Lord Hardie is top of judges' list for sentence challenges

LORD Hardie has had more convictions overturned and sentences successfully challenged than any other judge in Scotland, it emerged yesterday.

The peer, who was appointed to the bench in 2000, had 84 sentences and two convictions successfully overturned in the past five years — higher than any other High Court judge and ten times the average.

He had more than twice as many of his decisions overturned than the judge with the second highest number, Lord Dawson, the former solicitor-general, who had 30 sentences and three convictions successfully appealed.

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Lord McEwan had the third poorest record, with 27 sentences and three convictions overturned.

Information obtained from the Scottish Court Service showed that between 2003 and 2007, High Court cases tried by 60 judges, two sheriffs and nine temporary judges led to about 520 successful appeals, including 40 overturned convictions.

However, a spokeswoman for the judiciary said Lord Hardie presided over more cases than many of his colleagues.

She added that almost every sentence was appealed now, many of these appeals resulting in reductions in the length of sentences, by a few months or a year, so Lord Hardie's position was not unusual.

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