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'Are you Masons?' challenge to judges
By Auslan Cramb, Scotland Correspondent
(Filed: 19/02/2003)

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 judicial system.

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 connections.

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 campaign.

Raymond Doherty, QC, advocate depute, produced a list of members from an internet site to show the "Spec" was not a secret society.

The society's own literature describes it as a "secret brotherhood bound by intangible ties of shared loyalty and common tradition".

A judgment will be issued at a later date.

18 February 2003: Robbie the Pict in 'secrecy' challenge

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External links  
The United Grand Lodge of England
The Speculative Society of Edinburgh - First Foot
The drive for justice - Skye and Kyle Against Tolls