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 Opponents claim top prosecutor quit over miscarriage of justice

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Location : Glasgow
Registration date : 2008-09-03

PostSubject: Opponents claim top prosecutor quit over miscarriage of justice   Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:39 pm

The Guardian,
Thursday October 5 2006

Scotland's most senior law officer resigned suddenly yesterday, prompting claims he was forced to quit over a long-running miscarriage of justice scandal.

The lord advocate, Colin Boyd, announced he was to step down with immediate effect after serving as Scotland's top prosecutor for six years because "it was time for me to move on".

His decision prompted claims by opposition parties in Holyrood that he was a casualty of the Sheila McKie controversy, which is being investigated by a Scottish parliamentary committee.

Ms McKie, a former police sergeant, was cleared of perjury in a murder case after serious doubts were raised about the accuracy of fingerprint evidence against her. Earlier this year, the Scottish executive paid Ms McKie £750,000 in an out-of-court settlement.

The Scottish National Party MSP Alex Neil, who has campaigned for Ms McKie, said the resignation was "inevitable in the face of his total mishandling" of the case. Lord Boyd had also represented "a far too 'political' appointment. The lord advocate should be a far more impartial figure, and I hope that will be borne in mind when it comes to choosing a replacement."

Figures in the Scottish bar were sceptical about those claims since it was some time since the most critical disclosures in the McKie case were made. Lord Boyd told colleagues last year he intended to resign.

Lord Boyd was also linked to other, equally controversial, cases, such as the conviction in 1991 of the Libyan Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, for the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. His conviction is up for appeal.

He told the first minister, Jack McConnell, that he now wanted to play a fuller part in the House of Lords and take work in the private sector. Mr McConnell told him: "You leave a legacy of which you should be unashamedly proud."
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