The new Scottish Lord Advocate has vowed to act “independently” after being sworn in as a judicial officer.
Dorothy Bain QC, who was approved as Lord Advocate by MSPs last week, said she would treat people with “integrity, professionalism and respect”.
The role of Lord Advocate has come under scrutiny due to its dual nature, with the incumbent leading the prosecution and serving as the government’s principal legal adviser.
Critics, pointing to the Crown’s office controversies over cases involving the Rangers and former Prime Minister Alex Salmond, believe the two functions should be split.
James Wolffe QC resigned as Lord Advocate after the Holyrood election and Bain, who nailed serial killer Peter Tobin, was chosen as successor while Ruth Charteris QC was chosen as Solicitor General.
After the swearing-in ceremony, chaired by Scotland’s longest-serving judge, Lord Carloway, the Lord Advocate said:
“It is a great honor to be the Lord Advocate of Scotland and I have the privilege of being at the head of the crime prosecution and death investigation systems in Scotland. These are tasks that me and those who work on my behalf will complete this independently of anyone else.
“I am delighted to be joined as a lawyer by Ruth Charteris QC. I am fortunate to have such a talented lawyer as Solicitor General of Scotland. undertook to review the functions of the Lord Advocate. I will give all appropriate assistance to this review. “
Referring to her work on some of the ‘most serious cases’ brought before Scottish courts, she said:
“Through this experience, I learned that people who find themselves victims or witnesses of a crime can find it a confusing experience.
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“I have seen with my own eyes the toll this can have. Their existence is transformed by the actions of another, and they are entitled to feel a whole range of emotions.
“I know there is no right or wrong way to feel – but I also know there is a right way to treat them. On behalf of Scottish prosecutors, I am committed to treating people with integrity, professionalism and respect. “