Monday, 2 February 2015

Willie McRae Part 14: Crown Office Contradicts Lord Advocate

One bullet or two?

The Crown Office has contradicted a previous Lord Advocate!

I don’t know if the Crown Office are, or will be, embarrassed but embarrassed is the very least they should be. 

Let me take a step back and explain.

Part 12 covered where the gun was found and Part 13 how it  got there.  I had intended Part 14 to be about the gun, bullets and all the testing which was done but one issue flew to the top and so I write about that here.  Parts 15 and 16 will now cover the rest of the gun, bullets and testing and will be published together next Monday.

Since 1990, when the then Lord Advocate, Peter Fraser, published his letter to Nicky Fairbairn, the publicly available official view has always been that:
-  two shots were fired from the gun
-  Macrae was shot once
-  one bullet only was recovered during his post-mortem
-  the second bullet was not found
-  there was no bullet damage to Macrae’s car

This view was supported by information put into the public domain in 2005 by Northern Constabulary. 

Throughout the firearms testing, carried out by Strathclyde Police on 10 April 1985, reference is always made to one fired bullet.

Part 14 Macrae O Firearm Rep HI
Part 14 Macrae Q Firearm Rep Hi
Part 14 Macrae S Firearm Rep Hi

And in 1993, Northern Constabulary wrote to West Mercia police to answer their (West Mercia’s) questions about statements made in a book.
Part 14 Macrae E West Mercia Extract 1 arrowed

There was consistency in every record published.

There were newspaper reports that a nurse claimed that two bullets were found in Macrae’s brain.  This was never substantiated.

The official record of there being only one bullet found and that in Macrae’s brain still stands.

There is one other released document which refers to the gun, bullets and testing: Annex A which is part of the Crown Office response to Steven Semple’s 2014 FOI request.  The Crown Office refused to release the information requested by Semple but they did append this Annex which they stated contained the information already released.

….. but this is where the Crown Office should become embarrassed and should answer questions.  This is where they have contradicted themselves; not just a previous Lord Advocate – Peter Fraser – but every other reference to the number of bullets found.
I have read Annex A countless times and it is clear that it has been compiled from, in many places copied directly from, these previously released documents but then I found this in the section on firearms testing.

Part 14 Annex A Bullets E1Hi

Part 13 Bullets plural Annex A E1 H1 arrowed
This is clear.  This document states that more than one bullet was recovered during the post mortem and that those bullets underwent analysis by Strathclyde police.  This contradicts all other statements.

One bullet or two?

My instinct is that the Annex A writer has made a mistake, probably a simple error.  It isn’t though a simple typo because it appears twice.  It is much easier for me to imagine this as a simple mistake in the writing than as the uncovering of a long-held lie.

Let me explain my reasoning.

Imagine that Annex A is correct and that two bullets were removed from Macrae’s brain during the post mortem.  Then there could be no doubt that there was a conspiracy to hide this fact.  Every released record, other than Annex A, shouts out ‘1 bullet’, even the request to Strathclyde police for the firearm analysis.

If I were involved in such a conspiracy I would want to keep to a minimum those who knew.  I wouldn’t send both bullets for analysis to another force and have them report as though there were only one bullet.  That’s opening up the conspiracy to those who have no need to know.

Part of me would love to uncover that piece of evidence which confirms cock-up, conspiracy or suicide – that’s my need for validation – but I can’t push a line which I feel isn’t justified.

You may wonder then why I chose to write a post about this point alone when I believe there has been a simple mistake.  There are two reasons.
My view is only my view.  It doesn’t become true simply because I believe it to be true.  What if I am wrong?  Others must decide for themselves.
Even if a mistake, the Crown Office has left itself open to ridicule by issuing contradictory statements on such an important issue.

Simple mistake or not, the Crown Office has issued contradictory statements.  They should be mightily embarrassed.

We require the truth, the entire truth!

The Crown Office must not only clarify the situation publicly they must release ALL relevant documents.

We have been waiting almost 30 years. 

Do it now!

I hope …. but I won’t hold my breath.

If you have thoughts, or more, feel free to:
email me at calumsblogATgmailDOTcom or
tweet me at @calumcarr

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  1. I'm with you. Mistake. The writer has become confused between there being two fired cartriges, and only one bullet.

    I have to tell you though, that the Crown Office is incapable of embarrassment. An institution that regularly lies and fabricates with a completely straight face, issuing false information to the press to suit its own agenda, is hardly going to be embarrassed by a commonplace, everyday mistake.

  2. I'm not surprised you say this about the Crown Office. I saw the stick Colin Boyd - is he current LA - got after recent comments about Lockerbie.

    That's quite a charge you lay at their door. Where is respect for the law if COPFS does as you say? Does your knowledge of this extend beyond Lockerbie or did you see enough there to last you a lifetime?

  3. Rolfe, Should have checked before I jumped in. Frank Mulholland was the name I should have used.

    Lesson: Research pays dividends!!!!

    Let's hope I remember.

  4. I don't pay close attention to other cases. I don't know what the Crown Office's or LA's role was in the Shirley McKie affair, for example. However, I have been absolutely shocked at the behaviour of Frank Mulholland over the past 18 months. He (or the Crown Office of which he is head) tells lies, makes defamatory statements, and deliberately misrepresents things in such a way as to suggest what is simply not so.

    Saving face and not admitting to error are far more important in Mulholland's book (and in the books of his recent predecessors) than honesty, truth, justice, transparency or restitution.