Sunday, October 02, 2005


And the "Watchdog" doesn't even want to look

A judicial review will be carried out over the refusal by Scotland's miscarriages of justice watchdog to send a controversial rape case to the appeal court. In a legal first, a judge will scrutinise the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission's ruling in the case of three Edinburgh men accused of gang raping a young mother in a high-rise flat. The men were yesterday awarded legal aid to carry out the review which is expected to be held before the end of the year.

David Pugh, 27, Brian Meighan, 28, and Kevin Kane, 23, have always denied carrying out a sustained gang rape on a young mother in 1999. They are due to be released in November after serving six years behind bars, twice turning down the chance of parole by refusing to admit guilt.

Five friends of the rape victim say she confessed to them not long after the incident took place in the Moredun area of Edinburgh that she had consented to sex and made the accusations in order to claim compensation. The victim told police she was raped in the stairwell but was allowed to change her statement after CCTV footage showed her going into the flat of one of the three men.

The decision to grant legal aid comes after leading human rights lawyer Aidan O'Neill, QC, studied the case and came to the conclusion that the SCCRC had exceeded its remit by rejecting the evidence of the woman's friends. Three other leading lawyers, Gordon Jackson, QC, John Carroll and Jim Keegan, also looked at the SCCRC's ruling and agreed that "a miscarriage of justice may have occurred".

Pugh, who is being kept at Peterhead Prison, told The Scotsman: "I'm glad to say we will be liberated in seven weeks after serving our full prison sentences. We will continue to fight on release until justice prevails." Their case has been backed by the Miscarriage of Justice Organisation (MOJO) Scotland and MSP Mike Pringle. John McManus, of MOJO Scotland, said: "We are pleased that the judicial review will go ahead but disappointed that they have had to go to these lengths to try and clear their name. "I spoke to David's father recently and they are bearing up as well as can be expected. People have to remember it's not just three men who have suffered a miscarriage of justice, it's their families, too."

The SCCRC was set up under an Act of Parliament in 1999 and has referred 48 cases to the appeal court.

Report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today)

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