Sunday, 26 April 2015

Willie McRae Part 31: Long Grass?


A review should be good news but …….

PS to SM 1[Note: contact details have been removed]


….. has the case been kicked into the long grass again?


For those who may be new here let me briefly put my position.  I am absolutely neutral on the question of murder, suicide or whatever.   I don’t know: there is insufficient evidence to fix on one view.  I seek the truth, whatever it may be.  I am, however, in favour of a Fatal Accident Inquiry or other formal and legal inquiry.  Too many questions remain unanswered for the case to be left where it is. 


Now, might this review set the record straight and let justice be seen to done?

I might be wrong.  I hope I am proved to be wrong.  But I have no confidence that answers will be given or the truth of his death and subsequent investigation revealed.

When the Crown Office deigns to speak to the public they will assert,

Police Scotland has reviewed the case in detail and Crown Counsel has full confidence in the original investigation carried out by Northern Constabulary.

No new information will be released.  No reasons will be given.  They will have shut down the case for a few more years …. but still the questions will remain and, occasionally, new questions will arise which challenge the official position …. and still the Crown Office will assert …. and still justice will not have been seen to be done.


Why should we expect another review to bring a different result?

We have been here before: the investigators investigating themselves.  The two organisations about whom all questions relate look at themselves and find, ‘Nothing to see here. Move along.’?

But more than this, everything which has been produced in the last 6 months was either already known about or should have been uncovered in previous reviews.

Donald Morrison’s evidence wasn’t new but it’s importance was already denied by the Crown Office.

Why should this change now?


The car being returned to the crash site wasn’t new.  John Finnie raised this with the Crown Office in 2010/11 and, as far as I am aware, no action has followed.

Why should this change now?


There being witness statements from the Crowes although they made no statements should have been uncovered previously.  The Channel 4 programme, Scottish Eye – from 1991/2 – reported that, until approached by the programme makers, the Crowes didn’t know that Macrae had been shot and had died.  That there were statements on file from the Crowes in 1985 doesn’t tally and should have been a ‘red flag’ to any semi-competent investigation.

Why should this change now?


Why am I cynical?

The Chief Constable took more than 7 weeks to reply to an MSP’s letter!  This reflects poorly on Sir Stephen regardless of the subject matter. 

But now the timing of the review is perfect for the Crown Office. 

The profile of the case has been raised significantly in the last 6 months or so; there is a petition for an FAI; Scotland on Sunday carried good work just 3 weeks ago.  I’ve done my small bit.

Momentum was building and the announcement of a review gets the Crown Office off the hook and stalls the momentum.  I can imagine their words, ‘We have to wait for Police Scotland’s review.  We’ll make no more announcements until the review is complete.

Sir Stephen has set no time limit and he states,

such reviews are generally time-consuming


I am not in a position to advise you of a project timescale for completion.

I feel for Sir Stephen.  The top man and he’s not in  a position to advise. 

Yes, he is!  If this was important to him he would set a deadline but he hasn’t and so it isn’t.

Be assured, we’ll hear nothing this year…..

….. and then there will be nothing which Crown Counsel considers worthy of concern.  The questions shut down again.  The petition shut down.

I can hear them already.  ‘All the evidence and concerns raised by interested parties has been investigated and there is nothing in any of it.

And then with every additional issue raised, the Crown Office will keep going back to the 2015 review.


Is it time to give up?


This isn’t about getting a particular verdict or getting a particular admission.  This is only about justice and justice being seen to be done.  An internal review can never achieve this.  Only an inquiry will do.

What has Scottish justice come to when we cannot trust those whose role is to uphold the law and see justice done?

There IS something to see.  It might not show murder or suicide.  It might only show a flawed police investigation. But, until answered, the questions will remain, the Crown Office and police forever stained by the darkness of a possible cover-up.

Goodness, I sound like a conspiracy theorist!  I’m not!  I want the truth!  I don’t care what the truth is as long as I know I have seen the truth.


I am not going away.


Please!  Don’t let Willie’s death be cast into the long grass.


If you haven’t done so, please sign the FAI petition here.  Tweet about it.  Talk about it.  Write about it. 


The Crown Office are our servants. 

They administer the justice system for us. 

They are accountable to us.

Let us hold them accountable.


If you have thoughts, or more, feel free to:

email me at calumsblogATgmailDOTcom or

tweet me at @calumcarr

© CalumCarr 2015



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  1. You say: "Too many questions remain unanswered"

    Do you really mean "unanswered", or do you mean have been given answers that some people don't accept? There is a distinction.

    (And I asked you a question about the claimed police officer witness recollection that you said you'd answer by Easter Monday and that if you didn't I should remind you, so I am reminding you.)

  2. Re my unanswered question. If you look back at Part 28 - where you asked the question - you will find my answer which has been sitting there since 7th April

  3. I have now looked but see no answer to the question asked, which was: In what year did Donald Morrison first talk to any legal agency or make any official statement about what he claimed to have witnessed?

    1. Do you really mean I haven't answered the question you asked or do you mean I have given an answer that you don't accept? There is a distinction.

    2. Precisely.

      I rest my case.

    3. I tried to answer your question as best I could with the information available to me and I tried to answer what I saw as the point behind your question. Perhaps I got it wrong.

      Re your saying, 'I rest my case', I don't know what point you're making. Can you explain?

  4. Anyway, I have decided to cease commenting on this issue, about which I have no settled opinion. This is because I am generally ceasing commenting on all blogs, at least until some current circumstances change.

    Good wishes.


  5. So what's this about? "Alec, who handled the weapon on several occasions, describes it as: "a tiny nickel- or chrome-coloured pistol. It had a sort of rectangular or hexagonal barrel with some kind of writing on it, I mean along the side of the barrel, and a pearl handled butt which was curved where you held it. I mean that the bottom of the butt was smooth and curved or rounded so that it fitted into your hand. The shape of the butt was very distinctive."
    That's the less common type of this gun. And not the one shown in the photographs.

  6. Thanks for your comment.

    Let me start by saying I have no view as to whether Willie was murdered or committed suicide: I don't know. The comments which follow shouldn't be seen as endorsing one view or the other.

    I wrote in Part 15 that there was only circumstantial evidence for saying that the gun found was actually Macrae's, or rather only circumstantial evidence is in the public domain. From memory, none of those who had seen the gun saida the gun found was identical to the one they had seen in Macrae's possession. Indeed, I don't know if any of them saw the gun actually found at the scene.

    I said also that from the released photos it is difficult to say if the handle is wood, pearlised or ivory.

    You are right that the decription you quote would not fit the gun found. Rather than Issue 2 of the model the description fits Issue 3. Part 15 has photos of the various Issues of the particular handgun.

    One must also not forget that this is only one unsubstantiated description of the gun which may be correct but may also be in error.

    We must also not forget that the author is thought not to be David Leslie, a retired journalist, as noted but may be Adam Busby, a convicted terrorist who is currently on trial for terrorist activities. Busby's background does not make the description incorrect. The extract you highlight might be accurate or mistaken but it may also have been written to weaken the Crown case.

    I have no evidence to support this last contention but neither do I have any way of verifying the truth or otherwise of your extract.

    My summary after a long comment: we cannot know with certainty if the gun which killed Willie was actually his gun and I continue to sit as an objective (I hope) observer.