Two Rangers FC administrators are in line for a payout after Crown lawyers admitted that large parts of a prosecution case against them was “malicious”.
Judge Lord Tyre ordered prosecutors to make an interim payment of £350,000 to David Whitehouse and £250,000 to his colleague Paul Clark, who both worked for consultancy firm Duff & Phelps.
The pair were arrested following events surrounding Rangers’ financial position eight years ago.
The Ibrox club entered liquidation in October 2012 and both Mr Whitehouse and Mr Clark left their positions.
Both men later saw the charges against them dropped.
It is claimed there was no justification for their detention or prosecution and that the Crown never had sufficient evidence for any of the charges it brought.
Mr Whitehouse and Mr Clark won a ruling last year that Scotland’s most senior law officer, Lord Advocate, did not have absolute immunity from being sued.
The compensation orders came after a hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Wednesday. Lawyers for the Lord Advocate admitted that prosecutors acted unlawfully for a significant amount of time in the prosecution of the two men.
They admitted the human rights of both Mr Whitehouse and Mr Clark – who were cleared of all wrongdoing – had been breached at times during the investigation.
Both Mr Whitehouse and Mr Clark are seeking a total of £14m from the Crown Office and Police Scotland for alleged wrongful detention, arrest and prosecution.
The Lord Advocate had previously denied any wrongdoing. But on Wednesday, the Lord Advocate’s lawyer Gerry Moynihan QC told Lord Tyre that the prosecution beyond their initial court appearance was “malicious” and conducted without “probable cause”.
The case is still continuing. But Mr Whitehouse and Mr Clark’s lawyers say they haven’t been provided with documentation that could help their case.
Speaking following the Crown admission, Mr Clark’s lawyer – Iain Ferguson QC – called on Lord Tyre to make an interim award to the two men.
He said: “It is nothing short of a disgrace that the government has chosen to act in this fashion towards two private citizens.
“It is only through the determination of Mr Clark and Mr Whitehouse to clear their names that we have got to this point.
“The bottom line here is that less wealthy people could never have got to this point. In my submission, some award has to be made in this case.”
Mr Whitehouse, of Cheshire, has brought a damages claim against the Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC and Police Scotland for £9m.
Surrey-based Mr Clark is suing for £5m.