Former MSP Bill Walker Acknowledges Unsuccessful Appeal at Edinburgh High Court

 
Bill Walker, former MSP for Dunfermline, has acknowledged the decision by the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh to not grant his Appeal against his Sheriff Court domestic abuse convictions last September regarding the two oldest convictions going back to 1967 and 1969.  In a previous High Court decision, permission was only given to appeal against these two 1967 and 1969 concerning his former wife.   Mr Walker continues to maintain his innocence of the other charges which range from 1978  to 1993/95.  
 
 
In noting the High Court decision, Mr Walker said: “I am very disappointed that their lordships have decided not to overturn my conviction on these two charges.  It is just a pity that their lordships could not also re-examine the validity of the other convictions which were all made under the Moorov Doctrine.  Nevertheless, I thank the High Court for considering these two convictions for which I have now actually served a prison sentence. 
 
 
“I am not a rich man and just cannot afford to pursue what I consider these wrongful convictions through other legal channels.  All my substantial costs to date have had to be paid out of my own pocket.  My wife and I shall now be getting on with the rest of our lives, together with a wide circle of family and friends.” 

Statement by Russel McPhate, Solicitor on behalf of Bill Walker

The pronouncing of sentence by the Sheriff on the charges for which Mr Walker has been found guilty concludes this part of the proceedings.

I can confirm that Mr Walker maintains his innocence in respect of these charges and an Appeal has already been lodged with the Court inviting the Sheriff to state a case for the opinion of the High Court of Justiciary. An application has been made to the Sheriff for Mr Walker’s interim liberation pending the hearing of the Appeal. Should that application be refused by the Sheriff the High Court will be asked to rule on the application and that is likely to happen early next week.

Thereafter, the Sheriff will require to state a case for the opinion of the High court dealing with the issues raised in the appeal which Mr Walker believes show there to have been a miscarriage of justice. The defence will have the opportunity of commenting upon and proposing adjustments to that case. It is likely to be several weeks before that part of the process is concluded and the papers transmitted to the High Court.

The appropriate forum for the discussion of the issues relating to the Appeal is the High Court of Justiciary. Accordingly, Mr Walker will not be making any further public comment on the case at this time.

Bill Walker Announces His Resignation as Member of the Scottish Parliament

Bill Walker has tonight (SAT) submitted his resignation to the Scottish Parliament as MSP for Dunfermline.

Mr Walker said: “It has been increasingly difficult for my wife and my staff to deal with the media interest in my case. That same media onslaught has also made it impossible to properly represent my constituents and their interests.

“My trial process on domestic abuse charges still continues at Edinburgh Sheriff Court with the sentence not due to be announced until September 20 after the receipt of the reports ordered by the court. However, circumstances have made it very difficult to continue as MSP, hence my decision to withdraw now.

“It has been a pleasure since May 2011 to serve the people of the Dunfermline constituency.

“As several other serving members of the parliament have bravely tried to point out, the court proceedings have not yet concluded. After September 20, there will be an opportunity for me to consider whether there are grounds for appeal and, under legal advice from my solicitor, I shall be making no further comment at this stage.”

Statement to Dunfermline Constituents by Bill Walker MSP

I was very disappointed to be convicted of the charges made against me in Edinburgh Sheriff Court last Thursday 22 August 2013 by Sheriff Katherine Mackie. The verdict and, in particular, the comments of the Sheriff are now being considered carefully.

I would like to thank my wife, family, colleagues, staff and friends who have supported me throughout this long ordeal which started in March last year and which, of course, is not over yet.

Court proceedings have not yet concluded with the sentence not due to be announced until 20th September 2013 after the receipt of reports. Thereafter, there will be an opportunity to consider whether there are grounds for appeal and, under legal advice from my solicitor, I shall be making no further comment until then.

Viewing platform visitor boost planned for Forth Bridge

Forth Rail BridgeA viewing platform, set 100 metres above the River Forth, is set to open on the Forth Bridge, offering spectacular views and drawing potentially hundreds of thousands of visitors to west Fife per year.

The platform will be reachable from two glass lifts connected to a new visitor centre in the base of the rail bridge’s northern Fife Tower. Alternatively, visitors can take part in guided climbs to the South Tower from a second visitor centre in South Queensferry. Read more of this post

The passing of Mr Len Woods

Len WoodsI was very saddened to learn of the death of Dunfermline-born Mr Len Woods in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on Saturday 24th August 2013.  Len had not been in the best of health for some time, but his death still came as a shock. 

Len was a popular and well-kent man throughout west Fife and elsewhere in Scotland. He attended Dunfermline High School in the 1950s and still maintained many friendships in and around Dunfermline from those days.  His early working life in textile sales led to his recent consulting activities within his own company, which took him all over Scotland, England, Ireland and abroad.  He formed many lasting business and personal relationships wherever he went.  He met his wife, Elma, at school when they were both 14 and they married in 1967.  They had two sons, Gavin and Callum, and lived in Saline for many years. Read more of this post

Tourism

The announcement that an Events Officer will be appointed for Dunfermline is welcome and long overdue. More than once in this column, I’ve spoken about the wasted potential of our city centre and the need to drum up more footfall, including tourism.

I have long lamented that Dunfermline has an array of excellent organisations working to promote the city but these groups frequently work in isolation. The new Events Officer will bring them together to produce an events calendar aimed at enticing visitors into Dunfermline. It is vital that we get more people into our city centre, because we need local businesses to thrive if we are to restore our economy. Not only that, but we have a beautiful and historic city that ought to receive due recognition. Read more of this post

College merger

The long-anticipated Fife College finally came into being earlier this month, with the merger of Carnegie College, Adam Smith College and parts of Elmwood College.

Combining, as it does, the strongest elements from these three institutions, an opportunity now exists for the new regional college to become one of Scotland’s foremost educational and training centres. Read more of this post

Sad passing

I was saddened by the deaths of two former colleagues: Dunfermline Labour Councillor Mike Rumney and former leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, David McLetchie MSP. Both worked tirelessly for their constituents and parties.

Mike and I served together in Fife Council and on the board of FETA, the Forth Road Bridge operator. He was a committed hard-worker and an easy man to get along with. Read more of this post

Funding for community garden workshops and cookery classes in Kincardine

Big Lottery FundKincardine Community Association has secured £9,800 Big Lottery funding for a community garden and cookery workshop project.

The grant, from the Communities and Families Fund, will pay for six months of “growing workshops” aimed at encouraging parents and children to grow their own food in a family-friendly community garden. The group will also hold 56 cookery classes for parents and children to create healthy home-cooked meals.

MSP Bill Walker, whose Dunfermline constituency includes Kincardine, said: Read more of this post

Queen Margaret Hospital palliative care enhancement

NHSLocal MSP Bill Walker has welcomed NHS Fife’s announcement that palliative care facilities are to be enhanced at Dunfermline’s Queen Margaret Hospital.

The £28,000 refurbishment, partly funded by endowments, will see the Queen Margaret Hospice (ward 16) completely redecorated. A number of planned improvements – including new bathroom facilities for patients, a multidisciplinary therapeutic area and the creation of a room with overnight facilities for relatives – will provide a more homely and comfortable setting for patients and their families. Read more of this post

Fife’s ScotAsh shortlisted for two top business awards

ScotAsh, which manufactures sustainable products from ash produced by Longannet Power Station, has been named a national champion in this year’s European Business Awards in recognition of its innovation, business excellence and sustainability. The company will now compete for Ruban d’Honneur status in the next round of the competition, with the winners due to be announced next April.

In addition, ScotAsh has been shortlisted for the Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland (VIBES) Awards, to be announced on 26th November. These awards recognise Scottish firms that reduce their impact on the environment. Read more of this post

Dunfermline software firm receives £5,000 Business Gateway funding

Dunfermline-based Cooper Software has received £5,000 Business Gateway Fife funding to develop a new website and social media strategy.

The systems integrations specialist – which has premises in Pitreavie Business Park and recently opened a new office in Manchester – provides innovative software solutions and support to a wide range of businesses, including BSkyB and Babcock. It works with organisations investing in large-scale IT projects or who are facing problems with current systems. Read more of this post

Abbeyview Kids Club funding

Big Lottery FundAbbeyview Kids Club in Dunfermline has received funding to replace play equipment and provide a wider range of activities for children of various ages.

The £1,402 Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery Fund will pay for a brick block construction set, archery game, pool table, Lego friends and Ninjago, and table-top games.

MSP for Dunfermline, Bill Walker, said, “Congratulations to Abbeyview Kids Club on this funding. The club forms an important part of the local community by providing affordable childcare for children from a range of local schools. Read more of this post

S4M-07368: Welcoming the New Fife College

That the Parliament welcomes the establishment of the new Fife College, following the merger of Adam Smith College, Carnegie College and parts of Elmwood College; congratulates its Principal, Mr Hugh Logan, on his appointment to lead the college, and extends its best wishes to the staff, students and the Fife community on what it sees as this exciting new development.

Supported by: Nigel Don, Richard Lyle, Colin Beattie, David Torrance

Date Lodged: 01/08/13

“New chapter” for education in Fife

Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker has welcomed the creation of the new Fife College, following today’s (Thursday’s) merger of Carnegie College, Adam Smith College and parts of Elmwood College.

The merger is a result of the Scottish Government’s regionalisation plans, which aim to improve the funding and structuring of colleges and to widen opportunities.

Mr Walker said: “Today’s merger begins a new chapter for education here in Fife. It opens up a wealth of opportunities to improve learning. Read more of this post

Dunfermline Golf Club heritage boost

Heritage Lottery FundLocal MSP Bill Walker has welcomed a £10,000 Heritage Lottery Fund award for Dunfermline Golf Club to create a Heritage Wall.

The year-long project will focus on the history of the club, which was founded in 1887 and moved to Pitfirrane in 1953, and its A-listed club house. The club’s archive collection will be organised and scanned to create a digital archive, for display on the club’s website and on a Heritage Wall inside the club house.

Mr Walker said: “Congratulations to Dunfermline Golf Club on this funding for their project. The club is one of Fife’s many excellent choices for golfers and has a very rich history. Read more of this post

£114K Big Lottery award for Fife charity Furniture Plus

Gail Jackson, Furniture PlusMSP for Dunfermline Bill Walker has congratulated Fife charity Furniture Plus on receiving £114,057 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Support and Connect scheme. The award will enable the charity to expand their service to beneficiaries experiencing furniture poverty but who do not qualify for local authority support.

Mr Walker, who enjoyed a tour of the charity’s Dunfermline Pitreavie showroom in May, said: “Furniture Plus offers an invaluable service to Dunfermline and the wider Fife community. They strive to combat poverty by offering quality low-cost furniture to people facing financial hardship. Read more of this post

S4M-07360: Play-time Inclusion of Children with Additional Needs

That the Parliament congratulates Children with Special Needs in Pre-School (CSNIPs) on being awarded an £8,740 Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery Fund; notes that the Fife-based charity aims to enable and support the inclusion in safe and satisfying play of pre-school children with additional support needs; understands that the grant will help CSNIPs fund the sessional fees for two playfriends for 38 weeks, and encourages the involvement of all children in pre-school activities, which it considers will help develop better social skills before starting school.

Supported by: Angus MacDonald, Dennis Robertson, Richard Lyle, Mike MacKenzie, Bill Kidd, Colin Keir, Nigel Don, Colin Beattie, Clare Adamson

Date Lodged: 30/07/13

Fife children’s charity receives Awards for All funding

Big Lottery FundCSNIPs (Children with Special Needs in Pre-School), based in Comrie, Fife, has received £8,740 from the Big Lottery Fund. The charity enables and supports the inclusion in safe and satisfying pre-school play of Fife children with additional support needs.

Bill Walker, MSP for Dunfermline, welcomed the news: “I’m very happy CSNIPs has secured such a substantial Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery.

“The charity fulfils an important role in helping pre-school children in Fife who require additional support. The positive impact of CSNIPs can be life-changing for families, not only by helping to teach children social skills, but also by giving parents confidence that their children are receiving the correct care.   Read more of this post

£7,500 Hockey Funding

That the Parliament congratulates Dunfermline Carnegie Hockey Club on receiving a £7,500 Big Lottery Awards for All grant from sportscotland; notes that the club previously received £1,700 Awards for All funding in September 2012; understands that the award will be used to fund outdoor and indoor facility hire and help pay for coaching and training costs, and notes what it sees as the importance of supporting sports clubs in the run up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Supported by: Richard Lyle, Mike MacKenzie, Nigel Don, Colin Beattie

Date Lodged: 26/07/13

£7,500 Dunfermline Carnegie Hockey Club funding

Big Lottery FundDunfermline Carnegie Hockey Club have yet again secured funding from the Big Lottery – news which was welcomed by MSP for Dunfermline Bill Walker:

“I am glad that our local hockey club has received a £7,500 Awards for All grant from sportscotland, reflecting their dedication to the sport in our area.

“The club also received £1,900 Big Lottery funding last year, showing the importance of continued support to sports clubs and organisations throughout Scotland in the run up to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, which are now less than a year away. Read more of this post

Death of Dunfermline Labour councillor

Mike RumneyDunfermline MSP Bill Walker has expressed his condolences following the death of long-standing Dunfermline councillor Mike Rumney.

Labour councillor Mr Rumney, who latterly represented Dunfermline South, served the local area since 1995. He was also currently Chairman of the City of Dunfermline Area Committee.

Mr Walker said: “Mike was very hardworking and someone I found pleasant and straightforward to deal with. Read more of this post

The Bruce Festival

The Bruce Festival has become an eagerly anticipated event in the Fife calendar and takes place on 24th and 25th of August.

Fifteen thousand visitors are expected to flock to Dunfermline and the Glen to enjoy a huge range of free entertainment including a medieval village, storytelling, jousting, battle re-enactments and a food and craft court.  Brought to life by Dunfermline Delivers with the support of Fife Council, this event has something for everyone and will no doubt be a great day out for all the family.  Read more of this post

An Unusual Summer

So far, we have had some pleasant weather, which we have not been used to in recent years.  The Scottish Parliament is in recess which, contrary to what some observers say, is not one two-month holiday!

A most depressing aspect of current politics is the low level to which so-called debate can descend on the Independence Referendum to be held in September 2014, especially on the “No” side.  There is nothing “better” about some of the scare tactics employed by the Better Together campaign.  I do hope that arguments about the future will improve in quality, especially regarding each side’s views of a positive future for Scotland.  They do themselves no credit by focusing on negative images of Scotland’s future as allegedly planned by their opponents. Read more of this post

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