Last week, reports appeared that Kenneth Macdonald, QC, was convicted in 1971, when he was 18, of sending 0.1 grammes of cannabis through the post and fined £75. The conviction would have been “spent” in 1976. He was also fined £60 for speeding in February, 2001.
Macdonald’s appointment to take over from David Calvert Smith this year was criticised as an example of New Labour “cronyism”, because he was a founder member with Mrs Blair of the Matrix chambers, which specialises in human rights and equal opportunities cases. He has also been criticised by the Conservatives for being inexperienced as prosecutor, having specialised in defence briefs, often for those accused of terrorism.
Mathias Kelly, QC, the chairman of the Bar, said Mr Macdonald was an “extremely able lawyer of the greatest integrity.” He was a “superb appointment”, he said.
Mr Kelly added: “The cheap attempts to question his suitability are everything to do with the fact that he happens to practise in the same chambers as the Prime Minister’s wife; he is therefore seen as yet another way of ‘having a go’ at the Blairs. This is stupid and irrelevant to the real issues in justice in society which we must all now address together.”