The Telegraph 2024-04-26 16:00:48

Yousaf insists he won’t resign and will ‘fight’ attempts to oust him

Humza Yousaf has insisted he will not resign as First Minister of Scotland and he intended to “fight” the attempts to oust him. 

A defiant Mr Yousaf said this afternoon that he had not considered his position after his decision yesterday to scrap the SNP’s coalition deal with the Scottish Greens sparked a political firestorm at Holyrood. 

Mr Yousaf is now facing the prospect of two votes of no confidence next week – one in him personally and one in the Scottish Government as a whole. 

Asked if he will resign, he told broadcasters during a visit to Dundee: “No. I intend absolutely to fight that vote of no confidence and I am getting on with the day job.” 

The SNP leader said he planned to hold talks with opposition party leaders in the coming days in an attempt to make his SNP minority administration work. He said he was “very confident” he can see off the attempts to force him out of office. 

A motion of no confidence in Mr Yousaf tabled by the Tories yesterday has the backing of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Greens. 

A motion of no confidence in the Scottish Government tabled by Labour today has the backing of the Tories and the Liberal Democrats. The Greens are undecided.

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Rwanda Bill has caused migrants to pour into Ireland, says deputy PM

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100-mile US glide bombs fail in Ukraine

Much-vaunted US-supplied glide bombs given to Ukraine “didn’t work” due to a combination of mud and Russian signal jamming, the Pentagon has admitted. 

The long-range weapons, which were not officially named but have been identified online as Boeing’s Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB), were sent to Ukraine to help them hit targets at twice the distance reachable by current rockets.

The delivery of the adapted bombs to Ukraine in late January was met with widespread enthusiasm, with military experts suggesting it could force Russia to relocate supplies farther from the front lines. 

But William LaPlante, the Pentagon’s weapon’s acquisition chief, said: “We sent it to the Ukrainians. It didn’t work. It didn’t work for multiple reasons including EMI [Electromagnetic interference] environment, just really, dirt, and doing it on ground.”

“When you send something to people in the fight of their lives that doesn’t work, they’ll try it three times and then just throw it aside,” he added at an event at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

A precision-guided bomb with a 100-mile range, the GLSDB attaches to an M26 rocket and is cheaper than the current limited number of Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) rockets the US has sent.

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Harvey Weinstein’s rape conviction overturned as judges rule landmark ‘Me Too’ trial was unfair

Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction has been overturned after New York’s highest court ruled some of his accusers should not have been allowed to testify.

The 4-3 ruling by the state’s Court of Appeals marked a stunning reversal of the case that formed the cornerstone of the MeToo movement.

It found that the one-time Hollywood titan, 72, was denied a fair trial because women whose claims were excluded from Weinstein’s charges were still permitted to share their accounts on the witness stand.

It was one of a series of “egregious errors” the Court of Appeals identified as being made by James Burke, the presiding judge, which it said deprived the media mogul of his due process.

Arthur Aidala, Weinstein’s lawyer, hailed the ruling as a “tremendous victory for every criminal defendant in the state of New York”.

“There are some people who are very unpopular in our society, but we still have to apply the law fairly to them,” Mr Aidala said.

Timing of ruling surprised Weinstein

He said the timing of the legal ruling was a surprise to Weinstein and his lawyers. “I got the call and it was Harvey… and he said thank you more times than I can count,” he said.

Many of Weinstein’s accusers expressed disbelief and condemned the ruling as a major setback for the pursuit of justice for sexual assault victims.

Ashley Judd, one of Weinstein’s earliest public accusers, described the ruling as “an act of institutional betrayal” during a press conference alongside fellow campaigners.

Weinstein has been serving a 23-year sentence for his conviction for a first degree criminal sex act and third degree rape.

However, he is unlikely to be released from prison, since he was also sentenced to a further 16 years in Los Angeles last year over the rape of another actor in 2013.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office pledged on Thursday to retry the case.

The allegations against Weinstein marked a watershed moment that triggered a global outpouring of claims against powerful men in high-profile industries.

His accusers first went public in 2017, leading to nearly 100 women coming forward to speak out against the man whose reign over Hollywood once led Meryl Streep to proclaim him “God”.

Just a fraction of the allegations against him would ultimately feature in his 2020 trial.

Prosecutors took calculated risk that backfired

Many women described a pattern of sexual harassment, but not acts that met the threshold of serious criminal acts. Others’ accounts fell outside the statute of limitations.

With the eyes of the world trained on Manhattan’s criminal court, the prosecutors, who had declined to prosecute Weinstein in 2015, took a calculated risk.

They allowed more of his accusers than were cited in the indictment to have their day in court.

It would ultimately lead to the case’s unravelling, as New York’s highest court on Thursday ruled that it had been a critical mistake.

In the absence of concrete evidence, the women’s accounts became part of the prosecution’s arsenal, designed to demonstrate a pattern of predatory behaviour to the jury during the seven-week trial.

The strategy was controversial even then, with some legal experts joining Weinstein’s lawyers in expressing their doubts over whether he could be judged on allegations he had not been charged with.

In court, Mr Aidala called unsuccessfully for Judge Burke to recuse himself, and publicly accused him of making “inflammatory” comments that prejudiced the jury.

Trial judge left bench in 2022

Judge Burke, described by some local legal websites as competent but confrontational, left the bench in 2022. His application for another term was reportedly rejected by the New York mayoral advisory committee on the judiciary.

Weinstein’s prosecution centred on allegations by two women.

Jessica Mann, an aspiring actress, alleged he raped her in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and Mimi Haleyi, a British production assistant, said he forced oral sex on her at his apartment in 2006.

He was acquitted on the two most serious charges of predatory sexual assault, relating to Annabella Sciorra, an actor in The Sopranos who said he raped her and forcibly performed oral sex on her in her own home in the mid-1990s.

In addition to Sciorra, aspiring actors Dawn Dunning and Tarale Wulff, as well as the model and screenwriter Lauren Young, testified in support of Mann and Haleyi.

The disgraced movie mogul’s appeal was dismissed in 2022. But on Thursday, New York’s highest court agreed with Weinstein’s claims that he was judged “on untested allegations of prior bad acts” in a way that portrayed him “in a highly prejudicial light”.

Writing the court’s majority opinion, Judge Jenny Rivera said Judge Burke had acted “erroneously” in allowing the testimony of accusers who were not complainants in the case, calling it “an abuse of judicial discretion”.

“The remedy for these egregious errors is a new trial,” the court said.

Court divided on throwing out conviction

However,  three of the seven justices opposed overturning the conviction.

In a stinging dissent, Judge Madeline Singas wrote that the majority was “whitewashing the facts to conform to a he-said/she-said narrative”.

Judge Singas said New York’s highest court was continuing a “disturbing trend of overturning juries’ guilty verdicts in cases involving sexual violence” based on “outdated notions of sexual violence”.

Cyrus Vance, the former Manhattan district attorney who oversaw Weinstein’s prosecution, said on Thursday: “The judicial system, in my opinion, has let [survivors] down.”

Katherine Kendall, another of Weinstein’s accusers, took a broader view.

“He will never be free because his name is synonymous with sexual assault,” she said.

“Maybe the most important part is the awakening that took place. And that will keep taking place.”

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Post office chief received bonus in same year she ‘misled High Court’

A former Post Office boss has disclosed receiving a bonus from the company in the same year she was accused of misleading the High Court. 

Angela van den Bogerd told the Post Office Inquiry on her second day giving evidence she had received a sum in 2019 despite having lied under oath in March 2019, when she claimed not to know the Horizon IT system could be accessed remotely before 2018.

Sam Stein KC asked Ms van den Bogerd directly whether she had been given a bonus in 2019, to which she replied “yes, I did”. 

Mr Stein then reiterated the point, asking: “So despite the finding in the High Court that basically you lied… you got your bonus?”

The revelation came as Ms van den Bogerd was questioned over “fraud” advice given to sub-postmasters by a Post Office helpline, which Mr Stein claimed told employees to make good any shortfalls flagged by the system. 

Throughout questioning, she rejected claims she lied “consistently” to people she and the Post Office needed to “keep on side” to protect the brand. 

Lawyer Catriona Watt said: “You were responsible for or complicit in the lie that there was nothing wrong with Horizon on every possible occasion to MPs, government ministers […] and anyone else who ever asked, weren’t you?”

Ms van den Bogerd denial of the accusations followed earlier claims she had omitted details during a meeting with MP James Arbuthnot over the case of Jo Hamilton, the former sub-postmistress, in order to protect the Post Office. 

The inquiry will resume next Tuesday, when Hugh Flemington, the former Post Office head of legal, and Harry Bowyer, the former employee of Cartwright King Solicitors, will be questioned.

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Girl, 13, charged with attempted murder after Wales school stabbing

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Royal Navy ship shoots down ballistic missile in combat for first time

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