Scottish independence campers criticised by judge

A SENIOR judge has slammed members of an 'independence camp' at the Scottish Parliament for their 'cynical' and 'unacceptable' actions in their battle to avoid eviction.

The camp outside the parliament. Pic: Jon Savage
The camp outside the parliament. Pic: Jon Savage

Lord Turnbull told the campers on Friday that they had wasted valuable time by failing to comply with necessary legal procedures for proceedings at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

The campaigners are currently battling the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.

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The political organisation are trying to win a court order which would authorise the removal of the campers from the parliamentary campus.

After proceedings earlier this year, Lord Turnbull gave the campers a reprieve on May 5.

The judge ruled that any eviction could breach the campaigners’s human rights. Lord Turnbull said he needed to hear submissions about whether evictions would breach the campers’s freedom to protest and assemble.

On Friday, the indy campers were supposed to have completed forms which would notify the court of the name of the person who would be speaking on their behalf.

They were also supposed to supply the court with the actual home addresses of campers.

However, the campaigners had failed to do any of these tasks and much of the four-hour hearing was taken up with people doing these tasks.

This prompted Lord Turnbull to criticise their conduct.

He told them: “The morning has been completely wasted. You have denied valuable court time to other deserving litigants.

“Your actions have been cynical and unacceptable.”

It is the latest development in a long-running case involving the campers and the Corporate Body.

The campaigners – who call themselves the Sovereign Indigenous Peoples of Scotland – say they will remain outside Holyrood until Scotland becomes independent.

In March, campaigners told Lord Turnbull that the parliamentarians didn’t have the legal right to evict them.

They argued that this was because the land outside the parliament was common land and that it could be used by the people of Scotland.

Lord Turnbull disagreed with their arguments. He did rule that eviction could be a “disproportionate” response and that the camp could be protected under articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The hearing on Friday was a procedural hearing which was supposed to arrange future dates on whether the campers human rights were being breached.

But much of it was taken up with the campers collecting names and addresses of their supporters.

After the campers complied with the procedures, a Mr McFarlane told the court that he and the campers wanted the case adjourned.

He told the court that he and his fellow campaigners needed to instruct a human rights lawyer to help them with their case.

Lord Turnbull then adjourned the case. He arranged for the case to next call at the Court of Session on June 14.

The campers will then have to address the court on the steps they have taken to obtain legal representation.