15th century law brings chief constable to court

A former businessman, Jim Duff, who claims to have been ruined by falsified police reports has invoked an ancient Scottish law to have a chief constable brought to court.

Mr Duff used an action known as lawburrows, dating to 1429, to obtain a warrant citing David Strang, head of Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary, to appear in Dumfries Sheriff Court where the hearing is due to take place on 18 January.

Mr Duff, a former housebuilder from Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire, stated that he was in business until 1976 when he was "illegally made bankrupt". He claims that Mr Strang's police officers had been involved in defrauding him of his lands, house and money by conspiring with a former Dumfries solicitor.

Mr Duff claims he has a large amount of evidence to prove his case, including faked police reports. In January 2005, he applied under the Freedom of Information Act for copies of the reports, and claimed that when he received them a number of officers' names had been blanked out on the orders of the chief constable. The Information Commissioner ordered the names of the officers to be disclosed, which was done.

Last year Mr Duff raised a similar action against the Lord Advocate at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. That action was dismissed, but Mr Duff launched an appeal and a hearing has been set for 23 January 2007.

15th-century law brings police chief to court (The Scotsman, 3 January 2007)