POLICE officers ‘manipulated’ the legal system in a ‘desperate quest’ to build a doomed case against a business expert who was trying to save Rangers, a court has heard.

Advocate Andrew Smith QC said officers led by Detective Chief Inspector Jim Robertson acted unlawfully in pursuing his 57-year-old client David Grier.

The senior officer led a probe into allegations that Mr Grier broke the law during the sale of Rangers in 2012.

Yesterday, Mr Smith told judge Lord Bannatyne at the Court of Session in Edinburgh that detectives ‘engaged in a cover up’ during the probe.

He said that DCI Robertson and his colleague failed to follow correct legal procedures and failed to disclose important evidence which showed his client was innocent of any wrongdoing.

Mr Smith spoke of an email which he called the ‘Don’t tell David’ communication. He said that email showed his client hadn’t been part of any criminal conspiracy as alleged by the police but that officers failed to follow their legal responsibilities and disclose it to prosecutors. The Crown would have then shown it to defence solicitors.

Mr Smith said that because of the actions of the police, Mr Grier could have fallen victim to a miscarriage of justice. The advocate said: “It is clear from the evidence available that a miscarriage of justice would have taken place. The system of justice was manipulated by police. The senior investigating officer was out of his depth and was engaged in a desperate quest to pursue evidence that simply wasn’t there. It was an abuse of state power.”

Mr Smith was speaking on the first day of a two day hearing brought by Mr Grier against Police Scotland.

Mr Grier, who works in helping turn around failing businesses, is suing the police for £2million. He claims that detectives disregarded legal procedures when he was arrested in 2014.

Officers suspected Mr Grier, of London, had broken the law during the sale of the Ibrox side and the businessman was charged with fraud and conspiracy.

But Mr Grier and his co-accused, David Whitehouse, Craig Whyte, Charles Green, Paul Clark and Imran Ahmad, were later cleared of wrongdoing.

In the latest action, Mr Smith is seeking a summary decree. This means an automatic award of damages to his clients as he claims nature of the police’s actions in the case mean they are unable to defend the action. Mr Smith said an example of the police’s wrongdoing lay in their failure to disclose an email to Mr Grier’s legal team.

The court heard that the email related to the Ticketus deal in which the tickets firm was providing funds to the club ahead of Craig Whyte’s takeover of Rangers.

At Mr Whyte’s criminal trial at the High Court in Glasgow in May 2017, it was alleged that Mr Whyte didn’t want people to know that Ticketus were providing the club with money.

It was alleged that Mr Whyte didn’t want to people know about the company because he gave the impression that he had the money needed to takeover the club. It was alleged that this was fraudulent.

Mr Smith said the ‘Don’t tell David’ email involved Mr Whyte and Phil Betts, an associate of the businessman who helped in the buyout of the Glasgow club.

Police Scotland are contesting the action and deny any wrongdoing.

Their lawyers claim that officers had a reasonable basis of suspecting Mr Grier of being responsible of illegality.

The hearing continues.