Alan G Hasson was one of the most colourful and controversial figures of his day.

Despite having an Irish Catholic mother and an Egyptian father The Reverend Hasson was a staunch protestant and one of the country's best known ministers.

He was also Chaplain to and a Grand Master of the Orange Order in Scotland.

Furthermore the firebrand orator was seen as an unofficial spokesman for the loyalist movement both at home and in Northern Ireland.

However his outspoken views had seen him banned from speaking at gatherings in the six counties.

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He opposed the move towards ecumenism by the Church of Scotland and even ran a newspaper called Vigilant whose views did not always meet with the approval of senior Orange Order figures.

On one occasion the organisation was forced to pay compensation to a tobacco company after one article implied that money from sales of their popular Senior Service brand went to the Pope.

Every July 12th Hasson would head out from his church manse in Bonhill, Dumbartonshire, to lead the local Orange Order parade in a horse.

Then one day in 1960 he appeared to have deserted his parishioners and disappeared without trace.

It transpired that he had decided to make a new life for himself in Canada.

However one possible reason for his abrupt departure from Scotland soon became clear.

Around this time £10,300 was found missing from the Orange Order coffers in Glasgow. The equivalent of almost £250,000 today.

Detectives from the City of Glasgow Police were called in to investigate and a warrant was soon issued for Hasson's arrest.

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It seemed that only Hasson and the lodge treasurer had access to the funds at the time.

It was decided at that time not seek his extradition from Canada but to wait and see if he returned to Britain.

Over the next decade Hasson became well known in his new found home as a game show presenter, quiz host and sports commentator..

He was not in a rush to come back to Scotland, anytime soon.

Eleven years years after he fled to Canada the authorities however got the break that they needed.

Information was received that the Orangeman was flying to the Middle East from Canada for a visit.

For some reason known only to Hasson he decided to travel to his destination via London Heathrow.

Glasgow detectives alerted the Metropolitan Police and both they and their Scotland Yard colleagues were lying in wait when he changed planes.

Hasson was said to have been taken aback by the police welcoming party and the slickness of their operation.

Within a matter of hours he was back on the plane to Glasgow and sitting in a police cell.

The following day he appeared at the city's Sheriff Court on embezzlement charges and was refused bail.

Instead he was remanded in custody at Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow to await trial.

Months later he was formally indicted at the High Court in Glasgow and a trial date set.

His legal team lodged a special defence of incrimination or impeachment blaming the treasurer for the fraud. The only other person who had access to the Orange Order funds.

Both his solicitor Benny Heslin and QC Colin McEachran had put a lot of work into the case over the previous four months.

The amount of files on the court defence table in front of the judge was testimony to that.

But in an astonishing move on the day of his trial Hasson decided to sack his counsel and defend himself.

The trial in 1971 which lasted seven days was a media sensation at the time because of the reputation of the former minister.

Under cross examination Hasson accused the treasurer of stealing the money, something which he denied. The ex churchman said he was the only person other than himself who could sign cheques.

This was of course denied by the hapless treasurer whose reputation was being trashed in the witness box. One of the onlookers was Glasgow criminal lawyer and legal legend Joe Beltrami.

Beltrami like many other solicitors wanted to see how Hasson fared while defending himself In his 1988 autobiography The Defender he said:'I formed the view that he was doing particularly well and seemed to be enjoying the attendant publicity."

Then right of the blue Beltrami got a letter from Hasson asking him he could come to the prison and speak with him. As the trial was coming to a conclusion he wanted the lawyer's to help prepare his final speech to the jury. He told the brief, who died in 2015, that he did not possess enough legal knowledge to do himself justice in his summing up.

The irony of a staunch Protesant asking a devout catholic of Italian Swiss descent for help was not lost on Beltrami. Particularly as the lawyer was also a keen Celtic fan.

Nevertheless Beltrami went to Hasson's cell that night and the following evening to help him prepare and polish his speech.

That day, as the trial came to an end, to the court was packed with lawyers to see how he fared on his own.

In the Defender Beltrami added:"Most of them were more than impressed in the way that he tackled his speech.

"He had little recourse to notes and his summing up was done dramatically.

"Hasson seemed to have most of the qualities that would have made him, had he wished, a successful actor."

At the very end of the proceedings the trial judge Lord Johnston told the jury that they had two clear choices.

If they believed Hasson they had to acquit him and if they believed the treasurer they had to convict.

However it was at this point that the Lord Johnston made a blunder in his charge, which Beltrami quickly picked up on.

Under Scots law the jury have the option of a third verdict not proven, which was explained to them by the judge.

However Lord Johnston said that such a decision by the jurors would be "inappropriate" and "unsatisfactory."

Beltrami was amazed by what he had heard knowing he judge had made a major error in trying to influence injury's verdict.

He went down to the cells and told Hasson what he had heard and said that if he were convicted he would have strong grounds for an appeal.

Then jury came back within the hour with a guilty verdict. It was clear they had not been impressed with Hasson's powers of oratory.

The former minister was then asked to speak on his own behalf before the judge sentenced him to three years in prison Beltrami went to see him the next day and said he would be lodging an appeal.

He had been involved in a similar case in 1964.

Then a capable homicide conviction had been overturned after the judge told the jury that he didn't like not proven verdicts.

That had become what is know as 'case law' and would boost any chances of a second victory.

An appeal date was set for three weeks time at the High Court in Edinburgh.

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There all three judges led by Lord Wheatley quashed the conviction after only 30 minutes and Hasson was a free man after serving only 21 days of his sentence.

Beaming with delight he strolled out of the court with Beltrami into the afternoon sunshine where he told waiting pressmen:"I prayed my god, how I prayed.

"Now my prayers have been answered "I think there will be convulsions within the Orange Orders as a result of the verdict.

"Some of then will be standing on their heads.

"It is a great day."

On their return to Glasgow from Edinburgh the two men stopped off at Beltrami's home in Bothwell, Lanarkshire for tea and biscuits.

Hasson joked that he was so impressed with Beltramis's legal skills he was considering a religious conversion.

However Beltrami's devoutly catholic housemaid wasn't so impressed because of his previous reputation.

She ignored Hasson while he was in the house and resigned a short time later from Beltrami's employ.

Little is known of Hasson after his 1971 acquittal.

It was said he tried and failed to rejoin the Church of Scotland as a minister.

It's also believed he later changed his name and ended up playing the bagpipes and busking in Edinburgh.

A far cry from the fame and adulation he had enjoyed in an earlier life.