On 12 December 2003 Margo MacDonald MSP put down the following motion for debate in the Scottish Parliament :
S2M-706# Margo MacDonald: The Future of the Scottish Legal System—That the Parliament believes that, if the supreme court proposed by the Prime Minister becomes part of the Royal Courts of Justice, it cannot have jurisdiction over Scottish courts which are protected by the Treaty of Union; notes that Scottish civil cases can be appealed to the House of Lords whilst Scottish criminal appeals cannot be so appealed; considers that the Minister for Justice should engage in consultations with Scottish judges, the legal profession, organisations concerned with advising the public on legal issues and MSPs on the implications of the Prime Minister’s proposals for the Scottish legal system, and believes that the Scottish Executive should ensure that the views of the Scottish Parliament, and not the United Kingdom Parliament, on the future of the Scottish legal system are paramount.
Supported by: Mr Stewart Maxwell, Rosie Kane, Tommy Sheridan, John Swinburne, Nicola Sturgeon, Chris Ballance, Elaine Smith, Ms Rosemary Byrne, Christine Grahame, Frances Curran, Carolyn Leckie, Alex Neil, Mr Adam Ingram, Dr Jean Turner, Dennis Canavan.
Following his latesr arrest (see No 287), Steve Gough the Naked Rambler appeared at Dingwall Sheriff Court on 1 December 2003, where he denied committing a breach of the peace in Evanton, Ross-shire and breaching existing bail conditions. He was then remanded in custody until his trial on 7 January 2004. Thus he will be warm and cosy for Christmas and Hogmanay. With any luck, and if spring comes early, he might get to John o’Groats by April or May.
The attention of Scots Law News has been drawn to the case of Shufflebottom v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, 7 February 2003, Mackay J (Times, 13 February 2003) in which the learned and suitably named Mr Justice Mackay held in the Queen’s Bench Division that English justices had jurisdiction to hear a complaint under the Dogs Act 1871 where the owner of the dog complained of kept it within the commission area for which the justices were appointed, notwithstanding that the incident complained of arose outside their jurisdiction, viz in Scotland. The dog in casu was called Trigger and lived with his owner in Stockport; the incident took place in Kirkcudbright (Dumfries and Galloway) in December 2001. Trigger had there bitten the owner’s partner’s daughter during a family holiday, and her serious injuries required treatment in a hospital at Dumfries and subsequently in hospital at Cheadle Hulme. Mackay J held that the issue under the 1871 Act as amended by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1989 was whether the dog was dangerous, not where its dangerousness had been made manifest. The case was returned to the Stockport justices to determine whether to order that Trigger be kept under proper control or destroyed.
DIAGEO, CARDHU, AND PURE BLENDED MALT
The worldwide drinks company, Diageo, producer of the Speyside malt whisky Cardhu (a traditional 12-year-old single malt and the fifth most popular brand in the world), is now being made, for selected overseas markets, from a mixture of vatted malts from several distilleries. But it is still being sold under its original name, the only change on the label being that instead of being called a single malt, Cardhu is now pure malt. Diageo says that it has taken this step because it is running out of Cardhu due to the increase in demand abroad. Other whisky distillers are highly concerned about what the label will do to the reputation of the name of malt whisky, and MPs and MSPs have become involved in the war of words. The matter is due to be discussed at the meeting of the Council of the Scotch Whisky Association to be held on 4 December 2003. The SWA website is http://www.scotch-whisky.org.uk/.