THE Lord Advocate of Scotland, James Wolffe QC, admitted in court this morning that two administrators of the liquidated Rangers FC had been the victims of malicious prosecution by the Crown.
In Scotland’s highest civil court, the Court of Session, David Whitehouse and Paul Clark of administrators Duff and Phelps are suing the Lord Advocate and Police Scotland for a sum now thought to be in excess of £15 million for their wrongful prosecution.
After four years of the action, which involved a long legal battle over whether the Lord Advocate had legal immunity – the Appeal Court ruled he did not – Whitehouse and Clark stand on the brink of having their reputations fully restored and being paid millions in compensation.
Stating that documents had been fed to lawyers in a “drip, drip” fashion, Iain Ferguson QC for Clark told Lord Tyre: “Frankly it is nothing short of a disgrace that the Government has behaved in this fashion towards private citizens who it now accepts should never have been prosecuted.
“It is only because of the determination of Mr Clark and Mr Whitehouse to clear their names that this situation has come about and the bottom line is that less wealthy individuals could never have reached this point. That’s completely unacceptable.”
The National can reveal that with the former directors Charles Green and Imran Ahmad also taking cases for more than £25m in compensation, the bungled case could end up costing the taxpayer £40m in damages plus millions more in expenses – Whitehouse and Clark were awarded £600,000 in interim expenses this morning.
It had already been revealed by the BBC that Ahmad would receive an apology and damages from the Lord Advocate.
The implications for the Scottish justice system are staggering – apart from the costs, the original decision to prosecute was taken by the then Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland who is now the judge Lord Mulholland, while the court heard this morning that the current Lord Advocate continued to fight the current case even after documentary evidence showed that the prosecution was wrong.
Police Scotland, the Crown Office and the Scottish Government have been asked for comment