Court chiefs in £10k swoop bun­gle

Sunday Mail (UK) - - The Judge -

Craig McDon­ald Pros­e­cu­tors have paid £10,000 to a law firm af­ter a botched raid on their of­fices.

Po­lice wanted to seize files from Clyde and Co lawyers that they be­lieved re­lated to an abuse in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

But the f irm ob­jected, stat­ing the ma­te­rial was “priv­i­leged and con­fi­den­tial”.

De­spite this, two of­fi­cers turned up at the f irm’s Ed­in­burgh branch with a search war­rant in July last year. The war­rant was even­tu­ally blocked af­ter a court hear­ing.

Judge Lord Brodie later ruled “stan­dards were not met” re­gard­ing pros­e­cu­tors’ han­dling of the case.

The Crown Off ice have now paid £10,021 in le­gal fees and costs to Clyde and Co.

De­tec­tive Constable Ni­cola Gow called Clyde and Co by phone on July 7 last year to tell the f irm they had in­for­ma­tion in their files that might be rel­e­vant to a crim­i­nal in­quiry.

Gra eme Wat son, a part­ner, told her he would check what in­for­ma­tion he could pro­vide but that “client files were priv­i­leged and con­fi­den­tial”.

Gow said she would dis­cuss it with her su­pe­rior of­fi­cer but told the firm “a search war­rant might be sought”.

Wat­son wrote to the sher­iff clerk in Ed­in­burgh stat­ing the files were cov­ered by the “Data Pro­tec­tion Act, conf iden­tial­ity and agent- client priv­i­lege”.

Two po­lice of­fi­cers turned up at the firm’s build­ing in the city’s Al­bany Street with a war­rant at 10am on July 22.

Clyde and Co went to court to have it blocked. In his judg­ment, Lord Brodie found the procu­ra­tor fis­cal’s ac­tions in ap­ply­ing for the war­rant “to have been op­pres­sive”.

He said the word­ing was “mis­lead­ing, if not sim­ply in­ac­cu­rate” and “req­ui­site stan­dards were not met”.

The Crown Of­fice said last week: “We note the terms of Lord Brodie’s de­ci­sion. The Lord Ad­vo­cate has taken steps to en­sure there will be no re­peat of this sit­u­a­tion.”

Po­lice Scot­land said: “As this is a mat­ter for the Crown Of­fice, it would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate for us to com­ment.”

Clyde and Co de­clined to com­ment.

SEARCH Cops turned up with a war­rant at Clyde and Co’s of­fice in Ed­in­burgh

FILES Graeme Wat­son and, right, judge Brodie

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