(Sic) in more ways than one


TYPOS – a nightmare for anyone, especially lawyers, (and just to be clear, if any appear in the following paragraphs they have been inserted deliberately for purely ironic purposes). Few legal typos have ever attracted such instant world-wide attention as those of the personal lawyer to US President Donald Trump who released a statement to the press Thursday morning that began with the sentence “I am Marc Kasowitz, Predisent Trump’s personal lawyer” (sic) and just deteriorated from there. Kasowitz appeared before the press to read this statement shortly after former FBI director James Comey’s appearance in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, an event so anticipated by the US press it was nicknamed “Washington’s Super Bowl”. Amongst some of the more remarkable claims in the document were equally eye-catching errors of punctuation, spelling and grammar. Predictably, Twitter reaction was swift and gleeful, “Thank God the PREDISENT got that first class lawyer to defend him #unpredisented”. The statement concluded “it is now established that there the President was not being investigated for colluding with or attempting to obstruct that (sic)”. Sic indeed.

IF THAT EXAMPLE is not enough to induce nightmares for anyone in the legal profession, this week also witnessed a horror-show for the Crown Office in Scotland as the high-profile Craig Whyte trial concluded on Tuesday with an acquittal on all charges. Leaving the court in Glasgow a free man, the worst a grinning Whyte had to endure were a few shouts of “scumbag” from a small group of Rangers supporters in the street outside. Newspaper reports of the case leave the reader in little doubt that it was defence QC Donald Findlay who had all the best lines. Equally, the defence’s tactic of calling no witnesses appears to have made quite an impression on the jury, who despite a long and complex trial reached their verdict in just two hours.

THE FAMILIAR face of a different form of business infamy made a brief reappearance this week, when The Times managed to track down Fred Goodwin, snapped grimly playing golf in Edinburgh as news broke that RBS have settled the long running dispute over the rights issue to shareholders in the run up to the 2008 financial crisis. As The Guardian noted, this means Goodwin escapes a court appearance in “a potentially explosive case”. The bank’s former Chief Executive had been scheduled to appear on Thursday – General Election day – but the RBS shareholder action group accepted a settlement on Tuesday. However, one group of diehard investors continue to hold-out against the deal, principally because some were determined to see Goodwin in court.

AS THE WEEK concludes at the WS Society, Parliament Square once again absorbs the results of a general election. Judging by the prime minister’s speech in Downing Street earlier in the day, it’s not clear if Theresa May has heard the results. 

VISITOR NUMBERS in the Royal Mile are growing as summer truly begins, and anyone stepping out of the Signet Library is instantly aware of the many different nationalities happily mixing in Edinburgh’s Old Town, as indeed has been the case through the centuries, although perhaps not in quite the numbers of today. The WS Society is at the heart of this now more than ever, and in the coming weeks looks forward to welcoming many visitors from both home and abroad. Even Walter, not a dog who generally gives the impression of being at home in a crowd, enjoys the buzz of early summer. Of course, he knows all too well the amazing – and apparently infinite – ability of the Signet Library to provide anyone who seeks it, be they lawyer, tourist or small Scottie dog, a cool, calm and quiet corner in which to work, study or relax.

— “Writer”

Writer's Week is not intended to represent the views of the WS Society or its members.