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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...

Politics

Labour MSP Neil Findlay withdraws First Minister ‘liar’ jibe

February 12 2016

A Labour MSP has withdrawn a “liar” jibe he directed at the First Minister amid a heated Holyrood exchange. Neil Findlay’s outburst was made during First Minister’s Questions on Thursday as Nicola Sturgeon answered a question from Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale on council cuts. He later told Parliament he would swap the word he was alleged to have said and replace it with the phrase “perpetrating a con-trick”, which Ms Sturgeon used earlier in reference to Labour tax plans. Mr Findlay said: “I withdraw the term attributed to me that the Parliament finds unparliamentary and would instead substitute it with the term used by the First Minister today.” Tricia Marwick, the presiding officer, said his use of the word “liar” was clearly “unparliamentary” language. Responding to Mr Findlay’s retraction, she told him he had been a member of this Parliament for five years and should have known it was not acceptable. She added: “I note what you have said and I will consider the matter further.” Ms Sturgeon said the insults fired across the chamber show how “desperate” Labour are. It is not the first time Mr Findlay, a former contender for the Scottish Labour leadership, has got into hot water with the presiding officer. The MSP is often chided by Ms Marwick for getting to his feet out of turn in the chamber.

Fife

Cowdenbeath FC chairman Donald Findlay not for quitting

May 18 2011

Donald Findlay will not be stepping down as chairman of Cowdenbeath FC, despite receiving a suspicious package addressed to him. The top Scottish QC was the target of a possible sectarian-related incident when the package was found at Central Park, the club's ground, on May 16. It was believed this was a retaliatory gesture after the death threats to Celtic FC manager Neil Lennon and due to Mr Findlay's previous ties with Rangers FC. The package was discovered by staff member John Cameron at the west Fife ground after it was picked up from the Royal Mail depot and he notified the police. Officers, including bomb disposal experts, then sealed off adjoining streets and the football ground was evacuated. A Royal Mail spokesman said, "Royal Mail is aware of a suspect package at Cowdenbeath Football Club yesterday morning. Any inquiries should be referred to Fife Constabulary." The police have confirmed that the suspicious package was not a bomb and was designed to "cause alarm" to Mr Findlay, who was formerly Rangers vice-chairman and is known for his support of unionism in Scotland. There had been some fears that the incident may lead to Mr Findlay standing down as chairman of Cowdenbeath but chairman of The Cowden Trust, Stuart Juner, said he hoped this would not happen as he valued a person of Mr Findlay's "standing." And Scott Brewster, one of the directors at Cowdenbeath FC, told The Courier that he had heard "nothing" of this and that it would be "business as usual" at the club. "I have not been contacted by Donald himself but I have not heard that he will be leaving the club," he said. He admitted that the club had been shocked by the whole incident. "It's a shame that it happened in the first place but it's also hard to believe that it took place outside the Old Firm that's pretty shocking," he added. There have been suggestions that a knife was sent in the package, but police refused to disclose what was actually in it for "operational reasons." A spokesman said, "We don't want to talk about what was in the package in case the same thing is sent again. It's a case of trying to calm and reassure the public. We are continuing our investigations into this incident." Mr Findlay is the latest in a line of high-profile people to be targeted in what are believed to be sectarian-related incidents. Last month packages of explosives were sent to Neil Lennon, Paul McBride and former MSP Trish Godman, a Celtic supporter.

Fife

Cowdenbeath director says Donald Findlay QC had been warned of risk of sectarian targeting

May 17 2011

A suspicious package addressed to Donald Findlay QC arrived at Cowdenbeath FC's Central Park on Monday in what is believed to be a retaliatory gesture in the latest episode of sectarian-related incidents in Scotland. Streets around Central Park were sealed off as bomb disposal experts investigated the package. It is understood the package was not a bomb but was designed to cause alarm to Mr Findlay. A Cowdenbeath director told The Courier the package "stood out like a sore thumb" and that Mr Findlay had recently been briefed by police that this kind of action may take place following bomb threats to Celtic FC manager Neil Lennon and Mr Findlay's past association with Rangers FC. The package was addressed to Cowdenbeath chairman Donald Findlay at Central Park and discovered by member of staff John Cameron, who then notified Fife Constabulary. Scores of officers then descended on Central Park and the ground was evacuated for safety reasons. Scott Brewster, one of the directors of Cowdenbeath FC, told The Courier the package had been addressed to the QC and that he had been warned this might happen. "The package was addressed to Donald Findlay at the ground and was found by John Cameron," he said. "It stood out like a sore thumb, so the police were contacted. Officers visited the stadium and the ground was evacuated. "Donald thinks it was due to sectarianism a retaliatory gesture after all the bomb and bullet threats to Celtic manager Neil Lennon."Briefed by policeAnd he revealed that Mr Findlay (60) who was born in Cowdenbeath and educated at Harris Academy in Dundee had been told to beware of such incidents. "Donald had been briefed by the police that this might happen in light of the packages sent to Neil Lennon," Mr Brewster added. He said he understood the suspicious package was not "live." "The package was given the all-clear so I guess that it amounted to nothing," he added. Mr Findlay, who is defending a client at Dundee Sheriff Court, declined to comment to The Courier on the matter yesterday. Celtic boss Lennon has been the target of a concerted hate campaign with packages sent to Celtic's training ground, bullets sent to his home address and last week he was attacked by a fan at Tynecastle Park in Edinburgh. Mr Findlay was previously vice-chairman of Rangers and is known for his staunch support for Unionism in Scotland. In May 1999, he was accused of sectarianism following footage of him singing at a private party organised by a Rangers Supporters' Club after the Scottish Cup Final that year when Rangers beat Celtic 1-0. This led to his resignation from the club. Mr Findlay was cleared of misconduct by the Faculty of Advocates in 2007 after a complaint regarding his conduct at a Rangers Supporters' Club in Larne in 2005 when he is alleged to have made a joke about the death of Pope John Paul II.Small-mindedHe became chairman of Cowdenbeath FC in June last year. Stuart Juner, chairman of the Cowden Trust, said he found the situation "absolutely ludicrous" and feared that it might lead to Mr Findlay cutting his ties with the club. "I had heard about this. It's awful that small-minded individuals can do this," he said. "However, there are people who bear grudges for a long time. The world would be a better place without them. "It's awful that this has come to Cowdenbeath. The worry now is that we would not want to lose a man of such calibre and standing as Mr Findlay due to the likes of this." He added, "When he was appointed chairman of the club, we agreed to move along with the plans for a new stadium at his pace." A spokesman for Fife Constabulary said officers were stood down around 1pm. He said, "Fife Constabulary can confirm that officers were called to Central Park, home of Cowdenbeath FC, in relation to a suspicious package which had been delivered to the address this morning. Initial police resources at the scene have now been stood down. "Police were called at around 9am. We can't give details of the package for operational reasons." Cowdenbeath FC who were relegated to the second division on Saturday following defeat in the two-leg play-off against Brechin have submitted plans with Fife Council for the sale of Central Park, which they hope will allow them to move to a new "community-based" stadium in Broad Street.

Scottish League 1

Cowdenbeath chairman Donald Findlay purchases majority shareholding in club

May 16 2016

Cowdenbeath have announced that chairman Donald Findlay QC has bought the majority shareholding in the club from Innovate (Cowdenbeath) Ltd. The Blue Brazil suffered their second relegation in a row this season and will be playing their football in League Two next term. Findlay will hold the shares in trust before a new community-based fundraising campaign is launched but the chairman has already issued a rallying cry urging everyone to band together to get the club back as quickly as possible into the Championship. Findlay said: “Relegation has been a considerable blow to the ambitions I have for the club. “We require to rebuild and my acquisition of the majority shareholding is an important first step. “I am very grateful to Alex Brewster and his family making this possible. I am proud and humbled to be the principal shareholder of my home town football club. “I seek no personal gain. I have deep affection for the club and my home town and I will hold the shares only for the benefit of both and I am confident that, together, we can take the Blue Brazil back to the Championship. “The future of the club at Central Park is secure. However, there is work to be done. Let’s make a start.” A spokesman for Innovate added: “Innovate (Cowdenbeath) Ltd is happy to announce the sale of its majority shareholding in Cowdenbeath Football Club Ltd to Donald Findlay QC. “Mr Findlay, a son of Cowdenbeath, will hold the shares in trust until a new not-for-profit structure is agreed by the board of directors of the football club company. “Shares will then be redistributed to the local community as part of an ongoing equity fundraising campaign to secure the future of the Blue Brazil. “Innovate (Cowdenbeath) Ltd will retain ownership of Central Park Stadium and maintain its existing landlord-tenant relationship with Cowdenbeath Football Club and a medium-term lease is agreed. The stock car business will also remain in place.”

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.

News

EXCLUSIVE: Finger of suspicion hangs over convictions

May 23 2013

A nationwide review is under way after hundreds of cases were put in jeopardy amid fears unauthorised police staff were routinely taking DNA and fingerprint samples. Experts warn serious crimes could go unpunished as a result of the apparent blunder. Leading defence QC Donald Findlay said convictions could be reviewed if the Police Scotland internal investigation finds evidence of malpractice. The issue came to light after The Courier obtained an email ordering all police staff at stations in Dundee and Arbroath to stop custody duties immediately. Labour MSP Graeme Pearson warned the implications could be devastating if it is found workers did not have the appropriate authority. Custody division commander Chief Superintendent Ciorstan Shearer said the force is “actively seeking clarification” from partners, understood to include the Crown Office, about the roles and responsibilities of Scottish custody centre staff. She added she was “confident there is no impact on service provision” while the investigation is ongoing. For Kieran Andrews’ exclusive report, and full reaction, see Thursday’s Courier or try our digital edition.

Scotland

Craig Whyte cleared of fraudulent Rangers takeover

June 6 2017

Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte has been cleared of a fraudulent takeover of the club. The jury returned a not guilty majority verdict after a six-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow. Whyte was accused of acquiring Rangers by fraud in May 2011. He denied the charge, and another under the Companies Act. The Crown alleged the 46-year-old pretended to then-owner Sir David Murray that funds were "immediately available" on an "unconditional basis" to make all required payments for a controlling and majority stake in the Glasgow club. https://twitter.com/ConnorGillies/status/872064367155662848 Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC told the court Whyte did not have authority over the funds used in the takeover and "induced" the Murray Group to sell, but defence QC Donald Findlay described the accused as "the fall guy" in the case. After two hours of deliberations, the jury found Whyte not guilty on both charges. Judge Lady Stacey told Whyte: "You have been acquitted and are free to leave the dock." He thanked the judge and jury before leaving the courtroom, where a small group of people were watching on from the public gallery. During the trial, the court was told the sale of Rangers was eventually made to Whyte for £1, but came with obligations to pay an £18 million bank debt, a £2.8 million "small tax case" bill, £1.7 million for stadium repairs, £5 million for players and £5 million in working capital. The trial heard that Whyte arranged a £24 million loan from financial firm Ticketus against three years of future season ticket sales before he took control of Rangers. Mr Findlay said his client had met the conditions of the sale by paying the debt and investing in the club. He blamed Sir David's advisers, saying they "let him down very badly" in the deal and did not ask where the takeover money was coming from. Summing up the defence case, Mr Findlay said: "They were not interested in where the money came from and we know this absolutely categorically."

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose murder trial: Michelle Higgins denies hammer attack

December 20 2016

Murder accused Michelle Higgins told a policeman she attacked a woman with a hammer, a jury has heard. The 29-year-old who is on trial for the murder of Montrose woman Kimberley MacKenzie said she could not remember making the comment during a cigarette break at Dundee police station. Higgins and co-accused Steven Jackson, 40, deny murdering and dismembering Miss MacKenzie at Jackson's flat in Market Street, Montrose. The pair are further accused of disposing of her body parts in bins and bags around the town. On Monday, Higgins was questioned about her account of Miss MacKenzie's death. She told Glasgow High Court on Friday that Jackson had attacked her with a hammer, before repeatedly stabbing her with a skean dhu dagger. She accepted that she "didn't raise a finger" to help Miss MacKenzie and that she helped dispose of her body but she insisted she did nothing to harm her or dismember her. Donald Findlay QC, representing Jackson, asked Higgins if she remembered talking to Detective Constable Ian Ross at Dundee police station's custody suite. Mr Findlay said DC Ross, 56, made a statement, claiming that Higgins had told him: "I hit her on the legs." When he asked what she hit her with, Higgins replied: "With a hammer." However, Higgins told the court she had "no memory at all" of the exchange. She said she was in a "drugs induced psychosis" at the time. Higgins, who was diagnosed with a bipolar condition, said she was a "completely different person" at the time of Miss MacKenzie's death. She told the court that she had had a "large" heroin habit which cost her up to £80 a day. Mr Findlay accused her of giving jurors a "presentation" of evidence. "It was a performance, wasn't it?" he asked. Higgins replied: "A performance in a court room? Hardly." The court heard that Higgins and Jackson went out into Montrose town centre, hand in hand, while Miss MacKenzie's body lay in Jackson's living room. Higgins was also accused of showing no emotion as she told how her friend was killed. "When your mother gave evidence and looked at a photo of her granddaughter's rucksack, knowing it had been used by her daughter to hide body parts, she was distraught," said Mr Findlay. "You didn't show one hint of emotion when you gave your evidence," he told Higgins. She said: "Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a violent person. I've done plenty of bad things, but I wouldn't murder someone." Asked by advocate depute Ashley Edwards QC why she appeared to go out "shopping" with Jackson after Miss MacKenzie's murder, Higgins said: "I was just being like an obedient puppy and just doing as Steven wanted. It's stupid, I know." Higgins was quizzed about a text message exchange with Jackson on October 28, the day after Miss MacKenzie died. Jackson wrote: "I need help got some bits chopped offxx". Higgins replied: "Mink LOL". "LOL? This was someone who was meant to be your friend," said Ms Edwards. "Does this give an insight into you thinking at the time?" Higgins said: "I don't know, I was just going along with him." The trial continues.

Football

Cowdenbeath boss Jimmy Nicholl looks for assurances from Donald Findlay QC

May 17 2011

Jimmy Nicholl looked for crisis talks with chairman Donald Findlay following the club's relegation to the second division at the weekend. The Blue Brazil lost out to Brechin City on Saturday in the play-off semi-final and Nicholl admitted his immediate reaction in the aftermath of the game was to walk away from his managerial post. However, he insists he wants to remain in the job, despite almost certainly losing a substantial section of his playing squad for next season. "My emotions are still raw but the worst could yet be to come as I am meeting with the chairman tonight," he said. "I was confident about overcoming the play-offs but it just did not happen for us and it is so disheartening. "We are set to lose good players as we will not have the money to hold on to them. "People may say if they are good players why have they been relegated, but I know for a fact that some of them will go on to star for bigger clubs than Cowdenbeath because of the way they have performed in the first division this year. "There are a lot of people who do loads for this club behind the scenes. There are volunteers in at the ground at six in the morning helping set stuff up for match days. "So at the final whistle on Saturday, I was ready to walk away. "It wasn't because I did not have the stomach for the fight to get us back out of the second division, it was embarrassment that I had let those people and the rest of the supporters down. "I feel I have failed and it is difficult to look them in the eye. I was sacked when I was at Aberdeen with Jimmy Calderwood when we had secured fourth spot in the SPL and a place in Europe. "So I will just have to see what happens when I sit down with the chairman." They may have lost out in the play-off, but Nicholl insisted that over the course of the season his side had shown they were a worthy addition to division one. "For a part-time outfit, I felt we had proved we were good enough to stay in the first division," he added. "The champions Dunfermline were the only club we did not take points off. "We started the campaign really well, with lots of enthusiasm. We had targeted 10 points a quarter to stay up and we took 12 from the opening one. "But the middle of the season killed us. The bad winter weather caused us a lot of problems as the lads could not even get out of their houses, let alone train. "Our fitness levels slumped and our momentum suffered. When the weather got better, we became better as well."

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