Operation Planet, Abuse of Justice & The Crown Office Of Scotland


Reproduced with the permission of the UK Column

On the 29th April 1991 a meeting was held between Lord Fraser (the Lord Advocate), Lord Roger (the Solicitor General), Duncan Lowe (the Crown Agent), Alfred Vannet (the Deputy Crown Agent) and persons unknown, to discuss  a report written by Elish McPhilomy (now Dame Elish Angiolini), that sought to establish a rationale for, and the extent to which, the protections offered by Common Law could be circumvented, and statute law ignored.


Article | March 13, 2012 – 1:47pm | By Tony Shell

‘Operation Planet’, Edinburgh

On the 24th March 1990 the Edinburgh Police launched ‘Operation Planet’. That police initiative followed the discovery of a 16-year-old boy in a house in the city centre who, over a period of 10 days, had been plied with cannabis and repeatedly sodomised by a number of men. The boy had been on weekend leave from a local children’s home. Evidence uncovered in subsequent police enquiries indicated the men were also engaged in homosexual ‘rent boy’ activities, and were linked to a ‘network’ of older men.


The ‘Operation Planet’ Court Case and Judgments

By the time the ‘Operation Planet’ case was brought before court, a total of 10 men had been arrested, on a total of 57 charges. Those charges related to the taking part in, and the procuring of, acts of sodomy upon the boy contrary to Common Law and the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980, the supplying of cannabis to the boy contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and harbouring and concealment of a boy under supervision care contrary to the Social Work Scotland Act 1968.

The pre-trial hearings took place between the 9th and the 11th January 1991. During those hearings it was agreed between the Crown and defence counsels to reduce the 57 indictments to just 10 – allowing five defendants to walk free, and with pleas arranged for the remaining five. Police officers involved in “Operation Planet’ were totally confounded, and extremely angered, by this extraordinary turn of events.

On the 15th and 16th January 1991 the trial was held, before Lord Clyde (the Senator of The College of Justice), of the one defendant who had pleaded not guilty (an Edinburgh-based solicitor). The jury found the charges to be ‘not proven’.  On the 12th February 1991 the remaining five accused persons (who had pleaded guilty) appeared before Lord Clyde for sentencing. One of the accused was sentenced to four years imprisonment. Sentencing of the remaining 4 accused was deferred to the 8th October 1991 when they appeared before the Lord Justice Clerk and were admonished.


Breaking The Law

Towards the end of March 1991 – and as a direct consequence of ‘Operation Planet’, and prosecutions relating to acts of sodomy upon teenage boys – an internal study paper was produced by The Crown Office that sought to establish a rationale for, and the extent to which, the protections offered by Common Law could be circumvented, and statute law ignored. The author of that paper was the (then) Senior Legal Assistant at The Crown Office, Elish McPhilomy (now Elish Angiolini).

The justification given by The Crown Office for this extraordinary action was that “some public concern about the appropriateness of basing charges on Common Law rather than statute” had been expressed. However the only “public concern” cited in The Crown Office report was of an opinion proffered by one of the defence counsels in the ‘Operation Planet’ trial, the Advocate Derek Ogg – and as quoted in The Glasgow Herald on the 20th February 1991.

On the 29th April 1991 a meeting was held between Lord Fraser (the Lord Advocate), Lord Roger (the Solicitor General), Duncan Lowe (the Crown Agent), Alfred Vannet (the Deputy Crown Agent) and persons unknown, to discuss the Elish McPhilomy report.

As a result of that meeting, directions were issued by the Crown Office to the Procurators Fiscal (directive No 2025 on the 28th November 1991) in which the Crown Office effectively sanctioned particular criminal acts, contrary to Law – of teenage boys being sodomised by older men. That directive provided the means by which such activities were to be ‘legitimised’ by The Crown.

In response to what the Crown Office described as “public misapprehension”, an amended set of directions was issued (directive No 2025/1 on the 20th December 1991). However those directions amounted to little more than an adjustment of detail – and with an additional Crown Office directive stating that it saw little justification in pursuing cases involving the clients of ‘rent boys’.

The concern is not simply that of officers of the Crown being in breach of their oath (and of ‘malfeasance in public office’). There is also the matter of the introduction of political activism into the Criminal Justice System – for the purpose of introducing extreme, and un-consented social change.

One such issue, of considerable importance, is that of the activities of paedophiles and of organised paedophile rings. The abhorrence of such behaviour is a natural human reaction against those who indulge in such hideously cruel and selfish acts against vulnerable children. However the danger is that the politically motivated misrepresentations of those who attempt to confront paedophilia as ‘homophobic’ (as espoused, for example, in a 1997 article in ‘ScotsGay’ magazine, by Advocate Derek Ogg) can also be seized upon by those with evil intentions to close down any effective response to the serious problem of organised child abuse.


Moving On

On the 28th November 2001 Elish Angiolini was appointed Solicitor General for Scotland. On the 12th October 2006 she was elevated to Lord Advocate, and on the 17th July 2007 it was announced that she had appointed Derek Ogg QC to be her Advocate Depute. 

On the 6th March 2009 Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini announced that she had appointed Derek Ogg QC as the head of the new National Sexual Crime Unit who, on accepting that appointment, promised: “For prosecutors, sexual offences are often the most challenging and sensitive cases to bring before a court. However, I am determined that we will continue to do our utmost to bring compelling prosecutions and treat victims with dignity and respect.”

Later that same year Mr. Robert Green sent two letters to Derek Ogg pleading for the Crown Office to instruct Grampian Police to investigate serious and substantiated allegations of the paedophile abuse of a young downs syndrome victim, Hollie Greig. In particular Mr. Green asked that Grampian Police should be instructed to interview those named as Hollie’s abusers (including a serving police officer, and a local Sheriff).

Both letters were ignored.


Another scandal breaks around Angiolini’s ears


Crown Office ‘BLOCKED’ Strathclyde Police demands for search warrants to investigate Glasgow Council leader Steven Purcell & City Building quango
crown officeClaims made Crown Office refused Police the power to raid Glasgow City Council buildings & ex Council leader Purcell. Credible claims backed up by leaked documents have been made to investigative journalists showing the most senior officials & prosecutors at the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) under former Lord Advocate now Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC, (born McPhilomy) BLOCKED a series of applications for search warrants made by Strathclyde Police to raid premises connected with shamed ex Glasgow City Council boss Steven Purcell & the Council’s arms length organisation City Building, an organisation which was set up under Mr Purcell prior to his shamed exit as leader of Glasgow City Council after revelations in the media of cocaine addiction and other irregularities at the City Council which caused the former Council leader to flee the country in 2010.


A “key player” in moves at the time to investigate Steven Purcell and the many arms length organisations (ALEOs) of Glasgow City Council which faced serious allegations of corruption & political favouritism involving Scottish Labour figures has now disclosed at least FOUR applications for search warrants made by Strathclyde Police to raid private premises and even City Council buildings were REFUSED by the Crown Office under the then Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini. Dame Angiolini as she is now known, was appointed to the position of Lord Advocate in 2006 by the then First Minister, Jack McConnell, now Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale.


On top of the suspicious string of search warrant refusals, a series of written exchanges & accounts of meetings between Police & prosecutors which cannot be published for legal reasons show Police Officers growing frustration over a lack of cooperation from the Crown Office, with one officer claiming “… it appeared the Crown Office did not want the Police to investigate Mr Purcell or any kind of wrongdoing at Glasgow City Council.”


One now retired insider told an investigating journalist earlier this week : “I often wondered if the Crown Office itself had been infiltrated by organised crime to the same extent some of the organisations we were investigating at the time appeared to be”.


Further, more serious allegations have also been made against some of Glasgow’s ‘long time’ party political figures, where it is alleged several councillors & members of one particular political party (guess which one ? – Ed) have “financial & social links to organised crime families” which have been well known to Police for years, yet all attempts by Strathclyde Police to pursue these allegations have allegedly failed due to what one insider referred to as “political based interference from the Crown Office”.


The unnamed “key player” has also disclosed a series of what can only be described as “threatening letters” sent from an UNNAMED Glasgow based private law firm which has also been linked back to its representing of senior figures at the Crown Office and in Scotland’s judiciary. It has been alleged the contents of the letters and notes of telephone conversations which are now known to journalists, formed part of a plan to thwart any substantive investigation into Mr Purcell and Glasgow City Council.


Concern was expressed in some of the meetings that it appeared the law firm involved “.. had been well briefed from the inside on the ongoing Police investigations of Purcell & City Building to the point the lawyer appeared to know every move Strathclyde Police officers made on the case.” Commenting on the changing patterns of suspects who appeared to “be aware of“ the Police investigation, one insider alleged “the inside knowledge some appeared to have of the investigation was probably used to warn suspects they were under observation.”


It is now of course widely known, the same law firm, LEVY MCRAE, who represented the shamed Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell, ALSO represented the then serving Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini in connection with allegations made in the Hollie Greig abuse case, which recently saw Robert Green, the Greig family’s legal adviser & campaigner jailed for ONE YEAR after he was arrested in February 2010 for handing out leaflets calling for an inquiry into allegations of abuse against downs syndrome victim Hollie Greig.


No explanations have ever been offered as to why Scotland’s top law officer used the same law firm who attempted to block media coverage of the Purcell Cocaine scandal and who operate for clients based in the notorious offshore tax haven of the Cayman Islands.


Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskillJustice Secretary Kenny MacAskill worked at, has ties to same law firm used by then Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini in interdict case. As details of the Hollie Greig case began to be reported in the wider press, it emerged the Scottish Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill has personal links to LEVY MCRAE, the law firm employed by the then Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini in legal action over the abuse case allegations. Mr MacAskill has made no comment on the fact he served his apprenticeship at Levy McRae and also worked at the firm for a considerable time during his years as a solicitor before he entered politics. The revelations of MacAskill’s links to Levy McRae, the same law firm who represented Steven Purcell, were reported by Scottish Law Reporter at the time, HERE


NMG0505123Former Lord Advocate now Dame Elish Angiolini employed Cayman Islands hopping lawyers from Glasgow. Previously reported, the then Lord Advocate, now Dame Elish Angiolini had employed private law firm Levy McRae to serve interdicts on Mr Green in connection with his campaign to ‘out’ alleged abusers of downs syndrome victim Hollie Greig. Glasgow law firm Levy McRae who later represented shamed former Glasgow City Council Boss & Cocaine addict Steven Purcell, proceeded to threaten several media outlets & journalists over their reporting of the case, covered by Scottish Law Reporter HERE & HERE. The Purcell scandal caused some newspapers to ‘evaluate’ their relationship with Levy McRae, details of which were featured in a report here : HERE


Scottish Law Reporter recently published an investigation into the knighthood of Angiolini, apparently recommended by the Scottish Government. Dame Elish Angiolini was also appointed Ministerial complaints adviser to Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond. More recently, Dame Elish Angiolini was also appointed to the post of Principal of St Hugh’s College, Oxford.

Attribution/Scottish Law Reporter