Friday was a hugely important day for Deadline Press and Picture Agency and for its news editor, Lauren Crooks. It was also an important day for media freedom in Scotland.
After a year of uncertainty and worry, Lauren was finally cleared on a trumped up and ludicrous charge of impersonating a court official. Had she been convicted, every reporter in Scotland would have been at risk of being arrested for simply doing their jobs.
Read the Allmediascotland account HERE
Read the journalism.co.uk account HERE
Read the Hold The Front Page account HERE
Firstly, well done to Lauren for bearing up remarkably well during a stressful year, despite my ongoing wind-up that she would just love being an inmate at the notorious Cornton Vale prison.
No-one at Deadline doubted Lauren’s innocence for even a fraction of a second. The charge was more than a policing misjudgement – it smacked of being deliberately trumped up.
It’s a serious allegation, impersonating a court official. Right up there with impersonating a police officer – which quite rightly can mean jail time for anybody convicted.
What this costly, embarrasing, intrusive, needless debacle proves beyond all reasonable doubt is that there genuinely IS someone impersonating a police officer.
Whichever buffoon (and a top ranking one at that) at Lothian and Borders Police sanctioned the original “investigation”, wasted the time of hard-pushed detectives to assemble an, ahem, “case”, then must surely have brough influence to bear or pulled favours to get it through the Procurator Fiscal’s department.
Hopefully the guilty party will be unmasked soon.