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Law Chief in the dock

Historic case review

By Marion Scott, Sunday Mail, 2004

SCOTLAND'S Lord Advocate is to be taken to court to explain why his office failed to prosecute seven accused men in the country's largest abuse case.

Lawyers for hundreds of former De La Salle schoolboys have been granted legal aid to hold a historic judicial review.

For the first time ever Lord Advocate Colin Boyd will be called in front of three judges to explain the Crown's stance.

The Sunday Mail revealed sexual abuse, torture and beatings at five schools run by De La Salle monks.

Detectives from Central Scotland Police identified dozens of charges against 10 men - but only three men were taken to court, despite the fact four monks still have contact with children.

The Crown only went ahead with charges against retired monk Brother Benedict, real name Michael Murphy, 70, Charles McKenna, 83 and Jimmy McKinstry, 70.

As a result, only a handful of victims were called to give evidence - prompting calls for a public inquiry. The High Court sentencedeach abuser to two years. Murphy appealed and his case has yet to be heard.

Emil Szula, 52, from Glasgow, who spent years at St Ninian's in Gartmore, said: "I was forced to give evidence about a monk who battered me senseless.

"But my other abuser, a man who repeatedly raped and abused me, is still walking free."

Legal arguments will compare the Crown's attitude towards other historical abuse cases.

Last night, Cameron Fyfe, the lawyer for hundreds of De La Salle victims, confirmed they had won the judicial review.

He said: "With just three accused sentenced, far too many alleged victims feel they've been denied justice.

"I believe we can show that no other reasonable prosecuting authority would have taken the steps the Crown has in this case."

A Crown Office spokesman said: "We cannot comment at this stage."

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