Mullen v Procurator Fiscal, Inverness

Criminal procedure – Right to fair trial – Conduct of Justice of Peace – Appearance of bias. Sheriff Appeal Court: Declining to pass a bill of suspension brought by a complainer who was convicted of driving while using a mobile phone, the complainer's position being that in bringing the defence agent's cross examination of the second of two police officers to a premature end with the comment that she found the police officers credible and reliable the Justice of the Peace disclosed bias, the court held that the Justice's use of the expression plausible or credible was explicable in the context of what preceded it, namely the prolonged and unproductive cross-examination of a police officer who was repeatedly accused of lying; the court was not persuaded that the Justice by her words would lead the fair minded and informed observer to conclude that there was actual bias or the real possibility of bias.

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