He is a man who straddled both sides of the law, first as a defence lawyer to some of Scotland’s most notorious gangsters, and then as a convicted prisoner serving three years in jail.  

Author James McIntyre betstrode Scotland’s murky underworld, a middle-man offering legal advice to drug dealers, gunmen and gangsters who claims his word once saved a witness in a murder trial from being assassinated.  

His tell-all book, ‘Jimmy Two Guns: The Life and Crimes of a Gangland Lawyer’ - released last year – was an expose of Scotland’s criminal underbelly from someone who knew it best.  

Full of bent police officers and allegations of corruption, the true crime genre in Scotland got more truth than perhaps it can handle. And members of the police and judiciary who read the autobiography probably want to see McIntyre back behind bars.  

But he says it’s a “romp” - a ‘Rumpole of the Baily’ tale from Scotland’s seedier sides with far more humour than horror.   

Now he’s hitting the crime circuit again, this time as a speaker rather than a doer, with an appearance at Crime Con on Saturday at the Glasgow Hilton.    

The Herald: The author is appearing today The author is appearing today (Image: Crime Con)

The 67-year-old said: “It’s hopefully quite a humorous book. The publishers  - Black and White – have been very good to me, but the book looks a lot darker than it is.  

“A lot of the stuff I enjoyed doing were cases which were not necessarily very heavy.  

“They (other criminals turned writers) all write these books that tend to be kind of grim stories, or else you get these ones that are ‘I used to do this, or I used to do that but now I’m a really good guy.’” 

McIntyre added: “My book is just relating what I did both before I was a lawyer and stops when I got out of prison. It’s an unapologetic book. It’s a romp and I hope people see the funny side.” 

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A defence solicitor, McIntyre represented one of the notorious McGovern brothers, Tommy, then 28, who was accused of shooting dead a man outside the Ashfield Bar in Springburn and was acquitted. 

The lawyer also represented the youngest brother Paul McGovern, then 16, who was convicted in 1990 of murdering a school janitor in Springburn and sentenced to life.  

Eldest brother Joe McGovern died several years ago and McIntyre admits they were close friends -  McGovern was best man when he married his wife Evelyn and is godfather to his three children.  

He also represented former gangster Paul Ferris – who he says called him ‘Tom Hagen’ after the mafia consiglieri from The Godfather.  

The Herald: Paul Ferris emerges from court after being acquitted of the murder of Arthur ThompsonPaul Ferris emerges from court after being acquitted of the murder of Arthur Thompson (Image: NQ)

During the trial of Tommy McGovern, McIntyre was presented with an ethical dilemma that was possibly unique in the Scottish legal system.  

He said: “In the case of Tommy’s case there was a guy who was willing to say he had seen Tommy commit the murder as long as he got some charges against him dropped.  

“Somebody suggested clipping (assassinating) the guy, and asked me what were my thoughts on the matter. 

“Now, if I said ‘clip him’, he’s clipped – but I have to think of myself, as a Catholic. I said ‘no, don’t clip him because there’s one person dead already that the cops are trying to pin on Tommy, and they are really going to sit up and take notice if their star witness suddenly gets nutted. 

“I said ‘no, it would be a bad move, the case is going to fold.’ And I was right.” 

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McIntyre’s legal career ended when he received a three-year prison sentence at the High Court in Glasgow after police found two guns and ammunition at his home. 

The lawyer claimed they were being held for a client who wanted them given to a police gun amnesty. But the jury didn’t believe him.  

Nowadays he claims he was “fitted up” by officers who made the case look worse than it was by planting bullets in his pockets.  

He says: “I managed to break into the jail – it wasn’t a natural progression for me.”  

The Herald: McIntyre is not a fan of the police McIntyre is not a fan of the police (Image: PA)

Nowadays, he’s swapped real life drama for fiction. After leaving jail he forged a new career as a screenwriter, penning tales for Taggart and more than 200 episodes of River City.  

But having worked in courts, and come out the other side, he still rails at what he perceives to be the injustices of the justice system.  

He said: “Take Glasgow. Somebody from one gang ‘clips’ (assassinates) somebody from another gang, it’s ‘Oh the outcry’, and they have a huge police investigation because one drug dealer killed another drug dealer.  

“They do this and one guy gets done for it because these guys are not very bright. They get 28 years. Yet Tony Blair goes into Iraq and kills tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis and nothing happens.  

“I think it was Voltaire that said ‘if you are going to kill people you must do it by the thousands to the sounds of trumpets.” 

 “It’s this complete hypocrisy”, he adds, going on to relate how the global drug trade sees tons of cocaine smuggled into Europe with the help, he believes, of widespread corruption every year.  

“And then you get some wee lassie called Mary or something in Castlemilk or Drumchapel who’s caught with a couple of grammes and she gets the nick. It’s utter pish.”  

James McIntyre will appear in conversation at Crime Con at the Glasgow Hilton in William Street on Saturday, April 27 at 2:20pm.