allegations against sheriff

Principle of free speech

Published: 18/03/2010

FREEDOM of speech is one of the most closely-guarded of the rapidly-dwindling rights of British citizens. The right to speak one’s mind without fear of being thrown into a prison cell is a fundamental component of democratic society.

That being the case, it is inevitable that people will, on occasions, abuse that right, subjecting innocent people to wild and highly-damaging accusations. Such would appear to be the position with regard to Aberdeen sheriff Graham Buchanan, who has been forced to seek a court interdict preventing the lay adviser to a young disabled girl from publicly accusing him of abusing her and of participating in the death of her uncle, who was found dead in a burning car.

Police have conducted two separate investigations into the allegations made by the girl, who has Down’s Syndrome, and have found no evidence to support her claims. Despite this, the lay adviser, Robert Green, has persisted in making the allegations and it is apparent that he will continue to do so, regardless of the evidence. Examples such as this undermine the principle of free speech, but it is vital that we do not let them destroy a basic right which our predecessors gave their lives to preserve.

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