A FORMER procurator fiscal is in a legal battle with the Crown Office over claims she was unfairly dismissed.

Laura Malone has raised employment tribunal proceedings against the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), claiming bosses placed “excessive and continued demands” on her.

She also claims her time in the service’s Health and Safety Unit led to her suffering a “mental impairment”.

A judgment on a preliminary issue in the case reveals Ms Malone joined the unit in 2010 and claims to have suffered problems straight away.

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In her submission to the tribunal, she stated: “I complained about a team colleague’s continued behaviour to me upon my arrival within the unit. 

I was vocal to team members of my unhappiness in the unit due to lack of training, lack of supervision, lack of support and my resultant feelings 
of floundering given the specialist area of law.”

She added her experience was “commonly shared within the unit”.

Ms Malone then requested a transfer out of the Health and Safety Unit and was moved to the Forensic Gateway Unit, the department responsible for processing crimes requiring forensic examination.

However, her submission states “staffing shortages” and an excessive workload also caused her difficulty there and she started exhibiting “unrecognisable behaviour”.

She stated: “COPFS should have realised I was on another path occasioned by stress, should have listened to my complaints and found a solution to them. They did not.

“COPFS offered me no support, COPFS chose to ignore my odd behaviour, COPFS did nothing to investigate my complaints.”

She added: “By the time I left my employment in February 2013, their conduct towards me from 2010 in the H&S Unit had made me suffer a mental impairment which continues to this day.”

The former prosecutor was appealing to the tribunal to allow her to amend her case to include a claim of disability discrimination. 

Lawyers acting for COPFS argued that this amendment was “well out of time” and that the Crown would “suffer hardship” if it was allowed as it would have to investigate the new claims and call additional witnesses at the expense of the public purse.

Employment judge Rosie Sorrell found in favour of the Crown and refused to allow the amendment. 

The case for unfair dismissal will now proceed at a later date.

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Ms Malone, a former senior procurator fiscal depute who worked for the COPFS for 20 years, also currently has a personal injury claim proceeding through the Court of Session in which she is seeking £1.3 million from COPFS.

She has raised a damages action for “psychiatric injury” against the Lord Advocate James Wolffe, QC, based on the alleged “fault and negligence” of the COPFS, for whom the Lord Advocate was said to be “vicariously responsible”.
This case will also continue to a full hearing at a later date.

A COPFS spokesman said: “COPFS will continue to defend this action and 
it would, accordingly, not be appropriate to comment further on the substance of the case. 

“COPFS values its employees very highly and their welfare is of great importance to the organisation. 

“The service offers support to anyone suffering stress at work and has policies to help ensure a consistent approach to tackling the issue. We would encourage any member of staff to contact them in confidence if they require support.”