THE FACTS AND THE FOI
Re Alex Salmond’s non-compliance with the Information Commissioner until threatened with criminal proceedings: in Scotland’s only independent law magazine, The Firm, 11 July 2011, we read: ‘Last month the Scottish Ministers were compelled by the Information Commissioner to address a series of questions put to the First Minister in correspondence in relation to the (Hollie Greig) case in January this year, the first of which was: “When did you first become aware of the allegations made by Hollie Greig about her being abused by members of a high-ranking paedophile ring in Scotland?” The commissioner required the Scottish Ministers to respond by today’s date or risk being held in contempt of court.’ A letter to Robert Green from the Information Commissioner dated 10 April 2014 states: ‘I am writing in response to your letter of 6 April 2014 … in which you asked for the date on which the Commissioner issued the decision referenced in the Firm Magazine’s articles. The Commissioner’s decision was issued on 26 May 2011.’ It was not until they were under threat of criminal proceedings that the First Minister’s Office came up with an answer, saying it was impossible to give a date, since all the relevant records had been lost. However, the magazine goes on to say, ‘The Firm has seen correspondence from the Crown Office dated 23 July 2009 addressed to the Greig family’s lay representative Robert Green, which suggests that correspondence addressed to the First Minister outlining the allegations was received over two years ago.’ Re the likely validity of Hollie Greig’s claims, The Firm writes, ‘Greig received a payout of £13,500 from the criminal injuries compensation authority, and was described by Detective Inspector Iain Allen of Grampian Police as “a truthful witness to the best of her ability and an entirely innocent victim.” ‘ Ample expert witness statements from respected police and medical professionals, including Hollie’s school doctor, back up her allegations. Of 22 persons named by Hollie as abusers, only two (her father and her brother) have ever been even superficially questioned by the police. Even though her father and brother were described in a police report as having ‘a predilection for very young girls’, they were allowed to go abroad to Portugal, where they run a business connected called ‘Daisy Chain’ which involves frequent travel to and from South America. The implication of the Crown Office’s claim that ‘a thorough investigation has taken place’ is, therefore, that a thorough investigation does not require those accused by an acknowledged victim to be interrogated, nor does it require their computers to be seized or their homes searched before despoliation of evidence occurs.