was previously
Provost of St Ninian's Cathedral, Perth. He is presently
Chairman of the MMR Expert Group, a member of the General
Medical Council, the Clinical Standards Board for Scotland, the
Historic Buildings Council for Scotland, and the Scottish Board
of the Royal College of Anaesthetists and has previously held a
number of other public appointments.

Miss Ruth Anderson QC

Miss Ruth Anderson, QC has extensive experience of the
criminal justice system. Her practice at the Bar has been
principally a criminal one, defending in the High Court of
Justiciary. She also served as an Advocate Depute from 1998
until January 2001. She has had local government experience,
and has also worked in private practice as a solicitor.

Mr David Belfall

Mr Belfall has spent 13 years in senior management positions
in the Scottish Office/Scottish Executive and is currently the
Head of Housing and Area Regeneration Group. Prior to that, he
had 18 years experience in the Home Office, dealing with
policing, criminal justice, prisons and immigration issues. He
is retiring from the Scottish Executive in March 2002.

Mr James Mackay

Mr Mackay retired earlier this year as Deputy Chief
Constable, Tayside Police. He has had considerable experience
of criminal investigation, and major enquiries with an interest
in forensic science, and has served on national committees
particularly in the field of DNA in police investigation.

Professor Peter Duff

Professor Duff is Professor of Criminal Justice, Law School,
Aberdeen University. He has a detailed knowledge of the
Scottish criminal justice process on which he has published
numerous works. He has also had senior management

Sir Gerald Gordon QC CBE

Sir Gerald Gordon QC CBE, was a Sheriff from 1976 to 1999
and was a temporary High Court Judge between 1992 and 1999. He
was Professor of Scots Law at Edinburgh University from
1972-1976 and Head of the Department of Criminal law and
Criminology there from 1965-72. He practised as an advocate
from 1953 to 1969 and was Procurator Fiscal Depute from

Mr William Taylor QC

Mr William Taylor has been an advocate since 1971 and a QC
since 1986. He has also been a barrister in England and Wales
since 1990 and a QC there since 1998. He has specialised in
criminal defence work since the 1980s.
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