'Are you Masons?' challenge to
By Auslan Cramb, Scotland
Three judges yesterday refused to reveal whether they
were Freemasons after being
challenged by a veteran human rights campaigner.
Robbie the Pict put the question to judges hearing
his complaint that a "secret society" of senior figures in the
Scottish establishment is undermining the impartiality of the
He believes that judges who are members of the
Speculative Society could have influenced cases against him during
his long-running campaign against tolls on the privately operated
Isle of Skye bridge.
The campaigner said that Sir Iain Noble, chairman of
the Skye Bridge Company, was a member of the same organisation, and
also suggested that the 250-year-old debating club had Masonic
Appearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh
yesterday before Lords Gill, Kirkwood and Wheatley, he demanded to
know whether they were Freemasons.
"Have you ever taken the oath for the purpose of
entering into Masonic association?" he asked.
After a few moments of silence, Lord Gill, the Lord
Justice Clerk, urged him to continue reading his speech, and said:
"We are certainly not going to answer that question right now."
The protester replied: "That is as much as I wish to
upset your lordships, the rest is downhill."
The latest case follows his conviction in 1998 for
failing to pay bridge tolls. He claims the collectors of the toll do
not have proper authority and is arguing that no cases involving the
bridge should be heard by society members.
He wants membership of the group considered against
the background of a dozen failed appeals in his anti-toll
Raymond Doherty, QC, advocate depute, produced a list
of members from an internet site to show the "Spec" was not a secret
The society's own literature describes it as a
"secret brotherhood bound by intangible ties of shared loyalty and
A judgment will be issued at a later date.
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