Category Archives: Courts and Crime

Pistol pensioner spared jail

The Edinburgh High Court: Woodward was admonished for possession of the gun
A 64 -year- old grandmother has been spared jail from the High Court of Edinburgh today after standing trial for illegal possession of a revolver.

Kathleen Woodward was arrested after admitting that she kept a Harrington and Richardson pistol in her house without a license.

The gun, which had owned by the by her late husband, was stolen from her Moray house by Guy Whitlaw last March. Whitlaw was sentenced to a five year jail term last year.

The law states that illegal firearm possession should automatically lead to a five year jail sentence. However, Judge Lady Stacey said there were extenuating circumstances, including Mrs Woodward’s work in her local community and for charity.

Mrs Woodward was admonished for possession of the gun but allowed to walk free.

Police still searching for Suzanne Pilley’s body

by Gavrielle Kirk-Cohen

The family of murdered Scot, Suzanne Pilly, have pleaded to David Gilroy to reveal where their daughter’s body is buried. 

Gilroy was found guilty yesterday of murdering Suzanne Pilley.

Searching: Police believe Suzanne Pilley's body has been buried at Lochgilphead, Argyll. Image: Christopher Harress

The Lothian and Border’s Police believe that Suzanne Pilley’s body has been buried in a “lonely grave” in Lochgilphead, Argyll in the Scottish highlands.

CCTV footage shows Gilroy’s car, a Vauxhall Vectra travelling from Edinburgh to the Argyll Forest Park the day after disappeared.

Extensive search

Det Supt Gary Flannigan has said: “Despite extensive efforts we haven’t been able to find her. This is something we have discussed with the family and have given reassurance that if any information comes to light then we will look at the information and if it is appropriate we will pursue that information.”

Pilley’s parents have said they “hope that one day we can lay our daughter to rest”.

                                                                “Callous and cold-blooded”

Simon Peck, director of IML and David Gilroy’s employer said: “Suzanne was a much-loved friend and colleague. To have her snatched away from her friends and her family in such a callous and cold-blooded way is something we’re all still dealing with.” He also said: “Until David Gilroy reveals where Suzanne’s body lies, her family and friends will never be able to fully come to terms with her loss.”

The trial lasted three and a half weeks and it took the jury two days to reach a verdict. The investigation into Pilley’s murder was the sixth most expensive in the history of the Lothian and Border’s force, as they made use of forensic experts and cadaver dogs.
Listen to the voicemail David Gilroy left on Suzanne Pilley’s phone after she disappeared.

Listen Here:

Edinburgh couple robbed in ‘terrifying’ ordeal

An Edinburgh couple have been held at knife-point and robbed in their own home.

A group of armed men entered the house on Barnton Avenue West at around nine thirty on Friday evening. Police have disclosed that a four figure sum of money and jewellery were taken from the house.

It is believed that two of the three men spoke with foreign accents while the third was Scottish.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

A woman shot in Peckham after shopping trip

A woman is currently recovering in hospital after being shot in Peckham.

The 30-year-old was shot by a stray bullet during a dispute between two men.

The incident happened at around 17:15 on Sunday, 11 March, on Bournemouth Road close to Rye Lane, while the woman was returning home from a shopping trip.

An investigation is currently underway involving Detectives from Operation Trident.

Paul McBride, QC (1963 – 2012)

One of Scotland’s top criminal lawyers, Paul McBride has represented clients in some of the country’s most high-profile cases.

Son of George and Mary McBride, he was educated in Glasgow. At just 19, McBride graduated from Strathclyde university with a degree in Law. He was called to the Bar in Scotland in 1988 and in 2000 he became the youngest QC in the UK at the age of 35.

Known for his uncompromising style in court, McBride learned early on that the legal world would be challenging, “You have to have faith in your own ability to up your game and when you fall off the only thing to do is get back on again.”

Involved in politics throughout his career, McBride made a high-profile defection from the Scottish Labour party to the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party in 2009. He later left the Conservatives accusing them of being, “divided and dysfunctional” and “a bunch of unreconstructed morons” .

Among the successful cases of his career were the acquittals of Gail Sheridan on perjury charges in 2010 and of Human Rights lawyer Aamer Anwar on charges of contempt of court in 2008. McBride also represented Celtic FC and was targetted along with Neil Lennon when they were sent parcel bombs in April 2011. The trial of the men accused of sending the packages, Neil McKenzie and Trevor Muirhead, is currently ongoing, with McBride due to appear to give evidence.

Lawyer Derek Ogg QC, payed tribute to his colleague and friend on BBC Scotland programme, Good Morning Scotland, “He was so much his own man, and so much a person who would speak his own mind. As all the journalists I’ve talked to know, Paul would go off the script and give a straight and honest answer whether or not that was what he was meant to or not.”

McBride had been a Celtic fan all his life. Former Celtic chairman, Lord Reid payed tribute to him, “He was a great colleague and friend and will be sadly missed well beyond his own family. My thoughts are with them.”

McBride is survived by his partner, Gary Murphy and his parents.

Top Scottish lawyer found dead in hotel room

One of Scotland’s leading lawyers was found dead in a hotel room in Pakistan at the weekend. Initial reports suggest Paul McBride QC had died in his sleep.

It has been said that Mr McBride felt unwell in the lead up to his death and his body was discovered by friend and colleague, human rights lawyer, Amaer Anwar.

Mr McBride’s Twitter was updated to read today:

Paul McBride – Tonight I will be gone from your twitter screens forever in your hearts and memories #RIPPaulMcBrideQC it’s been a pleasure!

Other tributes have been flowing in on Twitter from people who knew him in some capacity and others who didn’t.

Gerard McDonald – Had the pleasure of meeting #paulmcbride twice in my capacity as a taxi driver. He was a sound guy and a great Celtic fan. #celticfamily

Scottish Fashion Publicist Tessa Hartmann – Devastated to hear about the tragic death of #PaulMcBride QC – deepest sympathies to Gary and his family. A huge loss for Scotland.

Writer and Actor, Stuart Hepburn – Shocked at the death of #PaulMcBride. He gave me a great deal of support on script research in the past. A great loss.

Graeme Tait – Sad news about Paul McBride. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family! #paulmcbride

Celtic Football Club, Chief Executive Peter Lawwell issued a statement on their website with their condolences to his family.

“This is tragic news. Paul was a very good friend of Celtic and someone who cared passionately about the club. His passing is clearly a great loss and he will be sadly missed.

“The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Celtic are with Paul´s family at this very difficult time.”

Mr McBride was one of three people who had been sent petrol bombs to their home between 1 March and 15 April last year. Celtic manager Neil Lennon and former MSP Trish Godman were also sent packages. Trevor Muirhead, 43 and Neil McKenzie, 42 who are accused of conspiring to murder McBride, deny the charges against them.  The court heard last week that a postman had become suspicious about a parcel being delivered to the lawyer when he noticed that it smelt strongly of petrol. When investigated by police officers, the parcel was found to be a device which contained nails, a bottle filled with liquid and wires leading to a timer. It is alleged that the devices were capable of exploding.

The trail continues.

Read more about Paul McBride: https://edinburghnapiernews.com/2012/03/05/paul-mcbride-qc-1963-2012/

Scotland rugby star Max Evans breaks down recalling brother’s injury

https://edinburghnapiernews.com/?attachment_id=25299%20rel=attachment%20wp-att-25299>kt%20max%20evans

2nd March

The Scotland rugby international broke down in Edinburgh Sheriff Court today after recalling the 2009 Six Nations tournament in which he and his brother Tom played.

Defence counsel Kevin McCallum asked about his brother’s injury. “Tom broke his neck in a rugby game, an international game for Scotland”, replied Evans.

“Am I right in thinking this was a life-threatening injury?” Mr. Evans was asked.

“Yes,” he replied.

“Am I right in saying it is no longer possible for him to play rugby?” asked Mr McCallum.

“Yes,” replied Mr Evans.

“I was shocked,” Max Evans told the court today, regarding the alleged assault at Lulu on Edinburgh’s George Street.

“I realised I wasn’t in a very good position … on the night I was very upset. Even now I am upset.” He added: “I didn’t mean to cause Mr McCaig any harm.”

Scotland rugby player Evans denies attacking Mr McCaig, 29, and claims he was acting in self defence.

He also claimed that he put his hand out to push Mr McCaig away but did not realise he had a glass in his hand.

1st March

The court heard yesterday that before he allegedly hit a man in the face with a glass, Max Evans was “pushed into” and “probed” in Lulu’s nightclub.

Sarah Jane Bell told the court yesterday that on the night of August 1st 2010 she and Evans made their way to the VIP bar where they ordered drinks and were kissing and “chit-chatting”.

The 28-year-old nanny said that Mr McCaig and a female came up to the bar next to Ms Bell and were “pushing into” and nudging her, she told the court.

“Max and I swapped places at the bar. Ally (Mr McCaig) seemed to be acting aggressively. He seemed to be trying to irritate Max. He was probing him and pushing into us.”

Ms Bell said she led Evans away on to the dance floor and did not see what happened next until she noticed two bouncers taking Evans away. She said she saw Mr McCaig with blood on his face.

The court heard that Evans told police: “I didn’t intentionally use the glass.”

Mr McCaig sustained a laceration to his eyebrow, which a doctor described as being “entirely superficial”, the court was told. He was treated at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

28th February

Earlier this week, Mr McCaig told the jury he had been drinking at the bar with his sister and a friend when a man appeared on his right hand side and struck him in the face with a glass.

29-year-old McCaig, who works in property development, was called as the first witness when the trial started on Tuesday 28th of February.

He told the court he was drinking champagne with his sister and an old school friend at the bar of the club’s VIP area when he was struck in the face.

He said: “We were basically catching up with each other, as you do, then the next thing someone comes from my right-hand side and strikes me on the face and hastily exits the membership area.”

“I was slightly flabbergasted at what happened and put my hand up to my right eye and it was bleeding.” He then pointed at Evans as the person who allegedly hit him.

Fiscal depute Dev Kapadia asked the witness if he knew who the man was at the time of the incident.

“No”, he replied, and said he found out afterwards from police.

Mr McCaig said later that he had been told by friends that he met Evans “four or five years ago” at a party during a rugby sevens tournament. He said: “I remember the evening but don’t recall meeting Max Evans.”

A photograph was then shown of both men standing apart from each other at the rugby event.

“I would suggest to you that your suggestion you didn’t know Max Evans prior to the evening of August 1 2010 is just nonsense, isn’t it?” Mr McCallum said to the witness, who replied “no”.

The defence lawyer suggested to him that he said to Evans in the VIP room of Lulu: “What are you doing in Edinburgh? F*** off back to Glasgow.”

Mr McCaig replied: “No, because I didn’t know who he was until after the incident.”

 

The trial continues.

Mother and son plead guilty to ‘paedophile’ killing

A mother and her son have pleaded guilty to culpable homicide following the death of a 57-year-old man from head injuries. He died nine months later in a nursing home.

Paul Noble, who was 15 at the time, and his mother Williamina Stewart, 37, attacked Gordon Morrice at playing fields in Aberdeen’s Golf Road in June 2010.  The previous day, Morrice had asked if he could play on a child’s trampoline at the park. After this, rumours began to spread around the Seaton area of Aberdeen suggesting that Morrice was a paedophile.

Two others admitted reduced charges of assault – Stewart’s partner Paul Yates, 38, and her brother Hector Stewart, 30.

Police found no evidence that Morrice had any paedophile tendencies.

Sentences were deferred until towards the end of March.

Opinion: Mob justice is no justice

Mob justice is no justice

The killing of Gordon Morrice is an extreme example of a wider attitude in society: paedophiles are fair game for mob justice. Not all paedophiles will experience violence leading to brain damage and death – as Morrice suffered – but without doubt they are treated as the modern-day lepers of society. Like the lepers of old, they are typically banished from the community, ostracised, and treated with fearful suspicion. And as with the lepers, many people would prefer that they wore bells announcing their arrival, and shouted ahead of themselves, “Unclean, unclean!”

In one sense this is understandable. Paedophile crimes are particularly repugnant, not just because we recoil from the thought, but because of their seriousness. Not only are paedophile acts an abuse of power, but they are also a violation of the body, our most intimate space; and, still worse, they are perpetrated against children, who are least able to defend themselves, and who may not have developed the resources to cope with such an ordeal. Let’s be clear: paedophile crimes do not deserve excuses.

But that said, we also need to examine another ugly fact: there are people in our society who think that suspected paedophiles deserve mob justice. Somehow the figure of the ‘peedo’ has become the acceptable whipping boy of the masses. 

This is short-sighted, for two reasons. For one, it means that people with paedophile tendencies are driven underground, into secrecy and shame – making their condition hard to address, and encouraging a secretive life. While it has become almost fashionable to admit to struggling with a sex-addiction, no equivalent social space exists for working through such deviant feelings. Paedophiles who act on their desires and commit crimes may be only the tip of an iceberg; conservative estimates suggest that around three percent of the population have paedophile desires. Where do the submerged majority go for help?

Secondly, mob-justice says more about the mob than it does about justice. In previous eras we drowned witches, expelled Jews, imprisoned homosexuals. Our generation’s particular nervousness towards the paedophile may be more a product of a media-saturated culture than any real increased risk of abuse. In ancient Greece, the education of upper-class boys was based upon allowing a homoerotic relationship to flourish between the boy and his teacher; the love and loyalty produced was what inspired the boy to learn. So it was, that the transmission of culture depended upon this ‘pederastic’ relationship – which from our point of view, looks very much like paedophilia. In the perspective of history, it emerges that we are as culturally-conditioned as they were. 

No one is arguing for a return to those days, except perhaps for some Danish extremists. And which parent would not feel a little jumpy knowing that a suspected paedophile lived next door? Nevertheless, today’s mob attitudes towards paedophiles need to be seen as part of the problem, and certainly not as a solution to it. Justice must hang on the evidence heard in court, not on the hunches of a paranoid neighbourhood. 

This is particularly important in the case of Gordon Morrice – he was simply a man with four children of his own, who asked to join in with a child’s game: police found no evidence of paedophilia. 

Court hears phone abuse evidence in murder case

A millionaire made infuriated threats in an enraged phone call to his brother, Toby, hours before Toby was killed, the high court heard.

Later that day, Toby Siddique, 38, was murdered in his flat on Forres Drive in Glenrothes on October 25 2010. His brother, Mo Siddiq, 34, was charged with murder and conspiracy to murder last year. The accused, Mo Siddique, was arrested under suspicion of hiring assassins. Two Bulgarian men, Tencho Andonov, 28, and Nikolov, 27, were accused of carrying out the murder.

The third brother Aleem Siddique, 40, gave evidence this week. Yesterday he told the high court that his brother had made a phone call to him after a dispute about a BMW. Mo said, “I’ll hit him.”

Advocate depute John Scullion, prosecuting, then read out his statement from October 2010 recounting the same phone call. “He’s not my brother blah, blah, blah, I’ll kill him.”

Much discussion followed on the similarity of the words “hit” and “kill” in Punjabi. At one point the judge stepped in, telling Siddique that he was right to object to the prosecution’s ‘confusing’ questions.

He said, “It’s a bit of a coincidence that the police have noted down the translation of the similar word in Punjabi that is the word for kill?”

Mr Scullion said, “I’m asking you about how the words came to be on that page. Is it your evidence on oath that the police who noted this statement simply made up these words?”

Aleem said, “I’m not saying the police officer lied but I did not say those words. Whatever happened on the 26th, the mistake is the police officer’s, the mistake is not mine.”

Derek Ogg QC, defence for, then asked “Do you feel in a difficult position coming to court with one brother murdered and one accused?”

In tears, Mr Siddique replied, “I just want justice, that’s all that matters”.

He agreed with Mr Ogg that “you would not tell lies for Mo but wont tell lies against him either”.

The examination went on to reveal that it seemed the accused had been sleeping on the night of the murder, when the witness woke him up. He said he had to repeat the news a couple of times to Mo who “didn’t register”.

The court heard that Mo was “in shock” and crying when both brothers visited their widowed sister-in-law’s house immediately to pay their respects.

Ogg then focussed on inheritance motives. “Did Toby’s wife say things to you about her suspicions that each brother had a will that would inherit the other brother if they died? She told me Mo would get everything.

“You asked Mo if he stood to gain. At Toby’s house you had been constantly told gossip by… I need you to say the words.”

Aleem Siddique said, “His wife and mother.”

The trial continues.

Second sexual attack takes place in the Meadows

A second sexual assault has taken place on the Meadows,
only a week after a similar attack was reported.

The second attack took place on Tuesday November 22nd between 6:50 and 7pm, alongside the Meadows tennis courts. The 21 year-old victim was running alongside the courts when she was forced to the ground by a male assailant, who then sexually assaulted her.

However, she was able to fight him off, and the suspect was seen to disappear towards Buccleuch Street. He was described in a Lothian and Borders police statement as being 5ft 10ins tall, around 30 and dark-skinned, possibly Indian in appearance. He was wearing a grey hooded top and appeared to be clean-shaven.

This second attack comes almost exactly a week after a 19 year-old woman was attacked by two men near Melville Drive. Police are not treating the assaults as being linked, but have considered  it as a possibility.

A police press officer  said that no new information had been released, and  “inquiries are still ongoing” for both incidents.

A statement from Lothian and Borders police said  there”will be a continued police presence in the Meadows to provide reassurance to the public.”

A candlelit vigil has been organised by Reclaim The Night Edinburgh, and will begin in Bristo Square at 7pm. Following this, there will be a 2.2 mile march around the streets of Edinburgh. The march is due to pass through Grassmarket, Cowgate and then back up the Royal Mile, before returning to Bristo Square.

Representatives from several charities will make speeches following the march, though the identities of these speakers has not yet been confirmed.

Suzi Compton, who has been responsible for organising the event, explained that the march had been planned prior to the Meadow’s assaults and that they were not the direct reason behind tonight’s event. However, she added that these attacks  had “given [the event] greater relevance.”

Cricket in a right old ‘fix’

Salman Butt. Photo: courtesy AFP

Disgraced former Pakistan Captain Salman Butt and promising 19-year-old sensation, Mohammad Amir, lost their appeals yesterday when the Lord Chief Justice dismissed their claims of disproportionate sentencing in the Lord’s spot fixing case.

On November 3, Pakistan’s Butt, Amir and Mohammad Asif were convicted of spot fixing and sentenced to prison. Butt was given a 30 month sentence and Amir was charged to spend six months at a youth correctional facility. The bookie, Mazhar Majeed, was handed a sentence of 2 years and 8 months.

Asif, who is facing a one-year sentence, is also scheduled to appear. Balham Chambers, a London-based lawyer will be representing him. Unlike his fellow disgraced teammates though, Asif is appealing against the conviction itself.

The Incident

During the course of the fourth and final test match between England and Pakistan, at Lord’s from 26-29 August, it was proved that Butt influenced Asif and Amir to bowl no-balls to signal to Majeed that ‘everything was going according to plan’

Had he not been caught, Butt’s pocket would have been ₤150,000 heavier.

Deadly Impact

Any illegal activity in sport is disastrous, let alone players accepting money to underperform. They represent their country when on the field.  Is ₤150,000 enough justification to betray one’s motherland?

At a time when the International Cricket Council (ICC) is looking to widen the reach of cricket around the globe, the poison of match fixing is the last thing they want. As seen by the misdemeanor of the Pakistani trio, something as small as a no-ball has caused widespread havoc: young talents ruined; old cases dug up; fingers pointed; administrations in uproar. Would someone new want to pursue a sport in such malady?

And what of the loyalists?

The thrill of watching a ‘good game’ is now diluted with persecuting doubts. ‘Wait, this is too spectacular. Could it have been fixed? they wonder.  ‘Can I ever watch a game without being paranoid?’

But it is the players who are true to the game who bear the worst impact of match fixing.

They adhere to rigorous training, tackle overwhelming pressure and display inspiring human toughness to bring glory to their country. But instead of the recognition they deserve, their efforts are rubbished in one simple phrase: ‘Oh, it’s obviously been fixed!’

Change in attitude

Cricket is already suffering from a lack of fan involvement. People are starting to prefer the comfort of their homes to the excitement of the stadiums. Add in the needless Umpire Decision Referral System (UDRS) controversy and the ICC has more than enough on its plate already without having the bane of match fixing threatening to destroy the credibility of the sport.

Punishments and procedures can only go so far in curbing cricket’s worst illness, as seen from previous cases (Salim Malik’s life ban being removed, Marlon Samuels’ light sentence). The incentive is on the players themselves to resist temptation and it isn’t that hard. All one needs to do is remember the pride of wearing the national crest to spit in its face.

Wanting a little extra on the side doesn’t give anyone the right to cheat.

Edinburgh High Court: Scot’s Corroboration Laws Contested

by Kate Thomson

Changes in Scots Law were proposed this morning by Lord Carloway in a review of the country’s criminal justice system.

He said the proposals “re-cast” the legal system for the 21st century.

Scot’s law has long been criticised for being dogmatic in treatment of suspects’ rights. As it stands, suspects do not have the right to a lawyer immediately when they are arrested and police can question them without a lawyer present.

The Calloway Proposals would change this. For defence lawyers, this is a long awaited prospect.

A defence solicitor at the High Court said: “People in custody are in an uncomfortable and frightening situation and should be give access to legal advice.”

Yet some proposals were more controversial. Lord Carloway advised dropping the current law which requires two corroboratory pieces of evidence as proof in a trial. This would potentially make cases easier to prove.

A defence advocate at Edinburgh High court, who wished to remain unnamed, said: “It is an outrage that this is being introduced at a time when advances in forensic science should make it easier for corroboration to be provided.” He also warned that the proposals would allow people with grudges and vendettas to bring charges against people. “It would allow people to be convicted on one piece of evidence which is a charter for accusations to be made through the courts through malice and ill will,” he said.

There is also a worry that control is being taken away from the Scottish government’s long-standing legal independence. “I think it’s an attack on one of the foundations of Scots criminal law,” said the advocate.

He added that discussion was too fixated on the proposals themselves and ignored the importance of the defendant’s human rights.

The fiscals office for prosecution also commented on the proposals. “It will be deeply interesting for developments in the future.  It’s difficult to say until we’ve had a good look at it,” said a spokesperson.

The review also advocates speeding up the trial process, requiring suspects to be brought before the courts within 36 hours. At the moment, suspects arrested on Friday evening can be held over the weekend for more than 48 hours.

Woman sexually assaulted in Meadows

by Kirsten Hayley Waller

Police are still making inquiries after a woman was sexually assaulted
in the Meadows on Tuesday morning.

The attack took place at roughly 3:30am, somewhere between Melville Drive and Warrender Park Crescent. The woman, aged 19, was attacked by two men, believed to be in their early 20s.

After attacking the victim, the men are believed to have run away towards Bruntsfield.

The suspects are described as being of average build, white, and wearing dark coloured hoodies.

Lothian and Borders police issued a statement yesterday, stating that they were “still working to establish exactly where it happened”.

“Anyone who was in the area of the Meadows or Bruntsfield in the early hours of [Tuesday] morning, who saw or heard anything suspicious, should contact the police immediately.”

“Similarly, anyone who saw two men matching the descriptions of the suspects in either the Meadows or Bruntsfield Links areas should get in touch.”

Napier News contacted the police and were told that there was no new information, but inquiries are ongoing.

There was confirmation that officers would continue to patrol the Meadows this evening. They will be dressed in high-visibility jackets while investigations continue. They hope that these actions will reassure the public.

Breaking News: man charged with Gray murder

Merchiston Crescent Credit: Adam Smyth

By Celeste Carrigan

Pawel Rodak  a 20-year-old man has been charged with the murder of Roger Gray, retired lecturer. He has appeared in private at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

The charges made were culpable and reckless conduct, and endangering the lives of people in the building and surrounding area.

No declaration or plea was made on his behalf and the case continues for further enquiry. Rodak was remanded in custody.

Man in court following death in Merchiston, Edinburgh

by Celeste Carrigan

Victim Roger Gray

A 20-year-old man is due in court later today at Edinburgh’s Sheriff  Court. He was arrested on Wednesday in connection with the murder of Roger Gray.

The murder of Gray, a 64 year-old retired lecturer, is the third homosexual related murder in a month. His body was found in his home in the city’s up market area of Merchiston. Police broke in last Saturday morning after a suspected gas leak. A postmortem examination found that he had suffered multiple stab wounds from what is believed to  have been a “sustained attack”.

Gray’s death follows those of John Carter, 44, in Leith and a man in Pilton, who cannot be named for legal reasons. Detectives said there is nothing indicating a link between the three men but will be keeping an open mind.

For more information on this story tune into Edinburgh Napier News TV Bulletin at 3PM

Hopes fade for World’s End murder families

by Katy Docherty and David Walsh

Victims Helen Scott and Christine Eadie.

The families of the World’s End murder victims are set to have their hopes dashed when the Double Jeopardy Bill goes before Holyrood. The current law prevents a person from standing trial for the same crime twice but will be scrapped in a session of the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.

The Double Jeopardy Bill will now allow a retrial if evidence arises of the acquitted person admitting guilt or new DNA evidence comes to light to strengthen the case against the accused. The conditions of the Bill have been restricted to murder, rape, culpable homicide and serious sexual offences cases.

Criminal defence lawyer John Scott is skeptical of the plans: ‘There isn’t really any evidence which is absolutely conclusive of guilt. It’s not as if DNA evidence will tell you who did it. DNA evidence is far more likely to tell you who didn’t do it and beyond that, it can tell you who might have done it.

‘But you still need something else beyond DNA evidence in order to be able to convict.’

Continue reading Hopes fade for World’s End murder families

Stopping the Traffickers

by Tony Garner

Scotland may be set for its first child trafficking prosecutions after the release of a report claiming the extent of the problem is much worse than previously feared.

Clare Tudor of the Scottish Refugee Council told Napier News that police had taken two individuals into custody.

Tudor told Napier News that children were being trafficked into Scotland for a variety of reasons, including sex trading, benefit fraud and forced labour.

Listen Here as she describes the traumatic effects on the children concerned:

Second mugging in the Grange

by Michael Mckeand

The Grange, Edinburgh where two incidents of mugging have occured over the past week.

 

Mansionhouse Road in the heart of the Grange, one of Edinburgh’s more middle class areas, was the scene of another mugging this week. It follows a similar incident in which a man of a similar description attacked a pensioner on Findhorn Place a few streets away.

Check out the full story on our Edinburgh Napier News TV News Bulletin at 3pm.

 

Cardinal O’Brien visits convicted child killer in hospital

Cardinal Keith O'Brien visited Riggi at Royal Edinburgh Hospital. Source: BBC

By Georgi B

Cardinal Kieth O’Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland visited a woman in hospital who confessed to murdering her three children, it is believed. Continue reading Cardinal O’Brien visits convicted child killer in hospital

Vandalization at the City Chambers

credit: Edinburgh Evening News

by Blythe Harkins

 

The ‘Stone of Remembrance,’ a war memorial outside of the City Chambers on the Royal Mile was vandalized recently.  Either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, white paint was thrown on the nearby walls and in front of the memorial.  A team of specialists had to be called in t0 remove the paint, with the Council believing that a specialized paint was used for the defacing.   It is unknown how much the removal of the paint cost the city.  Today a team of marble polishers are going to be returning to the memorial to restore it to its original state.  Defacing public property is bad enough but when it comes to a sacred memorial, a new question arises entirely.  Hopefully Edinburgh will find the culprit and actions will be taken.  For the full story, check out the news bulletin on Edinburgh Napier News TV.

 

“Eureka! Wee’ve got it!” Street urinals are the answer

Outdoor City Urinals. Picture courtesy of "This Amsterdam" website

By Claudie Qumsieh

In London at weekends dark figures connected to the sewers rise out of the pavements: urinals. Edinburgh has unveiled plans for similar, if not as cinematic, urinals to address the problem of drunkards using the streets as make-shift toilets.

The proposal was outlined in a report into how the night-time economy of Edinburgh affects local residents’ quality of life. Public urination most affects the Grassmarket and Cowgate  areas according to Edinburgh City Council. “Urinating in the street accounts for a third of all fixed penalty notices for antisocial behaviour and a large amount of residents’ complaints.” a spokeswoman for the Council said.

The report was a response to give balance to a previous report on the benefits Edinburgh’s night-life brings to the economy. City leader Jenny Dawe said: “Obviously there are some people, particularly in the Grassmarket for example, where they see a different side to it, so this is addressing the impact that it has on residents and their quality of life. It shows that quite a lot is already being done to try to minimize the impact and that will continue being the case, because clearly we don’t want to have disgruntled residents just because something’s helping Edinburgh’s economy.”

According to suppliers Loo-hire UK “From delivery, to waste management, to collection – Loo-Hire U.K. take care of everything. This saves the local authority time and money in street cleaning services. The Four Bay Male Urinal portable toilet provides a public convenience and creates a more pleasant environment for everyone”.  Each unit holds 450 litres and is 200cm tall. They need no mains connection or set-up, and Loo-Hire U.K remove the waste.

Similar initiatives elsewhere in the UK have proved to be a success. Since Bath & North Somerset Council installed 2 portable toilets at a taxi rank in October 2009, the device has collected on average 30 litres of urine a night and 14000 people have used them. Bath Councillor Vic Pritchard said: “It is noticeable that fewer people are using street corners and shop doorways to urinate, meaning the police can deal with other anti-social behaviour incidents and council street cleaners can concentrate on grime hot-spots elsewhere”

Police street patrols will also be increased in Edinburgh to reduce public disorder between 2.30 and 3.30am.

Knox appeal adjourned

by Katy Docherty

Amanda Knox is starting an appeal against her conviction of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher. Knox’s lawyers argue that there are various gaps in the prosecution’s argument and are seeking a full review of the original DNA evidence.

Knox was convicted of murder and sexual assault in 2007. Source: Getty Images

Last year an Italian court found Knox guilty for the murder and sexual assault of her flatmate and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Knox’s lawyers claim that the DNA gathered for the original trial was questionable and that the murder weapon remains missing. Their main argument is that there was no motive for Knox to kill her friend. 

Her legal team stated: “The motive, the fundamental aspect of the factual existence of the serious criminal acts, is largely absent in the assessment of evidence and more erroneously absent in the written ruling.”

Her lawyers also blame an “obscene media campaign”  for skewing the opinion of the jury and the general public before the trial had begun. Knox was famously dubbed by the media as “Foxy Knoxy”.

The prosecution accused Knox of killing Kercher in a drug-fueled sex game that went wrong. Knox’s former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede, an immigrant from the Ivory Coast had allegedly held Kercher down whilst Knox slit her throat. Knox’s prosecutors told the court that she had tried to a fake a break in so that the murder would look like a random sexual assault.

Arriving at the hearing, her stepfather Chris Mellas told reporters: “She’s hopeful for a good appeal, I think she feels and certainly the lawyers feel that we have a very strong case for her being innocent, which, you know, is the case.”

Today’s  administrative hearing lasted only a few minutes and took place in the Perugia courtroom were the first trial took place. 

The court has been adjourned until 11th December.

Edinburgh unveils antisocial behaviour strategy

Antisocial behaviour can cause a range of social problems

By Oonagh Brown

Edinburgh City Council has joined forces with the Lothian & Borders Police to tackle antisocial behaviour.

Together they have launched The Antisocial Behaviour Strategy 2010-2013, aiming decrease the capital’s rates of vandalism and potential crime.

The strategy plans to tackle the “root causes” of problems before they begin to affect the community. This includes dealing with aspects of antisocial behaviour such as noise and vandalism.

The new strategy builds on some of the council’s recent successes. Police figures show that there was a 14% drop in vandalism in 2009-2010, and a 27% decrease in anti social behaviour complaints.

A 2009 annual neighbourhood survey also found that 75% of the public were satisfied with how the council dealt with antisocial behaviour.

Community safety leader Councillor Paul Edie said: “We want to be smarter in how we tackle antisocial behavior by addressing the causes and not just the symptoms.”

Counciller Edie also added that it was important for the public to take an active role in their community. He said: “It’s important the public don’t ignore issues affecting their community like nuisance neighbors, litter, fly-tipping, noise and graffiti, all of which can really impact on the quality of their lives and weaken communities.”

The new strategy has also placed particular importance on how young people can be encouraged to engage with the police and report violent or antisocial behaviour.

Superintendent John Hawkins wants the police to work with young people in the community to deter antisocial behaviour.

He said: “We don’t want to demonise young people because they themselves are likely to be victims of crime but they also contribute to a large number of antisocial instances. Therefore we would like to work with young people and allow them to report instances of antisocial behaviour anonymously.”

The Citadel Youth Centre’s project manager Willy Barr claimed that encouraging young people to work with the police would be a long process.

He said: “Young people need to be engaged with this issue and given an understanding of what antisocial behaviour really is.

“The best way to encourage young people not to participate in antisocial behaviour is to provide them with a service like the Citadel Centre where they have an emotionally and physically safe space.”

Barr also felt that antisocial behaviour could be further decreased if police were more available to the public. He said: “Our youth centre often holds programmes between the police and young people who attend the centre, but police officers often have to drop out because of their workload and internal pressures.”

The Lothian & Borders Police aim to counter this problem through The Safer Neighborhood Teams. This initiative has seen police officers becoming more accountable to the community and local organizations. Superintendent Hawkins said the programme would help the police address issues which were of a high priority to the community.

He added that emergency services and local authorities were now working together to protect the community.

He said: “From a preventative perspective, the partnership between emergency services, local authorities and housing associations allows for monthly coordinating meetings where the services which attend can come up with plans and activities which will address the problems of antisocial behavior.”

https://edinburghnapiernews.com/2010/11/12/horseracing-receives-government-backing/