Today the trial began in earnest, being the day when the Prosecution managed to call and question 15 civilian witnesses, with a few more to follow tomorrow, plus the police witnesses.
First to take the stand at 10.10am was Sheriff Graham Buchanan who claimed he was not related to Evelyn or Jack Buchanan, nor to Sarah Jane Buchanan from Aberdeen Social Services. He was extremely vague and unconvincing about the depth of his association with Elish Angiolini, despite his having served in Aberdeen as a Sheriff during the time when she was Area Procurator Fiscal and, as he later confessed having spoken to her regularly when she was working in Airdrie as Deputy Fiscal in the ‘80s. He denied all Hollie’ allegations of which he had first learned in June 2009, prior to which he claimed to have had no knowledge of Hollie or her case, and was very vague also about his about his involvement in Anne and Denis Mackie’s divorce case, although he had acted as Sheriff.
Furthermore, Simpson and Marwick which had organised his interdict against Robert also act for Denis Mackie, a fact initially denied by the law-firm, but which later had to be retracted by senior partner Peter Anderson when Anne was able to produce a document to prove otherwise.
When Buchanan was asked if he had looked at the variety of material about Hollie on the internet, he made a surprising attack on David Icke. He replied that one of the sites that was publishing Hollie’s story was Icke’s website and said he was “comforted” that David Icke was “a strange fellow”, therefore any material he published “doesn’t have any credibility”.
A large number of the alleged abusers and victims then gave evidence. It would appear even to an outsider, let alone to all those following this case, that their answers to the prosecution had been carefully rehearsed and choreographed, since all were polished performances and no two adjectival words or terms used to describe their emotion at having being branded child-abusers were the same. Much was made of their being distressed by articles on websites and blogs that were controlled not by Robert but by Greg Lance Watkins and Tom George.
An explanation is required as to why these other 2 individuals have not been charged, as it could be argued that their blogs have caused more ‘alarm and distress’ than anything put out by Robert.
A key witness was Sylvia Major, one of the three people named in the report by Dr Eva Harding confirming Hollie had been abused and identifying her abusers, the other two being Denis and Greg Mackie, Hollie’s father and brother. It should be remembered that this was the report that secured Hollie her award of £13,500 by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. Of all the witnesses it was agreed by those observing in the public gallery that Major made the weakest and least convincing impression, “I can’t/don’t recall” being a frequent response and little emotion, contrived or otherwise being shown.
A considerable number of those called continued in similar vein, having either forgotten information or as expected denying everything of which they are accused by Hollie, yet here and there belying the need for more probing than this hearing, which is focused on indicting Robert rather than them, allowed. One such was Hollie’s aunt, Jillian Mackie who first described herself as a nurse then admitted later she was actually currently involved in child protection work. Although she was at pains to portray herself as just an ordinary woman, she recently testified in the High Court in Glasgow that she was a friend and colleague of the convicted murderer Malcolm Webster. At that hearing it was alleged that she supplied Webster with the drugs that may have led to Mrs Webster’s death. Also at that hearing, Graeme and Jillian Mackie admitted to having received a mysterious ‘loan’ of £10,000 from the murderer, yet this was left hanging in the air, unexplained.
The final witness of significance was Hollie’s former head-teacher at Beechwood School, Andrew Young who began by saying he could hardly remember Hollie Greig, yet as the interview went on, including questions about the 2 medical reports by Dr Paul Carter indicating that Hollie was at serious risk he appeared to have a far more detailed knowledge than he first implied. He didn’t remember Hollie but he knew exactly when she left the school, and under cross-examination he confirmed that Robert had brought up Dr Carter’s issues in late 2009, yet he had taken no steps to check their veracity. Throughout giving his evidence he appeared nervous and uncomfortable.
Robert stresses that it is not the function of this court to ascertain whether all these people are telling the truth or otherwise, owing to the narrowness of the charge against him. All the prosecution witnesses had to demonstrate was the degree to which he had caused them ‘alarm and distress’. Every single witness confirmed that they had never been questioned about Hollie’s allegations, whether in 2000 or 2009, which is precisely the point Robert has always made about Grampian police’s failure to investigate.
If any of these people were telling the truth, therefore, why hadn’t they directed their anger at Grampian police for not conducting an investigation which, if they really had been innocent, would have cleared their names long ago, and obviated the need for the public campaign they have all found so distressing!
And why, in view of the degree of distress and anger these witnesses claimed to have suffered, has not one had embarked on the conventional legal remedy of defamation against Robert Green which was open to all, and taken steps to clear their names, either individually or as a Class?
The evidence of these witnesses may need to be put to the test in future court cases.