I was through in Edinburgh this evening for a GWT meeting, and the new Chairman invited me back to his flat for an orange juice.
He is a senior Sheriff ( think Judge) in Edinburgh, and has just been handed a document on proposed legislation, affecting accused persons and the people who try them.
As he says, if the accused is standing in front of him, hands in pockets, chewing gum, he tells him to take his hands out of his pockets and gets the usher to give him ( or her) a tissue to get rid of it. He also has the policeman on duty remove the mobile phones when they ring ( yes, this is true).
Now, with the new proposed legislation, he will no longer be able to do this, as the poor dear accused would feel hard done by. The accused will be able to make an official complaint. This complaint will have to be investigated. Whilst it is being investigated, the Sheriff will be suspended ( on full pay), and may not sit again until the process is complete.
If you've been following me, within about three days every Sheriff in Scotland will be suspended, so no trials can take place.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, this brilliant idea is not from the SNP. It comes direct from Westminster ( prop. G.Brown/Nulabour) and has been handed to the Scottish Parliament for ratification.
Can't quite see it happening, myself.