Completing the Craig Murray Jigsaw

A rebel Scottish blogger could be committed to jail by the middle of next week. Leave to appeal against the eight month sentence served on him in the High Court is expected by his legal team to be refused on Monday, according to the latest post on his own blog. If so, Craig Murray could well be a prisoner by Wednesday – a “political prisoner” by his own categorisation.

Mocking this maverick former British ambassador and savouring his plight has become a nasty habit among some callous, arrogant hacks in the legacy media, but they should be careful what they wish for. The crime for which Mr Murray is awaiting punishment – “jigsaw identification” (of Alex Salmond’s female accusers) – is one that, by its very nature, could not have been committed by just one journalist. Consequently, there could be further prosecutions. Otherwise, the dark suspicion will continue to grow – both in Scotland and elsewhere in the world – that Craig Murray was singled out for selective prosecution by the Crown. Not many people who value rule of law and liberty are partial to partial justice.

The newspaper industry’s self-regulator IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation) has issued very clear guidance on reporting of sexual offences:

Jigsaw identification occurs when different pieces of information appear in different publications, which allows readers who have seen the reports to work out who the victim is. 

Emphasis added

In fact, you don’t need to turn for guidance on this matter to the biggest written content regulator in the UK. Even children logging onto the BBC Newsround website can easily discover what jigsaw identification is. Its page on media and law states, clearly and correctly:

Sometimes the media are told not to identify a person. That’s when you have to watch out for jigsaw identification…Journalists and editors are unlikely to print someone’s name, but they have to be careful about what they do say. They might give out little bits of information which when pieced together allow someone to be identified. It’s like putting together a jigsaw.

So let’s make a little jigsaw, boys and girls. What were the different publications that supplied pieces of information that might help to identify Mr Salmond’s accusers?  Remember there can’t be just one outlet or we won’t be able to complete the jigsaw, will we?

In characteristic fashion, Craig Murray has given us more than a few clues about who else did what he was found guilty of doing. Another much followed Scottish blogger went further by naming and shaming no fewer than eight experienced and distinguished Scottish newspaper journalists for this alleged offence. The publisher of that site (now believed to be stalking squirrels in Somerset) even claimed to have passed on evidence of this to the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service and to Police Scotland. No doubt that sprinkled a little nervousness around some Scottish newsrooms, although none of those named and shamed have responded in any way to my knowledge. I’d have been phoning a libel lawyer if my name had been on that list and I knew I was innocent. Why didn’t any of them?

I am not going to engage in similar finger pointing, or even provide a link to any of the said offending articles. Unlike a lot of ex-colleagues in the legacy media, I believe in presumption of innocence and letting the wheels of justice turn, however slowly they might do so. All I will say is this: the following Scottish newspaper groups have all signed up to IPSO: The Scotsman Publications, Herald and Glasgow Times, Daily Record and Sunday Mail, Press & Journal plus the tartanised editions of The Times and Sunday Times. So, if any of their journalists was guilty of jigsaw identification, they cannot say they did not get clear guidance on how to avoid doing so from their own chosen regulator. They should always abide by that or face the consequences.

A father of two young children should not be the only one getting flung in jail

Fiat justitia, ruat caelum! Let justice be done though the heavens fall! Anyone who put information into the public domain that in any way could aid the identification of anyone legally entitled to complete anonymity deserves to go to jail, for the issues at stake here could not be more serious: if three High Court judges decide that the offence committed by Mr Murray is so serious that a 62-year-old father of two young boys needs to be flung in a prison cell without any further delay, Scotland’s criminal justice system will fall under an even harsher global spotlight. 

The Crown Office has already had to admit in an open court that it engaged in malicious prosecutions and now stands accused in the international court of public opinion of engaging in selective prosecutions. Not surprisingly, the man in charge of our state prosecutors, the Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC – appointed by Nicola Sturgeon not only to head up the Crown Office but to sit in her Cabinet – is stepping down. As he prepares to depart from his obviously conflicting roles, he might yet retrieve some of his lost public standing by being seen to live up fully to the rightful mission he outlined for himself and his colleagues on 5 September 2017:

Like judges, prosecutors must decide without fear or favour, affection or ill will, objectively and professionally, on the basis of an assessment of the available evidence; and it is one of my constitutional responsibilities to promote the integrity and independence of prosecutorial decision making. 

If he really meant all those noble sounding words, Scotland’s top law officer now has a glorious opportunity to prove it – by prosecuting not only Craig Murray and Craig Murray alone for a crime no one person or publication could possibly have committed in complete isolation. It’s time to complete the jigsaw. The world is watching, Mr Wolffe.

Comments on this article are welcomed but will be actively moderated. Please remember you are personally, legally responsible for anything you post. Be careful not to name, defame or identify anyone whose anonymity should be protected. It will be hastily deleted and you may be blocked from commenting on anything again here. Authorised comments appear below the link to a previous piece about Craig Murray.

14 thoughts on “Completing the Craig Murray Jigsaw

  1. After Craig was sentenced I sent the following letter to The National and a similar one to The Herald. Neither were published and, as i recall, there were no other letters on the subject when one would have expected a fair number of people interested in commenting.
    ‘ Some of us keep thinking that we are already so cynical about power structures in Scotland that we are beyond shock but how shameful and shocking is the decision to jail Craig Murray for eight months for supposed ‘jigsaw’ identification in the Salmond case. There are few people in politics and media who do not know the identity of at least some of the complainers in that trial. I certainly did and that was not because of anything Craig Murray wrote. The complainers in this case were always likely to be identified because they could only have come from a small number of people and once some details of the accusations were known, a considerable number of ‘insiders’ were in a position to make informed guesses because they had been involved in the same circles over the same period. It is also worth repeating, since there are some who keep trying to imply that the jury got it wrong, that the complainers were found not to have told the truth.
    Craig appears to be the first person ever to be convicted of this very vague offence and the first to be sentenced to prison for it. One of the reasons given by the judge for the particularly harsh sentence was that it was a high profile case. This presumably means that had there been jigsaw identification of some poor working-class girl of no great media interest that the accused in that case would have got a much lighter sentence. The truth is that it would have been very unlikely to come to court.
    Craig is a very honourable and principled man who has a long record of working tirelessly to help those who have been targeted unjustly in many parts of the world and he has done this at great personal cost. He will now, of course, be prevented from giving evidence against the CIA in an upcoming case in the Spanish courts.
    I am ashamed of Scottish ‘justice’.

    Liked by 10 people

  2. I have another jigsaw for you. 2016 saw Sturgeon appoint Wolffe as Lord Advocate and Dorrian as Lord Justice Clerk ( the first woman to be appointed to the post which is the second most senior position in the Scottish justiciary). Lesley Evans appoints Harvie as the crown agent.

    Does anyone know the mechanism by which she was appointed the judge on the Salmond trial and the fallout contempt cases arising from it? Was it just another coincidence?

    There are some 35 high court judges and more than one can sit on a difficult or important trial. Judges of her rank mostly chair in the court of appeal and very rarely preside on high court cases. The crown agent arranges sittings of the high court taking direction from the principal clerk of session. Given that the jury only took six hours to reach their verdict it doesn’t seem as if it was a difficult case to dismiss. We do know that at procedural review, Salmond’s legal team were refused leave by Lady Dorrian to present evidence to the court that came out of the previous judicial review. Evidence he claims showed that the Scottish government had turned to the criminal case to discredit him after their humiliation in the judicial review. Evidence still withheld by the crown office.

    In Craig Murray’s case she allowed an eight week passage of time post trial before passing judgement and another six weeks before sentencing. A sentence widely held to be disproportionate.

    In March 2021 a cross justice group led by her (which also included Rape Crisis Scotland, the crown agent and the Scottish government) published a paper promoting juryless trials in sexual offences cases. In March 2020 at the outset of the covid pandemic the Scottish government had attempted to impose such juryless trials but had been forced to back down in the face of severe criticism by the legal profession.

    Liked by 8 people

  3. The fact that Dorrian is judging the appeal against her own verdict illustrates the utter bankruptcy of the legal process which has selectively tried Craig and none of the scores of mainstream journalists who, if he is guilty, are as guilty themselves. They have all published information which by itself doesn’t identify anyone, but putting it together with others will reveal a few names. As a matter of fact, widely published accounts of some of the questionable incidents will lead anyone with sufficient curiosity and the internet to find out. Interestingly, Craig’s was the only publicly available detailed account of the trial and why the prosecution of Salmond failed – and now that is censored and taken off line (it didn’t identify anybody, and court reporting is a basic requirement of any democratic scrutiny of legal cases). You may wonder if these facts are related.
    But how can an appeal possibly be an appeal unless some other judges look at the evidence and reasoning applied in the verdict? Were that the case, I would expect that a fair appraisal would see either the charges dropped, or a token fine. Because the personal animus and sneering disdain of Dorrian towards Craig is evident, (as published in the verdict and witnessed by those listening on line) and is clearly not a fair basis upon which to reach a sound judgement.
    However, you will be waiting a long time if you think there is any establishment interest in prosecuting others who have done no more than Craig. This is a political trial.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. MACEASY BEST ANALYSIS I have read on the whole sorry affair. Not only the long custodial sentence for Craig though for me a non insider I had no clue from his court reporting of the people who were the complainants in the AS trial.I was just glad to be able to read some real reporting of the defence case rather than the hysterical smearing of 8 page spreads in the likes of The Cracked Disc etc. More sinister than what they have done to Craig for his two days of reporting is the VEILED THREAT to anyone who dares comment about public affairs in a factual or critical manner. To me that drags us back 200 years to that last dark age.of kangaroo courts.

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  4. Having read the court’s published opinion a few times now, what a strange case and an even stranger ‘opinion’.

    It seems peculiar that no prosecution evidence was brought other than the Crown’s written submission containing their own allegations of possible contempt and citing a series of Craig’s published articles and dates.

    The critique by the court of Craig’s affidavits seems to go beyond what might be regarded as fair and appears to reflect a degree of personal animosity towards him. His detailed affidavits contained many useful points which any fair minded review might have commented on.

    The court’s opinion on whether or not an article or articles ‘is likely to lead to the identity of a complainer’ seems just that, opinion; but in this instance has it really been proved ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ and sufficient to validate a conviction? The jury’s still looks to be out on that one.

    The court opined that 4 articles and one tweet were likely to or ‘capable of identifying’ complainers but again there was no definitive evidence provided on this other than the court’s own assertion based on its reading of the articles in question and making (hypothetical?) linkages. And, as you note, the absence of analysis across ‘different publications’ from which to ‘complete’ the jigsaw seems a valid point that has been missed.

    Strange also that the only prosecution for jigsaw identification relates to the solitary journalist who dared to cover the defence in the Salmond case, yet the dozens of msm journalists focusing on the prosecution are ignored. It is difficult to see this other than in terms of – the establishment really wanted Salmond’s head on a platter, they didnae get it, so they went for anybody else they could get.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Agree. As i recall Dorrian explicitly stated what Craig’s intention was. Quite some mind reading ability that, since Craig gave detailed reasons of exactly what his intention was, which she refused to accept while claiming to know what his ‘secret’ real intention was. It should be obvious that was pure, unadulterated, evidence-free speculation, as indeed was the assertion that a hypothetical unknown person could somehow deduce an identity from Craig’s writings, but somehow this person (by implication) could not do so from the far more obvious clues in other mainstream publications and TV programmes.
      Surely any independent legal adjudicator would see the flaws in such a speculative judgement and annul it. But, oh what a surprise, the adjudicator of Dorrian’s judgement is…..Dorrian. What an unmitigated farce, which leads clearly to the conclusion that people, in the legal profession and without, will come to – that Craig is being singled out because he is a thorn in the side of the establishment who have an agenda undisclosed. He may be that, but only in despotic countries without the democratic separation of powers would that be a crime punishable by imprisonment and censorship.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. “The jury’s still looks to be out on that one.”
      ———
      Nice one, Alf.

      As you obviously know, no jury was ever IN for the proceedings against Craig Murray.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. An New Statesman article on the demise of Wings over Scotland makes reference to the parlous state of Scotland’s fourth estate and the lack of nationalist media. Where is our equivalent of Spiked, the Critic, UnHerd, OffGuardian or even the New Statesman and Spectator? No talent, no money or just a case of dour Scots fatalism in which nothing is ventured without well done up belt and braces assurance. It couldn’t be that nasty cultural cringe is still at work too, could it?

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      1. I sense that Scotland is a pressure cooker. The current régime allows some modest release of pressure but prefers the lid should remain clamped in case too much release of energy should blow them into irrelevance.
        It is always thus in dictatorships, personality cultism and «right thinking» political constructs. It is such a surprise to me to detect such so far from the Middle East.
        Scotland much needs its spring, with a much better outcome than the chill blasted Arab one, of course.

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  6. Yes Frank and very ably assisted by the recently departed Secretary for Justice who in time would almost certainly have introduced his own tartan version of MacSharia Courts. He was heading that way with the “no jury” sex cases. However he discovered himself last week that you can’t just come out with any old publicity seeking medical cr*p and get away with it. The Medics stood up to him whereas the Judiciary did not – shocking indictment on them.

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