A top Irvine lawyer and ethics expert is being investigated by police after slating the Orange Order in a foul-mouthed online rant where he branded their members "knuckle dragging mutants" and "f******* inbred w*** hankies."

Solicitor Advocate Simon Brown, who is from Irvine, has been reported to Police Scotland over comments he made on Twitter.

Brown has since apologised to anyone offended by the tweet and has now deleted it from his page.

Brown, who runs law firm Matthew Brown Solicitors, which was started by his father, also serves as an External Examiner in Professional Ethics for the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice at the University of Strathclyde.

And the Kilmarnock-based lawyer, who is on the board of the Law Society of Scotland - the professional governing body for Scottish solicitors - has also been reported to the Law Society over the comments.

Yesterday (Wednesday, February 21) he was blasted by the head of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland over the "very offensive" remarks.

The Tweet in question - which was posted on Brown's account at 4.04pm on Saturday, February 17, and has since been deleted - read: "FFS! It's only February and the Orange B******* are out again. Every time I see those knuckle dragging mutants a little bit of my humanity is chipped away. #orangeorderf*******inbredw***hankies"

And, in a follow-up Tweet, Brown - who is also believed to be a member of the SNP - went on to label Scotland "The Orange Free State."

Brown has since written on his Twitter page: "I am aware that a tweet which appeared on my timeline on Saturday 17th February has been the subject of some media attention.

"Several people have indicated they were upset by it. The tweet has been deleted, and I sincerely apologise to anyone who was offended."

Brown has been a solicitor for 22 years and became a Solicitor Advocate in 2006, meaning he can also represent clients in the High Court, claiming on his firm's website it allows them to provide "continuity of representation."

His bio on the site also states he has "a particular reputation for dealing with difficult and complex criminal cases" and that he "has dealt with every imaginable type of criminal case and is well placed to provide detailed insight and experienced advice in respect of any type of criminal matter."

Robert McLean, the Executive Officer of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, condemned Brown over the comments and said he had reported him to both the police and the Law Society - leading to officers from Police Scotland going to speak to him at the organisation's Glasgow HQ.

Mr McLean said: "We are very offended by this Tweet.

"We have reported it to Police Scotland as a hate crime - we find it totally unacceptable that a solicitor has posted this.

"We have also informed the Law Society.

"We find it very offensive, especially coming from a solicitor - a person of his standing in the community.

"We reported it through the hate crime section of the Police Scotland website.

"Two officers came to Olympia House to speak to me about it."

Brown, who is a former Peer Reviewer with the Scottish Legal Aid Board, where he monitored standards in other Solicitors' criminal work, refused to comment when contacted at his firm's office yesterday (WED).

It's understood Brown applied for a job as a sheriff, a judge who presides over cases in sheriff courts in Scotland, last year but was unsuccessful.

A legal source said last night: "Simon made no secret of the fact that he wanted to become a sheriff and was distraught when he was knocked back without even being interviewed for a post.

"It is astonishing any lawyer, never mind a Solicitor Advocate, would post something like this on social media.

"And it is even more inconceivable he has done it when he has such a desire to join the bench.

"Sheriffs take an oath to preside over cases impartially and, at the very least, this shows that he is prejudiced against members of the Orange Order."

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "Police have received a report in connection with this incident. Enquiries are ongoing."

A Law Society spokesperson said: "We are aware that Simon Brown has now deleted the tweets and offered a full apology.  

"We will investigate any conduct complaint which is referred to us by the SLCC in the usual way."

Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, University of Strathclyde and SNP did not respond to requests for comment.