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Crown Office

Volume 930: debated on Wednesday 27 April 1977

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asked the Lord Advocate what transfer of personnel at the Crown Office to Dundee has been made recently; and for what purpose.

There has been no transfer of Crown Office personnel to Dundee recently. The Deputy Crown Agent, who is investigating allegations of corruption in Dundee, is spending a considerable part of his time in that city, where he is directing the police in this connection, receiving their reports, assessing the information and deciding what further investigation is required.

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman accept that the transfer of the Deputy Crown Agent to Dundee, even temporarily, indicates his intention to make progress in the matters that he has been discussing? However, does he not agree that two years, which I think is the time that the inquiry has been running, is a very long time, and that one accused has now been on petition for the extraordinary period of 15 months?

The hon. Gentleman should be aware that the inquiries in this case have been extremely exhaustive and have covered a very considerable period. I can give some indication of the depth of the inquiries by stating that more than 200 witnesses, in the United Kingdom and abroad have been interviewed, and that the transactions concerned are transactions with connections and interconnections in fields far beyond the obvious limits of local government. For these reasons they are inquiries which, on any view, could not be carried out quickly.

If any staff are transferred to Dundee, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman warn them that they will not have the opportunity to vote for the Scottish National Party in the district elections, as that party is not sufficiently interested in the affairs of Dundee to put forward a candidate?

It would not be appropriate for me, as Lord Advocate, to give them any such warning or direction.