Court errors

Your article, “Meet the judge with highest number of quashed convictions” (29 July), contained details on appeals against conviction and sentence in the High Court and Sheriff Courts over the last five years.

Your article, published in good faith, was based on information released by the Scottish Court Service in response to a Freedom of Information inquiry. However, since releasing the information a number of serious discrepancies have been identified and it is clear that some of the figures we provided were inaccurate. I regret that we have misled your readers as a result of our error.

Most importantly, I would like to publicly apologise to those judges and sheriffs, including Lord Carloway and Lord Hardie, who featured prominently in 
this article, for misrepresenting their position in relation to 
appeal decisions.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

We are currently carrying out a thorough cross-check of 2,000 appeal cases to allow the correct figures to be published as soon as possible.

From the work we have done so far, the figures attributed to the Lord Justice Clerk included cases originally decided more than five years ago and a number of cases included in error.

In the course of his judicial ­career, which commenced in 2000, Lord Carloway has only had three cases in which the ­conviction was overturned, not seven as described. All three cases were prior to 2008.

Likewise, the data attributed to Lord Hardie contained similar
errors, in that the article indicated he had eight conviction appeals listed as being sustained, when the correct figure is five.

It is also considered likely that the data in relation to Lord 
Brailsford, Lord Woolman and the Sheriffs may contain similar inaccuracies. The integrity and transparency of the appeals process is ­fundamental to justice and I ­apologise that our 
information was misleading and that it ­misrepresented members of the judiciary.

Eric McQueen

Scottish Court Service

Parliament Square

Edinburgh