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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...

UK & World

Knife and weapons cases hit highest level for seven years

March 8 2018

The criminal justice system is dealing with more offenders caught with knives or offensive weapons than at any time since the start of the decade, new figures show.Last year, 13,081 offences of possession of an article with a blade or point resulted in a conviction or caution in England and Wales.In addition there were 6,899 cases where the offender was found with an offensive weapon, and 1,002 where a knife or weapon was used to make threats against others.The combined total of 20,982 offences is the highest number for a calendar year since 2010, when there were 21,328.Last year’s tally was up by 9% on 2016, with the Ministry of Justice saying the increase in part reflects a 30% rise in police-recorded knife and offensive weapon possession offences in the year to September.The data also show offenders were aged under 18 in 4,490 cases – a fifth of the total number handled.Conviction of a knife or offensive weapon offence is now more likely to result in some form of custodial sentence, according to the MoJ report.The average custodial sentence length has risen by 2.2 months in the last decade to 7.5 months in 2017.More than four fifths (86%) of adult repeat offenders received a custodial sentence of some form last year, the statistics also showed.The findings come amid concern about a surge in knife violence, particularly in London where there have been a number of fatal stabbings.Justice minister Rory Stewart said knife crime is a “terrible threat”.He added: “I am delighted we are prosecuting more people and sending them to jail.“Be in no doubt, if you are caught carrying a knife, you will face a jail sentence.”

Scotland

Hate crime figures show a drop in offences

June 14 2013

Ministers have condemned prejudicial behaviour as "completely unacceptable" following the publication of new figures on hate crimes. While there was an overall reduction in racial and religious hate crime in 2012/13, statistics show a rise in anti-Islamic charges and those relating to disabled people, compared with 2011/12. The figures were revealed in a series of reports on hate crime, religiously aggravated offending and the first annual statistics from the Offensive Behaviour Act. Charges where conduct was derogatory towards Islam totalled 80 in 2012/13 compared with just 19 the previous year, however 57 of these were from one event, the Campaign to Welcome Refugees march in Glasgow, where there was a counter demonstration by the Scottish Defence League (SDL). The figures were published as Alex Salmond held talks with representatives of the Muslim Council, where they discussed the latest findings and the First Minister reaffirmed the Scottish Government's commitment to tackling racial and religious hatred and all forms of prejudice. The number of charges reported against disabled people was more than double the previous year at 138, while the number of charges related to sexual orientation was 12% higher than the previous year. The rise was attributed to the introduction of the Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act in March 2010, which specifically addresses prejudice relating to disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity and may have led to increased reporting of such offences. Overall, the reports showed there has been a 15% reduction in offences involving religious hatred on the previous year, while charges for race crime have fallen by 12% to 4,012. Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham said: "Any form of attack or discrimination based on the assumption of someone's religion, race or cultural background is completely unacceptable. "While the decrease in both racist and religiously aggravated offending are to be welcomed, it is concerning to note the rise in charges directed towards the Islamic community and towards those with disabilities. "Scotland is a country which does not tolerate racial or religious prejudice and we are a nation where people of all faiths and none can live in peace. This is borne out by today's figures - we are not becoming more intolerant as a society, but we are becoming less tolerant of those who hold prejudiced beliefs. "The firm action taken against the SDL and what appears to be increased reporting of crimes against people on the basis of disability or sexual orientation confirms that zero tolerance approach." The first statistics on the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 were also published today, revealing there were 268 charges of "offensive behaviour at regulated football matches" in the first full year, 2012/13. The majority of charges were at football stadia. "The statistics from the first year of the Offensive Behaviour Act show that strong action is being taken to tackle the actions of the small minority of fans who indulge in offensive behaviour at football," Ms Cunningham said. "However, it is clear that the vast majority of fans are well-behaved and a credit to Scotland's national game." Commenting on the reports, Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC said: "It is encouraging to see a 12% drop in charges motivated by racial prejudice and a 15% reduction for criminality involving religious hatred. There is no place for complacency and I hope the downward trend continues in the coming years. "What I do find concerning is the rise in offences committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation. I hope that this is the result of the increased confidence in reporting which has encouraged more people to report this type of offending, but it is something we will closely monitor and explore ways we can look to reducing such offending, as we have done with other forms of hate crime."

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

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.

Dundee

Dundee mother Cara McIntosh jailed for knife attack on teacher

September 29 2010

A young Dundee mother who pulled a knife on a teacher from France who was walking  to her work in a city school has been jailed for two years. Cara Finlayson McIntosh (21), of Woodside Terrace, a first offender, burst into tears in the dock as Sheriff Tom Hughes passed sentence. McIntosh previously admitted that on February 23, in Clepington Road, she assaulted Astrid Patrigeon, presented a knife at her, repeatedly placed a knife against her body, repeatedly demanded her bag, struggled with her and tried to pull her bag from her with intent to rob her of it. The 27-year-old French teacher was on her way to Baldragon Academy when the attack happened. At around 8am McIntosh approached her and tapped her on the shoulder and presented the knife at her. She demanded the bag and Ms Patrigeon refused to hand it over. She stepped forward and again demanded the bag. McIntosh then seized the strap of the handbag and pulled it. Ms Patrigeon pulled in the other direction, resulting in a struggle. Ms Patrigeon had a plaster cast on her left arm and struck McIntosh twice in the face with it. McIntosh ran off without the handbag. Ms Patrigeon was not injured, but was distressed.Hid in chest of drawersA passing motorist witnessed the incident and followed McIntosh along Clepington Road. She was traced and, when police went to Woodside Terrace to speak to her, she was found to be hiding in a hollowed out chest of drawers. Her partner and sister said McIntosh had gone out that morning with a knife and the specific intention of getting money. McIntosh told police, "I never threatened to stab her. "I just pulled a knife out. I'm sorry." Solicitor Ian Flynn said his client was a first offender with a young child, adding, "This was carried out solely through drug addiction. "Although terrifying for the victim, I would ask His Lordship to take this as a one-off offence." Sheriff Hughes said, "This must have been a terrifying experience for the unfortunate lady in this case." He said he could not deal with the matter in any other way than a custodial sentence and jailed McIntosh for two years, reduced from three for her early plea. The victim is understood to have left the city and is now teaching at a school in the Aberdeen area.

Dundee

Sex offender jailed after texting teen girl months after previous conviction

April 26 2016

A sex offender who was set free is behind bars after committing two sex offences in little more than a year after his "incompetent" let-off. David Barrie walked free in October 2014 despite breaching strict conditions imposed on him in the wake of two previous sexual offences. He had been caught repeatedly drinking with a 16-year-old girl in his flat despite being banned from contact with females under 17. But Sheriff Charles Macnair QC told him: "As custody doesn’t change your behaviour...I'm prepared to give you another chance in the hope that that will change your behaviour." He was given a community sentence but it emerged that that was legally "incompetent" and that he should have been imprisoned. Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC said: "The court should have been jailing you then." Barrie carried out a sexual assault and then breached the strict order again within the next 13 months. The latest offence involved him taking the phone number of a 15-year-old girl. He then sent her a string of texts first telling her "you're tidy" before describing himself as a "pure beast" and asking her to call him. Barrie - who also carried out a sexual assault last November while on bail for another alleged sex attack, the prosecution for which was dropped - then deleted all record of the texts. Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told Dundee Sheriff Court that Barrie's first conviction came after he was caught carrying out a sex act while watching pornography in a public street. He was later also convicted of carrying out sex acts on a 17-year-old girl while a 13-year-old girl was present - which prompted police to apply for a sexual offences prevention order in a bid to curb his offending. Miss Robertson said: "He is deemed a high risk offender. Offender management officers have attended at the accused's home address on a weekly basis since the imposition of the SOPO to inspect his telephone for evidence of any communication with females under the age of 17. "The text messages he had exchanged with the girl were not found during any of these inspections, therefore the accused had deleted the evidence of his conversation prior to such an inspection." She added: "When he was charged with this offence he asked if he would be released or held in custody. "He added 'It's not likely, I've got nothing to lose which means I'm at my most dangerous'." Barrie, 34, a prisoner at HMP Perth, pleaded guilty on indictment to charges under the Sexual Offences Scotland Act. Defence solicitor David Duncan said: "He knows there's a difficulty and that if he doesn't address it he'll simply incur longer and longer sentences of imprisonment." Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC jailed Barrie for 12 and a half months. She said: "You targeted a 15-year-old girl and had inappropriate conversations with her in breach of your order. "It's the second time you have done so. Last time the court should have been jailing you. "For the protection of the public custody is inevitable now."

News

Children in Tayside and Fife at risk of repeat offending

July 31 2010

Hundreds of children in Tayside and Fife are at serious risk of repeatedly offending as they continue to be "needlessly" criminalised as young as eight, an expert has warned. Tam Baillie, Scotland's commissioner for children and young people, was speaking as a Courier investigation revealed a total of 616 offences committed by children aged eight to 12 since the start of 2010. These range from serious and indecent assault to more minor offences, such as vandalism and urinating in public. Scotland has the lowest age of criminal responsibility in Europe and under original proposals outlined in the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill this would have been raised from eight to 12. However, an amendment to the bill passed at the end of June means that while a child cannot be formally prosecuted for a crime committed under the age of 12, he or she can still have a criminal record for any crime committed over the age of eight. This is despite the fact various UN recommendations suggest this figure should be closer to 14, or even 16. Mr Baillie argued that findings by the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research indicate that "criminalising children is exacerbating youth crime and children criminalised at an early age are likely to carry on offending." Although he "welcomed" the apparent downward trend in offences committed in Tayside and Fife by those in this age bracket the figure for 2008 as a whole was 2044 and in 2009 it was 1856 he repeated his call for the age of criminal responsibility to be brought in line with other European countries.Reduce offending in long runHe said, "Raising the age of criminal responsibility to at least 12 years would not only reduce offending in the long run, it would avoid the criminal consequences for these children. "This would not change the way in which children who commit serious offences are dealt with, but it would avoid needlessly criminalising those who may be guilty of nothing more than a playground scuffle." He added, "It is crucial that young children whose behaviour causes concern are dealt with in the appropriate manner, through the children's panel hearing system which can address underlying causes, rather than label our children as criminals at a young age." In the period studied by The Courier, most crimes were committed by young people in Fife. So far this year, there have been 366 recorded by Fife Constabulary in comparison to 250 by officers in Tayside. In 2009, the figure was 1253 compared with 603 for Tayside, and in 2008 it was 1360 compared with 684. This year's figures included a nine-year-old who carried out an indecent assault at a school and two eight-year-olds who had in their possession "an article with a blade or a point" in public places, namely a street and a school.

UK & World

Google gives public interest defence as men bid to cut links to crime reports

February 27 2018

Google bosses have mounted a “public interest” defence after two businessmen took historic High Court action in a bid to stop their names being linked to internet media reports about past crimes.The two men say convictions are more than a decade old and legally “spent”.Both argue that they have a “right to be forgotten” and want Google to stop linking their names to articles on news websites.A judge has begun to consider evidence relating to the first man.Mr Justice Warby, who says the men cannot be named in media reports of the litigation, heard that the first man had been convicted of “conspiracy to account falsely” in the late 1990s.He is overseeing a trial at the High Court in London which is expected to last several days.The second man’s case is due to be analysed at a further trial in the near future. Lawyers representing Google say the cases are to first “right to be forgotten claims” aired in an English court.Barrister Antony White QC, who is leading Google’s legal team, told Mr Justice Warby that Google had “declined to delist”.“The claimants are businessmen who have current business interests which may involve interaction with actual and potential customers and investors and others, and who have posted statements online about their business experience and expertise,” he said.“The material in question is materially accurate.”He added: “There are strong public interest reasons for maintaining access to the publications.”Barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC, who is representing the first businessman, said the information at the centre of the case was “spent” under legislation relating to the rehabilitation of offenders and had become “private”. “There is a strong public policy in favour of the rehabilitation of criminal offenders,” he said.“The claimant has served his sentence and the rehabilitation period has expired.”Mr Tomlinson said the man had not been charged with any subsequent offence.He added: “Google should not, by the application of its own standards of morality, undermine the clear policy of Parliament.”

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

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