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Newsnight Scotland's David Nisbet reports
"Thomas Monogue believes a public register is essential"
 real 56k

Thursday, 19 October, 2000, 16:04 GMT
Court hears freemasons challenge
Freemasons graphic
The freemasons are a secret society
Scotland's entire legal system could be seen to be flawed unless judges voluntarily disclose whether they are members of the freemasons or other similar organisations, a court has heard.

At Dunfermline Sheriff Court on Thursday, Derek Ogg QC argued that justice needed to be impartial.

He was representing Fife businessman Thomas Monogue, who is charged with housebreaking.

Mr Ogg said there were elements of the case which suggested police involvement with freemasonry.

Links with freemasonry

It was therefore important for the public to be sure that the judge hearing the case was not likely to be influenced by membership of a secret society, he claimed.

Sheriff Isabella McColl deferred a decision on whether she should reveal whether she has any links with freemasonry for a week.

Mr Monogue, 55, from Dunfermline, Mr Monogue is pleading not guilty to a charge that in December last year he broke into business premises in Fife and stole a quantity of bridge parts.

However, wants the court to rule on whether judges and sheriffs should be made to reveal whether they are freemasons.

Secret society

Mr Monogue says freemasons may not be impartial and believes they could discriminate against him as a non-member, which would breach the European Convention on Human Rights.

The managing director of Kingdom Engineering claims he is entitled to know whether or not a judge hearing a case against him is a freemason or the member of a secret society.

He says freemasons swear to give a brother mason the benefit of the doubt in interpreting all things, including the law.

This, he says, means a judge or sheriff who is a member of a secret society might not be impartial.

Caliper and dividers
A freemasons' symbol
He is asking the court whether he can seek such information before his trial begins - without running the risk of being held in contempt.

He said that if a judge refused to answer the question it may be that he would not co-operate with the court or recognise its impartiality.

Speaking on Newsnight Scotland, Mr Monogue called for the introduction of a public register of freemasons.

But Martin McGibbon of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Masons said it was unfair to single out freemasons.

"I have no difficulty with a register of organisations to which one is a member, but let it be all organisations and not just one," he said.

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See also:

12 Oct 00 | Scotland
Call to uncover freemason judges
20 Nov 99 | UK
Freemasons lift the net
04 Aug 99 | UK
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