APPEAL COURT, HIGH COURT OF JUSTICIARY
Lord Justice General
Lord Nimmo Smith
 HCJAC 68
Appeal No: XC265/04
OPINION OF THE COURT
delivered by LORD WHEATLEY
NOTE OF APPEAL AGAINST CONVICTION and SENTENCE
JAMES WILLIAM SCOTT
HER MAJESTY'S ADVOCATE
Alt: Stewart, A.D.; Crown Agent
 The appellant
was found guilty by a majority verdict of the jury at the High Court in
 The evidence
in the case appears to have been in a relatively brief compass. The now deceased and his father were drinking
in the Princess Bar in
 At about the same time, Caroline Muir, the manageress of the bar, had heard the aggressor swearing (although she was not able positively to identify him) and asked him to leave. He did so, accompanied by his father. They both left by the back door. From other evidence, it appears that a young man matching the description of the appellant was then seen passing by the window which looked out of the side wall of the premises, as he went along a lane which connected the short distance between the back and the front of the public house. The fatal attack took place at the front of the premises a few seconds later.
 Meanwhile, the deceased's father, Brian McKee, decided to follow his son home, almost immediately after he had left through the front door of the bar. As soon as Brian McKee got outside, he saw his son being attacked, and in particular witnessed the co-accused holding his son and the appellant assaulting him. To begin with, Brian McKee thought that the appellant was punching the now deceased, but then realised that he had a knife in his hand. Brian McKee also said that the co-accused, who was holding his son by the shoulder, had a knife too, and that as he arrived on the scene the co-accused let go of his son and struck him in the stomach with a knife. Jason McKee died shortly afterwards from multiple stab wounds.
 As the trial judge has noted, Brian McKee was the only eye-witness to the assault with which this appeal is concerned. The Crown relied on other circumstantial evidence in order to corroborate the case against the appellant as the person who carried out the murderous assault. At the close of the Crown case, defence counsel submitted that there was no case for the appellant to answer, because there was insufficient corroboration of the evidence of the single eye-witness who identified the appellant as being responsible for the assault on the now deceased. This submission was in effect the same submission made by the appellant's counsel before this court in terms of his first ground of appeal. The trial judge repelled the submission of no case to answer, and the jury, in due course, found the appellant guilty of murder. The trial judge imposed the mandatory statutory sentence of life imprisonment, and a punishment part of that sentence of 14 years.
 The appellant
then lodged a note of appeal against this conviction on
at a procedural hearing on
 The first ground of appeal to be argued in the present appeal therefore is that there was insufficient corroborated evidence in law to convict the appellant, and that the trial judge erred in repelling the submission that the appellant had no case to answer. Counsel for the appellant submitted that the only eye-witness identification of the assault came from the witness Brian McKee. No other witness in the case, from among those who were in the bar in the evening in question, was able to identify the appellant in court, and none of those witnesses identified the appellant at the identification parade which was held at London Road Police Station on 22 May 2003, apart from Mr. McKee. In particular it was submitted by counsel that there was no evidence which identified the appellant as the person who left the public house shortly before the incident took place. At best for the Crown, there was evidence which indicated that the appellant had been in the bar in the evening in question, and may have been involved in an altercation with the deceased, but that was all. It was accepted that a bottle of Smirnoff Ice had been left on the counter of the bar which bore the appellant's fingerprints and DNA, but there was no link between his departure from the bar and the incident which resulted in the death of the deceased. Reference was made to the case of Hoy v H.M. Advocate 1998 S.C.C.R. 8, where it was held that evidence of earlier antagonism between the deceased and the accused was not sufficient to corroborate the circumstances of a fatal attack.
 We are not convinced that these submissions had any merit. There was clear and unequivocal evidence from Brian McKee of the detail and circumstances of the assault, all as libelled in the charge, and in particular Mr. McKee deponed to the fact that the deceased was assaulted by two persons, whom he identified. In support of this there was, in our view, clear evidence of facts and circumstances from which the jury could infer that the appellant was one of the persons involved in the assault. First, there was the evidence of several witnesses, including Pauline Blakely, Margaret Bunton, and Irene McAnery that a young man who had been standing at the bar showed antagonism towards the deceased, and shouted to the deceased that they should go outside. At that point the deceased left the bar by the front door, followed shortly afterwards by his father. At about the same time, the manageress of the bar, Caroline Muir, asked the person responsible for these aggressive remarks to leave the bar. The person thus addressed did so by the back door, leaving a bottle from which he had been drinking on the bar counter. This person was followed by his companion. The witness Pauline Blakely identified the bottle left on the bar counter as being one of Smirnoff Ice. Following the incident, two bottles of Smirnoff Ice were found on the counter. One was linked by forensic evidence to an unidentified female, but the other showed finger print and DNA evidence linked unequivocally to the appellant. The witness Margaret Bunton said that she saw a young man whom she had seen standing at the bar, and who matched the description of the appellant, going past the side window of the premises on what clearly was the route which would take him from the back door to the front of the premises. The witness also saw this person, as he walked along, take something into his hand from his trouser pocket. The assault on the deceased took place almost immediately thereafter a very short distance away.
 In these circumstances we are satisfied that the evidence available was plainly capable of justifying the inference that the appellant was the person who left by the back door of the public house, accompanied by his co-accused, at about the same time as the deceased went through the front door of the public house. The jury also had material from which they could infer that the appellant was seen then going to the front of the public house, and that the co-accused was subsequently implicated in the murder by corroborated evidence, including evidence that his spectacles were subsequently found, contaminated by the deceased's blood, at the scene of the attack. Almost immediately thereafter there was a fatal assault upon the deceased. The court was also entitled to have regard to the short period of time which elapsed between the appellant's aggressive behaviour in the bar and the violent incident which then took place, and to the short distance between the back door of the bar and the front of the premises where the attack took place.
 There was thus clear circumstantial evidence which identified the appellant as the young man who was drinking a bottle of Smirnoff Ice at the bar counter, who then engaged in a gratuitously aggressive manner towards the deceased, and was shortly afterwards asked to leave the premises, that he did so leaving his bottle of Smirnoff Ice on the counter, and that shortly thereafter he participated with the co-accused in the attack upon the deceased. Accordingly, it appeared to us that there was ample corroborative evidence that would justify allowing the matter to go to the jury for their consideration.
 We are not persuaded that the case of Hoy v H.M. Advocate 1998 S.C.C.R. 8, which the appellant prayed in aid of his submissions, was in any way of assistance in determining the issue in this case. Hoy was clearly decided on its own particular facts and the court did not think it necessary to refer to any authority in reaching its decision. The case proceeded upon a concession by the Crown (page 12D-E). Further, there was a sharp distinction between the circumstances of the case of Hoy and what happened in the present case. The issue in Hoy was the need to find corroboration for the scope or extent of the violence which was properly attributable to the appellant. The appellant in that case had accepted that he was one of two people who had assaulted the deceased, but denied being involved in that part of the assault which produced the fatal blows. It was held that evidence of earlier antagonism between the appellant and the deceased could not provide corroboration for the further and more serious part of the assault which the appellant had denied. It was also decided in a legal context in which Mackie v H.M. Advocate 1994 S.C.C.R. 277 was still regarded as good law (see trial judge's charge, noted at page 11F); the relative dicta in Mackie were shortly thereafter disapproved in Fox v H.M. Advocate 1998 S.C.C.R. 115. Further, it is not the case that circumstantial evidence is corroborative only if it is more consistent with the direct evidence for the Crown than with a competing account put forward by the accused, as counsel for the appellant appeared to suggest. Rather, we are satisfied that in looking at circumstantial evidence such as is available in the present case, the function of the court is to consider the possible concurrence of that testimony with all the other evidence in the case, having regard to all the circumstances, as opposed to examining discretely the incriminating nature of each individual element of that evidence and deciding that none of it had any particular value (see Al Megrahi v H.M. Advocate 2002 SCCR 509). We therefore reject this ground of appeal.
 The second ground of appeal tabled by the appellant (ground 3(i) in the original Note of Appeal) is to the effect that the preparation for, and conduct of, the appellant's trial by those representing him at the time was defective and inadequate in that, it was said, important evidence had not been produced in the appellant's defence. In particular it was submitted that the case against the appellant was crucially dependent on the identification evidence given by Brian McKee, the deceased's father, who averred in the most emphatic manner at the trial that the appellant had been responsible for the murder of his son. However, counsel for the appellant argued that his evidence in this respect was fatally compromised. The appellant maintained that after his apprehension and while he was in a holding cell in Barlinnie Prison prior to being taken to a local police station for the purpose of taking part in an identification parade, Brian McKee, who was also a prisoner in Barlinnie at the material time, and whom the appellant said he could identify from photographs which had appeared in the press, had looked into the cell in which he was being held. The appellant was aware that his own name, and the letters "ID", were on the outside of the cell in which he was lodged. He had tried at the time to complain about what happened to the prison officer in charge (who could subsequently not be identified) without success, and had also brought what happened to the attention of other prisoners in the area. He then informed the two police officers who took him from Barlinnie to the identification parade about what he said had occurred. Precognitions from the police officers, confirming that the appellant had told them that something of the sort had taken place in the holding area in Barlinnie, were produced in the appeal. At the police station, and before the identification parade started, the appellant advised Thomas Bannigan, his solicitor, of what he said had taken place at the prison shortly before, and Mr. Bannigan objected to the parade taking place on that ground. The police officer who was to conduct the parade then took advice from the procurator fiscal's office, and was advised to proceed with the parade. Mr. Bannigan's objection was duly noted on the relevant record. The question of what happened in Barlinnie Prison prior to the parade was then raised at a pre-trial consultation attended by senior and junior counsel, Mr. Bannigan and the appellant, which was held three days before the trial began. Mr. Bannigan had not made any investigation into the appellant's allegations in the course of his preparations for the trial or the consultation; witnesses who might have been able to speak to what had happened were not precognosced or subsequently led in evidence; and the question of any possible impropriety in the procedure prior to the identification parade was not in fact brought up at the trial, and in particular was not used to attack the evidence of Brian McKee.
 In supplement of this narrative of events at the instance of the appellant, Donald Findlay, Q.C., senior counsel for the appellant at the trial, submitted a statement that he could not comment in detail on the appellant's complaint, as he rarely retained any detailed memory of cases in which he appeared as trial counsel once the trial was over. He did, however, have some recollection of a suggestion that something had happened at Barlinnie involving the appellant and Brian McKee but thought that it had been looked into by his instructing agent without producing anything of any real substance. He also recollected that there was better material available to him for the purpose of cross-examining Brian McKee. Mr. Findlay's junior had left the Bar sometime after the trial, had destroyed his notes, and had no recollection of the matter.
 Mr. Bannigan
was able by reference to his business file to produce a more detailed
recollection of events, and gave evidence at the instance of the appellant
during the appeal hearing. He confirmed
that at the identification parade, the appellant had claimed that Brian McKee
had looked into his holding cell in Barlinnie, and that he had accordingly
objected on behalf of his client for that reason to the parade being held. He also mentioned that he had thereafter
spoken informally to Mr. Findlay prior to the pre-trial consultation. He accepted that he had not carried out any
investigation into what his client had told him; he would only have done so on the
instructions of counsel. He also
confirmed that what the appellant maintained had happened prior to the parade
was fully discussed at the pre-trial consultation on
 In these circumstances, senior counsel for the appellant submitted before us in support of the second ground of appeal that there was no doubt that the incident described by the appellant in the holding cell had taken place. It was clear from the relevant current guidelines on the conduct of identification parades produced by the Lord Advocate (which were lodged in the appeal) that a suspect should under no circumstances be seen by a witness prior to the parade taking place. Because Brian McKee was in a position to observe the appellant's name on the outside of the cell, and the appellant within, any subsequent identification by him was tainted. The question of the identification of the appellant at the trial was crucial, as was evident from page 3 of the trial judge's report, and pages 32 and 33 of the judge's charge to the jury. The challenge to Brian McKee's identification of the appellant was of the highest importance, especially when the appellant's position was that he had not been present at the murder. The failure by counsel to put the incident at Barlinnie to the witness was therefore of fundamental significance. Had the jury been made aware of what had happened at the prison prior to the parade, it is possible that they would not have been prepared to accept Brian McKee's evidence identifying the appellant as being involved in the murder. In that case the appellant would have been acquitted. Counsel made reference in general to the case of Anderson v H.M. Advocate 1996 JC 29; 1996 SLT 155; 1996 SCCR 114 in support of his submission that a fundamental failure to present a substantive defence meant that the conviction could not stand.
 In response the advocate depute maintained that it could not be asserted with confidence what (if anything) had happened in Barlinnie Prison prior to the parade. There were curious features, he said, about the appellant's affidavit; for example he claimed to identify Brian McKee from photographs which had appeared in the press, rather than from seeing him in the public house on the night of the murder. In the event, the affidavit merely reflected his impression of what might have happened; it was quite possible on reading the affidavit to conclude that he was making more of the incident than it truly justified. The advocate depute then drew a sharp distinction between strategic issues - such as the introduction of a special defence of alibi or incrimination, and tactical issues - which, for example, might involve decisions to address a particular adminicle of evidence. In the first instance, an accused's legal representatives would normally be required to observe an instruction to lodge such a special defence; in the second, the way in which the defence case was presented would be for counsel to decide. The proper way to deal with what the appellant said happened before the identification parade clearly fell into the second category and, as a tactical matter, the approach taken by senior counsel was both appropriate and entirely within his discretion. The discussion at consultation did not amount to an instruction to raise the matter in court; even if it had, senior counsel's discretion in this area could not be circumscribed. It might well have seemed to him that there were far more profitable issues to be explored with the witness. In the event senior counsel had chosen to attack the witness Brian McKee in his identification of the appellant not on his reliability, but rather on his credibility. That decision would have been taken within the changing context of the trial and in the light of how the defence intended to present the appellant's case to the jury. This was a matter for counsel's professional responsibility and it was right that it should be dealt with, as counsel had indicated at the pre-trial consultation, in the course of the trial. In fact counsel dealt with the issue by not raising it at all. The line of cross-examination was clear; Brian McKee was challenged on the basis that he was merely repeating in court what he had been told, (rumours as to the identity of the perpetrators were said to be circulating in the locality), rather than recounting what he had seen. That was a matter for counsel in the discharge of his professional duty, and if that was so then it would follow that there could be no suggestion that there had been any defect in the appellant's representation at the trial.
 We are wholly satisfied that the appellant's claim that the preparation for, and conduct of, his trial by his legal representatives was defective and inadequate is not made out. In this matter, we prefer the submissions of the advocate depute to those of appellant's counsel. We observe in the first place that the exact significance of what was said to have happened in the holding area in Barlinnie prior to the identification parade is far from clear. It is not possible on the information before us to establish precisely what happened. We do not know what Brian McKee would have said in reply had the matter been raised with him in evidence. We do not know what the appellant would have said about what happened had he decided to testify. Of more importance, however, is to note that the central point in this ground of appeal is not that the identification of the appellant by Brian McKee at the trial was tainted; rather it is said that by failing to raise the matter with the witness, senior counsel was guilty of defective and inadequate representation of his client's case.
 In these circumstances it is appropriate to consider what senior counsel actually did in presenting the appellant's case before the jury. From an examination of the transcript of the evidence given in court on 9 March 2004, and in particular of counsel's cross-examination of Brian McKee, it is clear that he embarked upon a carefully considered and powerful attack on the witness's credibility on several related fronts. Four particular topics can be distinguished; first of all, the witness is challenged on his failure to provide a full account of what happened at the critical time in the immediate aftermath of the murder (p. 72 et seq); secondly, he was asked to provide an explanation of why he had at an earlier stage indicated that a third party by the name of Rice was involved in the murder, but departed from that claim when he was asked to give evidence in court (p. 95 et seq); thirdly, he was questioned on his involvement in the drug scene, and on the violence that is commonly associated therewith (p. 105 et seq); and fourthly, it was suggested to him that his evidence was not accurate or credible and that he was merely repeating rumours which he had subsequently heard (p. 112 et seq). In these circumstances it is plain that the question of what happened prior to the identification parade was not something which amounted to a substantive defence. It was one evidential issue among several which could have been explored in order to attack the credibility of the crucial witness. It was therefore pre-eminently a tactical issue as to whether that topic could or should be raised with the witness; it was certainly not a strategic matter which defence counsel might be obliged to put forward. It is then not difficult to see that an experienced and skilful counsel might consider that there were in fact disadvantages in using the incident to cross-examine the witness in the immediate context of the trial. As the appellant admitted that he had been in contact with the deceased and had left the public house at the same time as the deceased immediately prior to the murder, counsel could well have taken the view that the jury might have had little patience with questioning the procedure which had led to an undisputed identification. In counsel's view there might also have been disadvantages in pursuing an issue that was not of a piece with what he clearly considered the more powerful and cohesive arguments which he in fact deployed against the witness.
 As counsel for
the appellant relied on the case of
" In any event decisions as to whether or not to attack the character of a Crown witness are for the advocate to take, not the accused. This is a matter on which the advocate is entitled to, and must, exercise his own professional judgment. He cannot attack the witness's character unless he has the information which enables him to do this. But he is not subject to his client's direction on the matter. He is entitled to take his decision as the trial develops without further consultation with him, as the client's agreement to this is not required. The best that can be said of this case is that it illustrates clearly the kind of case where the conduct of the advocate does not provide a ground of appeal. The criticisms which have been made of the solicitor advocate in this case fall far short of an allegation that he deprived the appellant of his right to a fair trial. They relate to the manner in which the defence was conducted and to decisions which were exclusively within the province of the advocate."
With that statement we respectfully agree. In the present case, we have no hesitation in
concluding that counsel's decision not to pursue the issue of what happened
prior to the identification parade was one entirely for his discretion, that
there are readily discernible reasons why he might have chosen not to use this
material, and that he cannot be said to have erred in the exercise of his
professional discretion or to have failed to provide adequate and proper
representation for his client. Indeed,
the allegations in the present case are significantly less powerful than the
claims put forward on behalf of the appellant in the case of
 Ground 4 of
the original grounds of appeal is in the form of a devolution minute and was
said to be supplementary to the first ground (3(i)). What in essence is claimed in this ground is
that by leading and relying upon the dock identification evidence of Brian
McKee at the trial, following the circumstances which led up to the
identification parade, the Crown's actions were incompatible with the
appellant's right to a fair trial in terms of Article 6(1) of the European
Convention on Human Rights. The
circumstances surrounding the earlier incident were known to the Crown, and the
leading of that evidence in that knowledge led to an unfair trial. Reference was made to
 In essence the response of the Crown to these submissions was the same as under the previous grounds of appeal. Senior counsel for the appellant at the trial had elected to adopt a particular line of attack on the evidence of Brian McKee, which did not include what may or may not have happened at Barlinnie. In a proper exercise of his discretion, he had chosen not to raise the matter with the witness. The material had been at all times available to the defence; this was not a case of failure of disclosure by the prosecutor. There was no need for the trial judge to have given a special direction on identification. There could be no question of unfairness to the appellant.
 We are satisfied that this argument for the appellant also is misplaced and should not succeed. As before, the question at issue in the case, as presented by defence counsel at the trial, was concerned with the credibility of Brian McKee's evidence, not with his reliability. Defence counsel decided, as his most profitable line of attack, to challenge Brian McKee not on whether he could reliably identify the appellant as being at the locus, but rather on whether he could be believed in his claim that the appellant had been involved in the fight which led to the death of the deceased. Where the appellant admitted that he had been in the public house at the same time as the deceased, and further had left at the same time as the deceased left, it could readily be seen as possibly disadvantageous to raise questions about the process of an identification which the jury might think was not disputed. We consider too that it is significant that the Crown did not rely at the trial on the identification evidence at the parade but merely on the dock identification, which in this case appears to have been particularly spontaneous on the part of the witness. Nor were we persuaded that even if there was a residual unfairness to the appellant in the way in which trial counsel decided not to use the incident at Barlinnie, then this was a matter which should have been put right by the trial judge. The trial judge will have no doubt known that an objection had been taken to the identification parade, on her perusal of the labels and productions in the case. But the judge would not be in a position to know whether what was said to have happened was true, or if it was, whether it was appropriate to bring the matter to the jury's attention. Further, as we will explain in dealing with the next ground of appeal, there was no requirement upon the trial judge in our view to give anything other than the standard directions on evidence of identification in the circumstances of this case. For these reasons, this ground of appeal also fails.
 Ground 5 lodged by the appellant, which was also to be said to be supplementary to ground 3(i), is directed at the alleged failure by the trial judge to give particular directions about the difficulties which can lead to the unreliability of eye-witness identification. Counsel for the appellant argued that it was particularly important for the judge to have given these directions, standing the absence of identification evidence from any other witness save Brian McKee. Reference was made to Webb v H.M. Advocate 1996 JC 166; 1996 SCCR 530; and to McAvoy v H.M. Advocate 1991 JC 16. It was evident from reading the trial judge's charge (see, for example, pages 29, and 32 to 37), that nowhere did she emphasise to the jury that special care needed to be taken in considering such eye-witness evidence, or that special tests might have to be adopted in considering eye-witness testimony. In the light of the relevant authorities, and the duty imposed on the judge to see that the trial was fair, this failure by the judge was fundamental and made the conviction unsafe.
 Again we consider that the argument submitted for the appellant in this respect is simply misplaced. As the advocate depute submitted in response, the need to provide the jury with specific directions on the question of eye-witness identification is confined in terms of the authorities, and also in our view in terms of common sense, to cases where it is the reliability of the eye-witness testimony which has to be considered and assessed. The situations which are envisaged to need such special directions are, for example, where a witness may only have had a fleeting glimpse of someone not seen before, or where there may be other circumstances or conditions which might make accurate identification difficult. In the present case, the attack on the witness Brian McKee was throughout directed against his credibility. There was no challenge to the reliability of the evidence which placed the appellant at or near the scene of the murder. As we have indicated earlier in this Opinion, the issue in dispute in this case centred exclusively around whether the witness Brian McKee could be believed or not in his description of what happened. In these circumstances, there was no need whatsoever for the trial judge to give the jury the kind of direction described in Webb v H.M. Advocate. As a result, this ground of appeal also fails.
 Ground 6 for the appellant is also in the form of a devolution minute, and is to the effect that the Crown failed to disclose material information to the defence in the shape of Brian McKee's previous convictions for assault and dishonesty. It was submitted that the way in which the Crown ultimately presented the evidence before the jury was false and misleading. In the course of cross-examination (at p. 109 of the transcript), Brian McKee had stated that he had never been involved in serious violence. In fact he had a number of previous convictions for violence, including one in 1982 for assault to severe injury, for which he was imprisoned. In re-examination, the advocate depute sought to clarify and correct the witness's evidence by asking him if he had previous convictions for assault. In response to the advocate depute's questions, Brian McKee confirmed (at p. 116) that he had such convictions, but maintained that the incidents happened a long time ago. However, counsel for the appellant argued that the prosecutor had also failed to elicit information which was within his possession that although the witness McKee had further claimed never to have used a knife on anybody, one of the Crown witnesses, Alan Robertson, who was the manager of the Princess Bar at the material time, and who provided an affidavit to this effect, had some two to three years earlier caused Brian McKee and his son to be barred from the public house because, following an argument or scuffle in the bar, they had produced knives. The defence, it was said, were unaware of these matters. In giving the appearance of establishing the true position regarding Brian McKee, it was argued that the advocate depute had left the jury with a false, misleading and unduly favourable impression of the witness. Further, the advocate depute, it was said, failed to ask the witness if he had previous convictions for dishonesty and one previous conviction for an attempt to pervert the course of justice. Accordingly, it was submitted that, in the context of a witness whose credibility and reliability was crucial to the prosecution case, the advocate depute again presented the jury with a false and misleading impression of Brian McKee's criminal history in a fashion incompatible with the appellant's right to a fair trial in terms of Article 6(1), and this resulted in the trial being unfair. For each and all of these reasons counsel for the appellant asked the court to quash the conviction.
 In response, the advocate depute argued that the witness had in effect accepted that he had previous convictions. He had been barred from the Princess Bar some two or three years earlier, but he maintained that he had never been convicted of using a knife, and that was correct. The purpose of raising the question of the witness's criminal history was simply to discredit him; there was no question in this case of self-defence. There was therefore no unfairness in the circumstances to the appellant, and no unfair trial.
 We agree that this ground of appeal also is not made out. The plain purpose of this line of evidence at the instance of the defence was to undermine the credibility of the witness in general terms by showing that he had been associated with violence in the past. The result of the question in cross-examination, which elicited the response that the witness had not been involved in serious violence, was that in re-examination the witness admitted that he had previous convictions for assault. That this was sufficient for defence counsel's purpose in attacking the witness's testimony is demonstrated by the fact that, in the course of earlier submissions outwith the presence of the jury concerning the admissibility of evidence about the conviction for which Brian McKee was currently serving a sentence, senior counsel for the appellant made it clear that he was not interested in the witness's earlier record (p. 62 of the transcript of evidence). It was agreed that the witness could be asked in general terms what offence had led to him being in prison at the time he gave evidence, and at the time of the earlier incident at Barlinnie Prison; this line of questioning was specifically related to that part of the defence strategy which suggested to the jury that the witness's circumstances as a drug dealer were liable to be attended with violence (see p. 106). In particular, it is instructive to note the detailed terms of the advocate depute's question in attempting to clarify the position in re-examination (at p. 116):
"I think you said to Mr. Findlay at one point that you had never been involved in serious violence, but do you have in the past between 1969 and 1982, you have previous convictions for assault."
To this general proposition the witness assented. The advocate depute then repeated his statement to the witness to the effect that he did have convictions for violence in the past. It is clear, in our opinion, that the advocate depute did in essence clarify that the witness had previous convictions, against the suggestion that he had earlier claimed that he had not previously been involved in serious violence. There was no need to refer to any other convictions, and defence counsel did not want details of other offences. This line of re-examination, therefore, only related to the restricted line of defence taken by counsel at the trial, and produced a response from the witness which plainly satisfied the purpose which prompted defence counsel to raise the issue in the first place.