Court chiefs in £10k swoop bungle
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