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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Perth & Kinross

Lorry driver jailed after being caught at three times drink limit on A9

February 23 2012

A lorry driver who risked lives on the killer A9 by taking to the wheel while under the influence of alcohol has been jailed for four months. Christopher Hazlett (47) was found to be almost three times the legal limit by police officers who stopped him as he drove between Perth and Stirling. After hearing that he had been in ''control'' of a goods vehicle heavily laden with around £100,000 worth of waste paper, a sheriff told him the consequences of his actions could have been ''horrific''. Perth Sheriff Court was told that, after the incident, Hazlett had been made redundant and had been forced to recognise the depth of his problems with alcohol misuse. Hazlett had spent the evening before his arrest drinking with family and friends as he planned a birthday bash for his son. He was still almost three times the legal alcohol limit when he started work the next day and smelling strongly of alcohol. That swiftly alerted the attention of people he came into contact with during the course of his work and they were concerned enough to contact the police. Officers waited by the A9 and saw his vehicle driving past before following and stopping him. They detected a strong smell of alcohol and he gave positive breath tests at the roadside and at the police station in Perth.'Sought access'Hazlett, of Cona Park, Banknock, near Kilsyth, appeared at court in Perth to admit driving on the A9 on January 19 with excess alcohol (90 mics). The legal limit is 35 mics. Solicitor Cheryl Clark told the court her client who had been driving professionally for 26 years without incident had struggled with alcohol in recent times, turning to drink during times of stress. ''This court case has helped him to gain greater awareness of the need to treat his problem,'' Ms Clark said. ''He has sought assistance from his GP and has joined an alcohol project, which has helped him to see a counsellor. ''He has abstained from alcohol since this incident.'' Ms Clark added that Hazlett was aware of the seriousness of his offence. She asked the court to consider a non-custodial sentence but Sheriff Michael Fletcher said the seriousness of the offence made it impossible. Hazlett was also banned from driving for three years. ''Driving when having consumed too much alcohol is treated seriously by the courts, but this was an offence of driving a heavy goods vehicle, fully laden, while almost three times the legal limit,'' he said. ''The consequences of driving a vehicle such as this while in such a state could have been horrific.''

Junior doctors in High Court battle over breaks which could cost NHS millions

February 20 2018

Junior doctors are fighting a High Court battle over rest breaks which could cost the NHS millions of pounds.They claim patients could be at risk and doctors might quit the profession because trusts are failing to monitor trainee medics and make arrangements for them to take breaks in line with their contracts.In a test case supported by the British Medical Association (BMA), Dr Sarah Hallett says it is the responsibility of trusts to ensure junior doctors have a 30-minute break for every four hours they work.Dr Hallett, deputy chairwoman of the BMA’s junior doctor committee, is also bringing her case on behalf of 20 other doctors who trained with her at the Royal Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.She is seeking declarations she says will ensure junior doctors are properly monitored and given breaks according to their contracts, but if she wins the trust could also have to pay £250,000 to her and her fellow trainees.Lawyers representing the trust told the London court on Tuesday that the potential cost to the NHS as a whole would be dramatic if Dr Hallett’s claim succeeds.Dr Hallett’s legal team said the case is of general public importance and of significance across the NHS, because the issues involved are commonplace throughout the country.John Cavanagh QC, for Dr Hallett, said: “It is the responsibility of trusts to make sure that they do not run overly fatiguing or unsafe rotas.“It is hoped that it is obvious why it is in the public interest this does not happen.“Junior doctors who have to work for many hours in very stressful and high-pressure conditions without even a short break will be exhausted and this will potentially lead to risks to patient safety.“It will also have an adverse effect on the morale and happiness of junior doctors which is both harmful in itself and likely to have negative consequences, for example in junior doctors losing heart and leaving the profession.”He argued trusts have a responsibility to make sure trainees take their regular breaks and are contractually bound to pay junior doctors more if they do not comply with the rules. Mr Cavanagh added: “It would be quite wrong to place the responsibility on the shoulders of junior doctors, many of whom, like Dr Hallett in 2013, are just out of medical school and are working in their first job.“If they are faced with extremely heavy workloads and very sick patients, it can be very difficult for junior doctors to take responsibility for the decision to stop what they are doing in order to take a break.“It is for the employer to take appropriate steps to protect patients and the junior doctors themselves.”Dr Hallett’s claim relates to a period in 2013 during a rotation in general surgery at the Royal Derby Hospital, when she was in her first foundation year after leaving medical school.She accepts she was able to take all of the breaks she was entitled to, but claims the trust’s monitoring process should have shown her training group as a whole did not get enough rest periods and therefore should have been paid more. The trust is rigorously defending the case and says its approach to monitoring junior doctors’ shifts complied with their contracts.Richard Leiper QC, representing the trust, said: “The potential cost to to the trust, let alone to the NHS as a whole, would be dramatic”.He said that, if the court grants the declarations Dr Hallett is seeking, other BMA members could use the ruling to demand further payment from NHS employers.Mr Leiper argued Dr Hallett’s case was based on a misinterpretation of her training contract and the rules governing breaks.The hearing before Mrs Justice Simler is expected to last four days.

UK & World

Ched Evans to face rape retrial after winning conviction appeal

April 21 2016

Footballer Ched Evans has won his appeal against his conviction for raping a 19-year-old woman. But Court of Appeal judges in London have ordered that he must face a fresh trial. The decision was announced on Thursday following appeal proceedings last month. The former Sheffield United striker and Welsh international was present in the packed London courtroom with girlfriend Natasha Massey by his side to hear the result of his conviction challenge. Lady Justice Hallett, Mr Justice Flaux and Sir David Maddison had heard submissions over two days from Kieran Vaughan QC, for Evans, and from Eleanor Laws QC, for the Crown. Evans, now 27, was convicted in April 2012. He was found guilty at Caernarfon Crown Court of raping the woman at a hotel in Rhyl, North Wales. His conviction was referred to the Court of Appeal for review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which investigates possible miscarriages of justice. Lady Justice Hallett, announcing the court's decision, said the judges hadheard "fresh evidence" during the appeal hearing on March 22 and 23. She said: "In summary, we have concluded that we must allow the appeal and that it is in the interests of justice to order a retrial." The court quashed Evans's conviction and declared: "The appellant will be retried on the allegation of rape." After the ruling Evans left the Royal Courts of Justice hand in hand with his girlfriend to catch a taxi. In a statement read by a lawyer outside the court's front entrance, Evans was described as being "extremely grateful" to the appeal judges for quashing his conviction. It was made clear that no further statement would be made "as it is acknowledged by Mr Evans that the legal process has not reached a final conclusion". Earlier, Lady Justice Hallett read out a statement containing the court's conclusions, which she said could be reported and broadcast "in full". She said: "On 20 April 2012, a jury at the Caernarfon Crown Court convicted the appellant of an offence of rape. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment and he has since been released on licence. "He appealed to this court against conviction on a reference by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (the CCRC) ... on the basis that relevant and admissible evidence has come to light, that was not available at trial, and that undermines the safety of his conviction." The judge then announced that the appeal was being allowed and a retrial ordered. She emphasised that "nothing can be reported that might prejudice the fairness" of the retrial. The judge further stated: "The identity of the complainant in this case must not be reported." She said a fresh indictment "must be served" and "the appellant must be re-arraigned on that fresh indictment within two months of today". Lady Justice Hallett added: "The appellant will be on unconditional bail as far as this court is concerned."

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

Motoring news

Audi showcases raft of new cars

June 29 2016

Audi threw everything it had at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, with no fewer than nine upcoming models making their UK debuts. One of the most interesting – and affordable – was the new Q2. Audi’s smallest crossover yet, it’ll sit underneath the Q3, Q5 and big ole Q7. It will be available as a front wheel drive or with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system. Under the skin there’s a choice of three TFSI petrol and three TDI diesels, with Audi’s 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol offering 114bhp, the 1.4 litre four-cylinder sitting below the 187bhp 2,.0 litre TFSI. Diesel options are the 1.6 litre TDI with 114bhp and a pair of 2.0 litre TDIs with 148bhp or 187bhp. It goes on sale later this summer with a starting price expected to be in the region of £20,000. At the other end of the price scale is the R8 V10 Spyder. The 553bhp supercar comes a year after the second generation coupe R8 was released. Audi reckons the new Spyder is 50 per cent stiffer than the last Spyder, and its canvas roof stows beneath a massive rear deck, able to open or close at speeds up to 31mph in 20 seconds. Fuel economy “improves” to just over 24mpg thanks to a new coasting function that idles the engine when it’s not needed. Expect it to cost around £130,000. In between those two extremes are a plethora of other upcoming Audis, including the new S5 Coupe, and the Audi TT RS which first revealed a year ago is hardly new but apparently it had never been seen in the UK before. A couple of Q7s were also at Goodwood, including the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which returns a claimed 156mpg, and the SQ7 – a diesel with 429bhp. There was also the refreshed A3 range. Audi’s upmarket Golf rival has been given a styling refresh along with a few new engine options. Following a trend for downsizing, there’s a 1.0 litre three -cylinder petrol unit, while a powerful 2.0 petrol engine also joins the range.


Footballer Ched Evans to face rape retrial after winning conviction appeal

April 21 2016

Footballer Ched Evans has won his appeal against his conviction for raping a 19-year-old woman. But Court of Appeal judges in London have ordered that he must face a fresh trial. The decision was announced on Thursday following appeal proceedings last month. The former Sheffield United striker and Wales international was present in the packed London courtroom with girlfriend Natasha Massey by his side to hear the result of his conviction challenge. Lady Justice Hallett, Mr Justice Flaux and Sir David Maddison had heard submissions over two days from Kieran Vaughan QC, for Evans, and from Eleanor Laws QC, for the Crown. Evans, now 27, was convicted in April 2012. He was found guilty at Caernarfon Crown Court of raping the woman at a hotel in Rhyl, north Wales. His conviction was referred to the Court of Appeal for review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which investigates possible miscarriages of justice.