Author: Matthew Berlow

Statement of Matthew Berlow at Graham Walker Solicitorsre: Scottish Law Society Victory

It is not often in the career of a criminal lawyer that one finds oneself in the position of having to represent yourself but that is exactly what happened to me when I came to the aid of a good friend who found himself the target of an organisation called The SPSC (The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign).

My friend was an Israeli businessman selling cosmetic products in various malls in Scotland. Wherever he set up the business the SPSC would intimidate and harass him and his customers. Eventually, my friend was hounded out of Scotland. The SPSC do not believe in the right of Israel to exist and I viewed their actions as targeting and racist. I said so in a discussion on Facebook and a member of the group complained to the Scottish law Society about being labelled as a racist.

Perversely the law society determined that I should complete diversity training and pay compensation to the complainer even although my comments were directed to the SPSC as an organisation and not to this individual. We showed the tribunal material demonstrating the racist nature of the organisation and argued that I had every right to defend my friend.

At my appeal, I was ably represented by Queens Counsel (Adam Solomon QC) and at that hearing, we demonstrated that the complainer’s case did not stand up and that I was in no way in need of diversity training. Her complaints were dismissed and any compensation to the complainer was cancelled too.

I still require to pay a fine for using intemperate language against The SPSC but this is a price worth paying in the circumstances of defending a friend and doing what I thought was right.

I don’t simply defend clients but will stand up for what is right in my personal life too where I perceive injustice.

Matthew Berlow, Criminal Lawyer. Glasgow May 2019


Legal Aid for bail undertaking in Scotland FAQ

Legal Aid in Scotland

If you have been released by the police on undertaking, it is vital you attend court on the due date. Your bail undertaking indicates the date of your court appearance and it’s imperative you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. You will need to decide whether you will plead guilty or not guilty at your Bail Undertaking Hearing and your solicitor will be able to offer the best guidance.

Matthew Berlow at Graham Walker Solicitors provide a 24-hour advice line and you can speak direct with a member of our legal team to discuss your bail undertaking and ask for a solicitor to represent you at your hearing.

Legal Aid is often available for clients attending Bail Undertaking Hearings and some of the questions we’re most frequently asked are highlighted below:


Q What if I plead guilty to the charge?

As already noted above, legal aid is different if you plead guilty. Your solicitor will be able to advise you further.

Q What if the case goes to trial?

All circumstances are different, so if your case goes on to a full trial your solicitor will advise you further and any entitlement to legal aid will be based on your current financial situation.

Q What if my case is classed as a serious matter?

It is possible you could still qualify for legal aid if your case is classed as a solemn matter by the courts. Any available assets will also be considered within your legal aid application.

Q What are capital limits for legal aid?

In January 2019, the savings capital limit was pegged at £1,716. If you are facing a summary case which will be heard in a magistrates court, the savings capital is also £1,716. Capital limits for summary cases or solemn cases to be heard at the Sheriff Court or High Court have far higher capital limits and this makes it much easier to claim Legal Aid.

Q What if my case is too expensive for me?

If you cannot afford to pay to put some aspects of your case together, such as for medical or expert reports, then an application for Legal Aid can be put in place.

Q Where is the official Legal Aid online calculator?

This can be found at:

Q What benefits give me automatic entitlement to Legal Aid?

If you or your partner are claiming income support, income-related employment and support allowance or income-based jobseeker’s allowance, you will automatically qualify for Legal Aid in Scotland.

Scotland in grip of national emergency as drugs epidemic tears apart generation

Scotland’s failure to counter its growing drugs menace has become a national emergency.

A death rate which was slipping out of control as far back as 2007 has now reached epidemic proportions – especially when compared with our European neighbours.

Starting tomorrow, the Record will publish a new series of articles which will ask: What can be done about
Scotland’s drug deaths?

Featuring many voices and perspectives, we will speak to academics who are at odds with each other’s
ideological stances, as well as GPs and recovery specialists running residential abstinence programmes.

We will also feature heart-rending tales from ordinary people whose lives have been blighted by drug dependency – including long-term drug users and their families.

Their revelations make clear that, for every life lost to drugs, there are many others blighted by the mental scars associated with tragedy – sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, mums , dads and more.

Some of the questions asked include:

● Have the benefits of the methadone and other opiate replacement therapies been shattered by the explosion in cheap street drugs?

● Are too many people “parked” on methadone for decades?

● Should more funds be set aside to bring more people into properly supervised ORT regimes, rather than be driven to street drugs?

● Is it right that the UK Government believes a lifetime on methadone might be regarded as a successful outcome for some?

● Should drugs laws be devolved and should this lead Scotland to decriminalise drug possession, set up safe consumption rooms and move to genuinely radical action?

● Is decent housing the key to meaningful lives and should this become the focus of massive Government funding?

● Should we fund more long-term residential abstinence-based detox programmes?

● Should we promptly establish a proper register of how many people are on methadone and ascertain how many are moving towards a life free from drugs?


Our forum will feature politicians and GPs whose jobs have given them first-hand knowledge of the way drugs are wrecking the lives of their patients and constituents. And we will investigate genuinely radical moves that are being made on a small scale to bring life skills to those prepared to be abstinent on long-term residential, community-based programmes.

The Record has heard many stories over the years of people whose only wish is to get clear of methadone, amid claims by many they are being “held” – sometimes against their will – on such programmes.

A review of methadone in 2013, after our series of stories, promised much but resulted in no improvement.

The number of methadone deaths rocketed from 237 at the time of the inquiry to 2013 to 439 in 2017. Heroin related deaths more than doubled in the same period and benzo-diazepine deaths rocketed from 196 to 552, as street “benzos” like diazepam and etizolam took hold of Scottish streets with devastating effect.

Many academics and GPs stress the huge risk of overdose and relapse for those who try to get free of drugs too quickly.

Prominent experts believe reducing the stigma against drug addicts is the best way to begin solving the problem.

The Record accept there is no easy solution.


Source: Scotland in grip of national emergency as drugs epidemic tears apart generation

Backlash after BBC Scotland recruit Nazi dog salute’

Backlash after BBC Scotland recruits Nazi dog salute’ criminal Mark Meechan leaves Airdrie Sherriff Court. Picture: SWNS Published: 09:48 Updated: 09:52 Sunday 03 March 2019 Share this article Sign Up To Our Daily Newsletter Sign up New Age Entrepreneurs: why retirement can be the perfect time for a new enterprise A number of people reaching retirement age are realising that their hobbies can fast become a fulfilling pursuit during retirement. Read More Promoted by 0 HAVE YOUR SAY BBC Scotland’s new digital channel is facing a major backlash after recruiting a criminal who taught his dog to perform the Nazi salute. Mark Meechan will be allowed to air his right-wing views next month on the taxpayer-funded channel, despite his conviction for a “grossly-offensive” hate crime last year. The appointment will outrage members of Scotland’s Jewish community, who already feel vulnerable to what they perceive to be a rise in anti-semitism in the country. Meechan, 31, caused an uproar when he uploaded a video to the website YouTube showing his girlfriend’s pug dog doing the ‘Sieg Heil’ salute alongside obscene Nazi imagery. PEUGEOT 208 Tech Edition. With Park Assist, Active City Brake & reversing camera. Everyone needs a hand in the city. Promoted by Peugeot 208 The provocative blogger, from Coatbridge, in Lanarkshire, also chanted variations of the phrase ‘gas the Jews’, repeating the slur around 23 times in a few minutes. Just this week Meechan boasted to his social media followers that he was still refusing to pay the £800 fine handed to him by a judge at Airdrie Sheriff Court. Meechan will star alongside reality TV personality, James English, and Edinburgh-based dominatrix, Megara Furie. Glasgow Friends of Israel member and prominent Scottish lawyer, Matthew Berlow, said he could not believe that Meehan, who he accuses of making light of the Holocaust, is being given such a public a platform. READ MORE – Swimmer David Wilkie: Should mere mortals like Andy Murray be given a knighthood? He said: ‘It is absolutely sickening and disgusting. Anti-Semitism is a very difficult subject but we Jews know what it looks and feels like. ‘I know that anti-Semitism has become very popular but I don’t think that [Meechan’s politics] can be described as a ‘view’. The Holocaust is no laughing matter.’ Mr Berlow added: ‘We are entering a time now where the generation of Holocaust survivors is dying out. The internet is now becoming a breeding ground for idiots like this. It’s a very great shame. ‘There’s a difference in making fun of Hitler and making fun of gassing six million Jews.’ Man arrested after a suspected stabbing in Edinburgh Swimmer David Wilkie: should ‘mere mortals’ like Andy Murray get knighthoods? The controversial BBC Scotland programme will air in April and will see four people with strong opinions take on the world’s most hotly contested topics each episode. Unlike a panel show, it is up to the regular contributors to lead and present the show and debate between themselves – in the comfort of a living-room style set up, according to one source. Megara Furie, who has previously said she charges clients £150-a-time said of the programme: ‘It’s really getting into the nitty-gritty of things. There were arguments, there were times when we all agreed and there were times when we all vehemently disagreed.’ Last night Scottish Conservative shadow culture secretary, Rachael Hamilton, said that the Corporation needed to reconsider its decision to give Mark Meechan a slot on national television. She said: ‘The promotion of this individual in any BBC programme would seem to be entirely against the BBC charter. ‘If BBC Scotland wants to retain the goodwill of its many audiences it really should reconsider this decision. ‘It would be berlowastonishing if the BBC, in any capacity, was to give a platform to someone convicted of a hate crime.’ Although Meechan’s appeal was not accepted, it is thought he has still not paid his fine. When contacted by the Scottish Mail on Sunday about his co-starring role on the BBC Scotland show, Meechan declined to comment. Last night the BBC said: ‘We had a broad range of contributors in for the recording of a new late night format in which a wide variety of issues are debated and opinions are challenged. “The production is currently in the edit where the content of the programme will be decided, subject to the BBC’s robust editorial review and compliance procedures. “We don’t discuss payments to individuals. When a fee is paid in relation to a production it is in line with standard industry practice.’


Read more at:

Released on Undertaking

What is an undertaking?


If you are charged by Police Scotland with a criminal offence then they have the power to hold you in Police Custody in a cell at the Police Station until court the following day. (If you are held on a Friday this means you will hold until Monday at the earliest). Colloquially known as a “weekender”.


Very often, however, the Police will not hold you in custody but may elect to release you on what is known as an “undertaking”. Also known as “liberation from Police Custody on an undertaking”. Essentially what this means for you is that you give an undertaking to appear at court at a later date. It is a legal document which you sign and breaking the undertaking (ie failing to attend court on the specified date is a criminal offence in of itself).


In addition, the Police Scotland can insist on “special condition of bail” in the interim period which you must adhere to under penalty of law.


Examples of Special Conditions of bail

  • Stay away from specific places
  • Do not communicate with certain individuals (directly or indirectly)


What being “Released on Undertaking” actually means for you

You will already have spent some time in police custody and been charged with a criminal offence of some kind. Instead, they released you on a bail undertaking. Please be aware that this is a very serious issue and you will have already been notified of the date for your court hearing.


Your release on an undertaking is noted on the form given to you by the police, which you will already have signed to confirm you will be attending court. The charge(s) you are facing are also noted on this form.


It’s absolutely vital you go to court on the due date, as a warrant for your arrest will be issued if you don’t show up. Your case will normally be heard in the Sheriff Courts, although sometimes cases are heard in Justice of the Peace courts.


An undertaking is a promise and a legal obligation

Your bail undertaking is your guarantee to the police that you will behave in a lawful manner while you are on bail and that you will attend court on the due date. You will also need to follow any special conditions which have been agreed, if applicable.

Contact a Criminal Lawyer right away

After your release from police custody, you should seek professional legal advice at the very earliest opportunity.


Your criminal solicitor will help you and be able to represent you in court on the date of your undertaking. This court hearing is called a bail undertaking or simply undertaking.

Instructing a criminal lawyer at the earliest opportunity allows more time for negotiations to take place with the Procurator Fiscal, as it’s possible your charge(s) can be negotiated. In some circumstances, the Procurator Fiscal may even decide not to pursue any further action.


The expert lawyers at Graham Walker Solicitors have the skills to handle any kind of bail undertaking to achieve the best outcomes for clients. Get in touch with us at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss your charge(s) in detail and benefit from the best available advice.


Alternative to undertakings


  • Held in a Police station cell overnight and appear in court the next working day.
  • Bank Holiday’s are not working days, you will be held in a cell until Tuesday.
  • Released for “report” – This means you will be released with no court date but the case will be referred to the prosecution lawyers (Procurator Fiscal’s Office) and they will decide if there is  sufficient evidence against you and you may then go on to receive a citation/summons weeks or perhaps months later.

SLAB (Scottish Legal Aid Board) vs The Law Society – what is the difference

Getting free legal advice

The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) provide funding so that everyone who needs access to a criminal solicitor in the police station will get the help they need. If you’ve been arrested or are being investigated by the police, you can access assistance from a criminal lawyer for no cost at all, in some cases. It is not available for minor driving matters.


When you need legal aid or help with criminal law, time is of the essence. An arrest can happen at any time and you may need help outside of normal working hours. If you’re detained at a police station during the night or in the early hours of the morning, don’t worry. SLAB ensures there is funding available for 24-hour help, so you can contact criminal solicitors at any time of the day or night.


Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) vs The Law Society Of Scotland


All qualified, practising lawyers are regulated by the Law Society of Scotland so you can be sure you’re getting help from a reputable criminal solicitor.


The Scottish Legal Aid Board also provides contact information for criminal solicitors who accept legal aid payments. It is the Scottish Legal Aid Board that ensures that Scots get fair access to the law and representation if they are low on funds.


Citizens Advice Scotland is also a great place to find resources and help if you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime.


24 Hour Criminal Law Advice


When you’re arrested, however, you may not have the time or the ability to trawl through lots of profiles to access help with criminal law. Fortunately, you won’t need to. With one simple call, you can get help from experienced criminal solicitors.


We’ll attend the police station so you can benefit from our advice before and during any police interviews, and we’ll also help you to apply for additional legal aid in Scotland if it’s necessary to do so. We’ll even provide detailed information about the legal aid Scotland application process and what type of help SLAB entitles you to.


Although the legal aid application process is fairly uncomplicated in the majority of cases, facing a criminal charge is a stressful time and it shouldn’t be made more difficult by money worries or financial issues. With our criminal solicitors at your side, you can be sure you’ll get the help and advice you need.


The Scottish Legal Aid Board and the Scottish Law Society are committed to providing criminal law advice to everyone, no matter what your financial situation is.


A Millionaire would get free Police Station representation with SLAB!

Get your charges dismissed/reduced with Legal Aid

Having to appear at a Sheriff court or a Justice of the Peace court can be a scary and overwhelming experience, and even being interviewed in a police station can be daunting. If you’re facing a criminal charge or are likely to be questioned by the police, it’s essential you seek legal advice and assistance.


By getting help from criminal solicitors, your charges could be reduced or even dismissed completely, and this could put an end to any on-going criminal investigations. The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) puts everyone on a level playing field when it comes to criminal law, and you have every right to have a solicitor with you when you’re being questioned by the police. It is also FREE. Even Alex Salmond would get his police station interview funded by the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB).


SLAB routinely dispenses funding for individuals who have been charged with crimes and this legal aid will ensure you can access advice from a criminal solicitor regulated by the Scottish Law Society. With the Scottish Legal Aid Board providing a whole host of resources online, you should find it easy to get the help you need.


As well as having an in-depth knowledge of criminal law, your SLAB funding will provide you with a legal professional who has extensive experience of working within the criminal justice system. This means they’ll know if your charges can be reduced or dismissed. Often, the right legal advice can put an end to your legal problems straightaway and it’s available completely free of charge!


Should you contact SLAB?


When you’re detained by the police you will not have to contact SLAB to confirm your eligibility for legal aid funding. You’ll have the right to access a criminal solicitor so you should be able to get legal advice straightaway. In many cases, this will be all you need to bring matters to a close as your specialist criminal lawyer will attempt to have the charges against you dropped or dismissed as quickly as possible.


If matters progress, there’s further help available and legal aid Scotland will ensure you have representation in court if you’re charged with a crime. It’s easy to apply for legal aid in Scotland and our experienced legal team can help with Scottish Legal Aid Board forms and applications when they’re needed.


With initial legal advice available free of charge to everyone, there’s no need to delay getting the help you need. Before you speak with the police, admit to any charges or accept any direct measures, take advantage of the funding from SLAB and seek free legal advice.


To find out more about securing legal aid in Scotland from SLAB, contact our team today on one of the numbers above.

Drugs in Scotland 2019 : The problem continues

Scottish criminal law – drugs

The Scottish Parliament highlighted just what severe and longstanding problems we have with drugs misuse in Scotland when the Road to Recovery Drug Strategy was launched back in 2008. Despite this programme, recorded figures for 2015 showed a spike in drug-related deaths, giving a total of 706.

Increase in drugs uses in the West of Scotland.

Here at Graham Walker Solicitors, we’re fully aware of just how big a problem drugs still are in Scotland, as our caseload has increased considerably over the past 20 years. We are experts in criminal law and can provide you with a professional solicitor if you’ve been charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act.


Our sympathetic and knowledgeable lawyers have all the expertise needed within this complex arena of criminal law. Although many cases we deal with have related to the use of cannabis and weed cultivation. We have also handled criminal law cases relating to heroin, valium/ Xanax, steroids, legal highs, sleeping tablets and a lot more.


How we can help with your drugs charge in Scotland


We understand the real trauma experienced by friends and families due to the compulsion to take drugs that impacts drug addicts, and we also appreciate all the factors that can drive anybody to supply drugs commercially. Our understanding solicitors are not here to judge you but have a sincere interest in assisting clients charged with drug-related offences.

If you’ve never involved in any criminal charges related to drugs in the past, you may just be charged with one offence by the police. However, there are certain serious drugs offences which can result in long prison sentences.

Let the professional criminal lawyers at Matthew Berlow at Graham Walker Solicitors handle your Scottish drugs offence problem at the very earliest opportunity. This way, we will have plenty of time to prepare your defence and manage all related legal issues.

We handle all kinds of drug-related offences, including Possession, Possession with Intent to Supply, Cannabis Cultivation, charges if you’re concerned in the Supply of a Controlled Drug and also Allowing your Premises to be Used for the Production or Supply of Illegal Drugs. Drug trafficking charges are extremely serious, as they often relate to large quantities of illicit drugs or individuals smuggling drugs through customs at airports or ferry terminals. If you’re charged with a drugs traffic offence, it’s possible you could face a long term in prison.

Our expert solicitors can offer you the comprehensive advice that could make a difference between an acquittal or a conviction, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with a Criminal lawyer at Matthew Berlow at Graham Walker Solicitors to find out more.


Mum fights extradition to USA from Scots jail over alleged kidnapping plot


American mum claims to be British government agent fights extradition to the USA from Scots jail over alleged kidnapping plot

Valerie Hayes, 38, faces charges of conspiring to snatch two children during an armed raid in the States


By Matt Coyle

2nd March 2019, 11:12 pm

Updated: 2nd March 2019, 11:16 pm

AN American mum who claims to be a British government agent is fighting extradition to the US from a Scots jail over an alleged kidnapping plot.

Valerie Hayes, 38, faces charges of conspiring to snatch two children during an armed raid in the States.


Valerie Hayes

But she claims she was working for the UK security services in Northern Ireland at the time.

And after appearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to fight the order to return, she said she was set up by her ex-husband, a high-ranking US intelligence officer.

Speaking from the city’s Saughton nick she protested her innocence — and told how she fears being killed if she goes home to the US.

She said: “I have a case for bail should I wish to pursue it, but have refrained from doing so thus far.

“At the very least I am safe — I would voluntarily deprive myself of liberty for a lifetime on remand in a Scottish prison if it meant being kept safe.”


Ms Hayes believes she has been framed by former partner Robert D Hayes, a high ranking intelligence officer in the US military with security clearance just one level below that of the President.

The behavioural analyst, who has also worked for the American government, previously accused her ex of tying her up and stabbing her repeatedly — and claimed there was a cover-up after he was completely cleared by prosecutors.

She and two others were arrested in Scotland in November by cops acting on a warrant from the American authorities.

Ms Hayes has been kept at HMP Edinburgh as she fights the official request to return her to the States.

She originally fled her homeland in 2014 and sought asylum but was advised that she was almost certain to be refused as she is American.

The mum of four claims she was offered an alternative deal and recruited by the British Government.

Ms Hayes added: “I feel I have no option but to go public in this way.

“My hope is that the light will make it impossible to be forced back into the hands of a country that would rather see me as collateral damage.”

At a preliminary extradition hearing on Thursday, her solicitor Jelina Matthew told the court her client’s asylum file has not been released by the Home Office — which is almost unheard of in extradition cases.

Ms Matthew told the court: “I’m having issues obtaining Ms Hayes’ asylum file. I’ve been told by the Home Office that her file is restricted which is somewhat unusual.

“My client is claiming she was granted leave to remain. I need access to the files to find out on what grounds this was granted.”


Afterwards, Ms Matthew said: “Valerie Hayes maintains she came into the UK in 2014 whereby she claimed asylum as she faced inhuman, degrading treatment, torture and persecution from her husband who held a high ranking position in the US military.

“Valerie has clearly stated that her biggest fear is to return to the USA. She would rather spend her entire life in a Scottish prison.

“Valerie claims to have been granted four years’ leave to remain in the UK but this grant was outwith the asylum route.”

The lawyer added: “Her asylum/immigration file is still being held by the Home Office despite efforts being made by her MP Alison Thewliss to retrieve this for her.

“The Home Office can impose entry bans to individuals who have previously breached immigration law.

“Bans can last one year, two years, five years or ten years but Valerie Hayes claims to have entered and exited the UK without any difficulty.”


Source: Mum fights extradition to USA from Scots jail over alleged kidnapping plot