(6)  Trouble in the Tenement

On 29 November 1996 James Baxter, a rope access technician, was convicted in the High Court of Justiciary at Edinburgh of inciting a workmate to murder his tenement neighbour in Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh. It appeared that for over a year the intended victim had objected to the proposals of Baxter and his other neighbours for common repairs and improvements in their building, which under the law of the tenement was sufficient to prevent them taking place (Stair Memorial Encyclopedia, vol 18, paras 244, 246). The plot involved abseiling from Baxter’s top-floor flat to the victim’s flat below. Baxter, an Aberdeen graduate in social anthropology and comparative religion, was jailed for four years despite testimonials to his character and criticism of the intended victim from his neighbours. The trial judge said that the victim “must have driven everyone mad by the way he behaved”. The Scottish Law Commission is currently reviewing the law of the tenement (see now No 30 ). For the dismissal of Mr Baxter’s appeal on the interpretation of the law of incitement, see Baxter v HMA 1997 SCLR 437; 1998 SLT 414.