Scottish aristocrat gunning for Brodies

Brodies called in the police over safety concerns for the firm’s staff after the head of the Scottish pressure group Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers Stuart Usher told a documentary that he was tempted to use a shotgun against lawyers at the firm.

Usher launched a £45m claim against Brodies in March 2002 because he believes the firm mismanaged his family’s estate, which was once worth £365m. But the Law Society of Scotland and the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman found his claims unsustainable.

Brodies chairman Alistair Campbell contacted the Scottish police last autumn after the Cutting Edge programme Fall of the House of Usher, featuring the Scottish aristocrat’s campaign to recover his family fortune, was shown on Channel 4. Usher told the documentary that he was prepared to borrow a gun to “go and nail a few lawyers in Edinburgh- the ones that did us in particular”.

Days later the police raided Usher’s house and confiscated his 12-bore shotgun and shotgun certificate.

Usher appealed against a report by the Lothian and Borders Police recommending that his certificate be revoked. On 24 March the Jedburgh Sheriff Court adjourned proceedings until 19 May to allow further documents to be lodged.

A Brodies spokesperson said: “It’s a matter for the sheriff to decide if Mr Usher is a fit person to keep his shotguns. This process is now out of our hands.”

“Brodies did this to divert attention from the real issue,” said Usher. “When I complained to the [Scottish] Law Society they found against me and accused me of being paranoid. Since then, the legal establishment has tried to marginalise me as unstable and off my rocker.”