Scotland’s former justice secretary has demanded a probe into an unprecedented malicious prosecution and says the case must have been rubber-stamped at the “very top of the Crown Office”.
It emerged at the Court of Session last week former Rangers chief executive Charles Green will receive damages after Crown lawyers admitted he was the subject of a malicious fraud prosecution. It follows similar admissions after two other men were charged over the 2012 Ibrox takeover. Experts say compensation cases could cost taxpayers £100 million in pay-outs and fees.
The prosecutions were initiated under former lord advocate Frank Mulholland before being scrapped, under his successor, the current Lord Advocate James Wolffe. Kenny MacAskill, justice secretary from 2007 to 2014, and now an MP, said: “There requires to be both an investigation and a full explanation of what went on, why, and into how we ensure it never happens again. I would think a case of this magnitude would have been signed off from the very top at the Crown Office.”
Mr Green is seeking £20m damages from police and prosecutors.
The Crown Office admitted in August similar proceedings against David Whitehouse and Paul Clark, of administrators Duff & Phelps, were malicious. The pair are seeking £10m each in damages. Two other men investigated are also seeking multi-million-pound damages.
Police Scotland contest the action.
The Crown Office said: “The basis for the Lord Advocate’s acceptance of liability will become public record when the matter ceases to be sub judice. Until then, we are constrained in what we can say. The Lord Advocate has made clear that in due course he will support appropriate public accountability. Since these events, the Crown has taken significant steps that safeguard against similar situations arising.”
The Judicial Office, representing judges, said it “cannot comment on decisions related to a prosecution”.