Friday, February 24, 2012

The Top (or) Bottom of it : Faculty of Advocates deny investigation into alleged Facebook smears by respected Advocate against QC Paul McBride

The top & bottom of it is, we are looking into the affair, says Faculty of Advocates insider. SOURCES at the Faculty of Advocates late tonight have confirmed an informal investigation is under-way to establish who leaked what one FoA insider branded “a malicious story” to a newspaper alleging that a member of the Faculty of Advocates, Victoria J Young, who narrowly escaped a criminal prosecution for stalking after being charged by Strathclyde Police some years back, had ‘smeared’ another member of the Faculty, ‘top’ QC Paul McBride on the popular social network website Facebook “for referring to himself as a top QC.” It is generally known the advocate who was accused of allegedly making the remarks, Victoria Young, is representing Neil McKenzie who, along with Trevor Muirhead, denies plotting to murder Mr McBride, Celtic boss Neil Lennon and ex-MSP Trish Godman, who were allegedly targeted in a sectarian letter bomb plot in Scotland, where up until now it has always been widely denied there is any sectarian problem.

The Sun newspaper reported last week that “AN advocate acting for a man accused of sending a bomb to Celtic lawyer Paul McBride is being probed over claims she slagged off the QC on Facebook. Victoria Young, 41, is said to have slammed Mr McBride for referring to himself as a "top QC". It's also said she accused the lawman — formerly in the Tory and Labour parties — of planning to join the SNP.

One post said: "Call me cynical but do the top QC's comments on recent Appeal Ct decision... suggest he's about to join a third party?" A lawyer pal, Tina Smith, replied: "He really has no credibility left."

The Faculty insider who wished to remain anonymous said there was concern the allegations may have “an alternative agenda” however the insider did not wish to elaborate further.

It is now generally accepted Scotland has a significant sectarian problem which has grown so bad, the Lord Advocate authorised Crown Office to destroy its statistics on hate crimes against Catholics in case the predominantly EU found out, as reported HERE

Victoria J Young & Paul McBride are part of the same advocates stable, MacKinnon Advocates.It is also known Mr McBride is to be a columnist in the new Sun on Sunday newspaper, Scotland edition.

As readers, and an extremely irate, if nameless ‘top’ (another top, yes- Ed) member of the legal profession have since pointed out, while Mr McBride is generally well known in the media, it should not be forgotten the same applies to Ms Young, who was charged by Strathclyde Police with committing a contravention of the Telecommunications Act in connection with her admitted stalking of journalist Paddy Christie, who had a relationship with Young’s boss, Scotland’s most famous QC’s Donald Findlay (Might be called top-most in someone’s language ? –Ed).

Strathclyde Police put a trace on the stalking victim’s phone and linked the calls to Victoria Young, the advocate who, under questioning, partially admitted the accusations but claimed she had made only two calls after she had received nuisance calls from Miss Christie. Following a second police interview over the case, Miss Young retracted these claims, admitted making seven calls and promised to write a letter of apology. The criminal case was dropped.

Victoria Young narrowly escaped a criminal prosecution over the calls, after the Crown Office suspiciously dropped the case, however she was reprimanded after a complaint was made by Miss Christine to the Faculty of Advocates, who found Young had committed "serious misconduct" by making the heavy-breathing calls to the journalist Miss Christie, who is in her mid-50s at the time. When confronted by the allegations, Victoria Young initially claimed Miss Christie had made nuisance calls to her, and that she had merely responded. She later admitted she had not received any calls from Miss Christie, who had a five-year relationship with Mr Findlay.

The Daily Record reported as follows :

STRANGE CASE OF A HEAVY BREATHER; Starring a QC, his ex-lover and a lady advocate who handles his briefs.

Byline: ANNA SMITH and BRIAN McCARTNEY EXCLUSIVE Nov 11, 2000 Daily Record

TV REPORTER Paddy Christie was tormented by late night crank phone calls from a young female advocate who worked closely with her former lover Donald Findlay QC. Victoria Young, 29, was charged with making nuisance calls - but Crown officials decided not to prosecute her.

Now furious Paddy has accused legal chiefs of a cover-up. She has reported the matter to the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, who confirmed yesterday they were investigating. She hit out: "BT and the police did a very good job and caught someone in the middle of a criminal act."Despite this the fiscal has tried to keep the whole thing confidential. He seems to be giving carte blanche to make malicious telephone calls."

Scotland Today reporter Paddy - who had a five-year relationship with Findlay - said she feared she was being pursued by a Jill Dando-type stalker. For over two years she lived in dread of the phone ringing late at night and only hearing heavy breathing. When she finally called in police they tracked a call to the mobile phone of Young, one of the country's brightest young advocates.

Young, the daughter of former Tory Minister Sir George Young, was interviewed on tape by police and admitted she making calls to Paddy. But after a report to the Procurator Fiscal it was decided that there should be no criminal proceedings. The procurator fiscal at Glasgow confirmed last night that the incident was dealt with by a "non court disposal".

Senior depute fiscal David Green said: "I can confirm that Victoria Young was reported to this office for an alleged contravention of the Telecommunication Act 1984 Section 43 - which is effectively nuisance calls. The report against her was given careful consideration and after that consideration it was decided not to instigate proceedings."

The depute fiscal would not comment as to why this particular case did not go to court when other similar cases result in criminal proceedings. He also would not say whether Young was given a written warning or any kind of procurator fiscal fine.

The phone calls to Paddy, while she was still living with Findlay, were made after 6.30pm but sometimes as late as one in the morning. Paddy said: "It took a few weeks to realise the calls weren't wrong numbers and that someone was stalking me by phone. "The caller never spoke but sometimes I could hear breathing."

Asked if it was heavy breathing, Paddy replied: "I don't know how loud Victoria Young's normal breathing sounds but to me it sounded like heavy breathing." She added: "I got so fed up I contacted BT to see what they could do. The answer was nothing until I reported it to the police. At that stage I didn't want to involve the police so I didn't take any further action.

"I'm not comparing myself to Jill Dando, but I do appear on television and it was preying on my mind. "I was going down the path in the morning looking up and down the street. So two months ago I finally decided that I would have to involve the police. "Almost immediately a trace was put on my home phone number and within two weeks I'd taken a hoax call that was traced to Victoria Young's mobile. "That call was made some time after 11pm when I was fast asleep in my bed."

When the police traced a second call to the same number a few days later, Young, of Dowanhill, Glasgow, was taken for interview to the city's Maryhill police station where she admitted making pest calls.She was charged but has escaped a court appearance. Paddy said: "I was flabbergasted when I found out. I've spoken to some of her legal colleagues who say they don't know how she could be so incredibly stupid."

News of Young's involvement has stunned the Scottish legal establishment. Yesterday one leading solicitor said: "Victoria is very bright and extremely ambitious. This is a real shock."

From her highly privileged background, privately-educated Young went on to Glasgow Uni where she graduated in 1993. Her early legal training was with Brodies law firm in Edinburgh, but she quickly set her sights on higher legal circles. Regarded as keen and meticulous, Young was spotted by Findlay - the high-profile, controversial criminal lawyer respected across the establishment.

As one of the highest-paid and most sought-after QCs, working with Findlay was considered an honour among the younger advocates eager to make a name for themselves. But more often than not, it was Young who worked closely with him on a number of high-profile cases.

It was during the highly emotional murder trial at the High Court in Glasgow of Kim Galbraith - accused of shooting her policeman husband - that news of Findlay's split with Paddy hit the headlines. When the Record published the story of the break-up, a furious Young leapt to his defence in the foyer of the courthouse.

In an astonishing scene she accosted Daily Record chief reporter Anna Smith, claiming we were "jeopardising" a young woman's life by publishing a story about Findlay. Later she passed a handwritten letter to the Record saying what an honour and privilege it was to work with Donald Findlay, who she said she deeply admired as a lawyer.

Last June, Young stood by Findlay when Rangers threw him out as vice-chairman - after he was caught on camera singing bigoted songs at a supporters' night out. Young continued to be at his side, though it is understood Findlay remained good friends with former lover Paddy.

A legal insider yesterday described Young as a "loner" who had few interests outside of her work and career.

The insider said: "Victoria has a pony and is a keen horse rider, but apart from that she doesn't seem to do very much. She was very close to Findlay and the two worked together on a lot of cases. Victoria is the kind of person who could seem snobbish and stand-offish when people first meet her, but in reality she is a very likeable girl.She is from a very privileged background and is ambitious. She saw herself as going all the way to the top. But she is quite a lonely person really.She would see someone like Findlay as a hugely charismatic, clever figure and perhaps even a father figure."

Yesterday Young was dropped off at her home by Findlay in his MG sports car. They kissed for a few moments before she stepped into the street. Findlay roared off and Young walked quickly into the red sandstone building where she lives in the top flat.

Last night Young told the Record she meant "no malice" in the calls and claimed she had only made two. She insisted that despite Paddy's high profile, she had no idea who she was because she was not allowed to watch ITV as she grew up.

And Young added that she was shocked to find that Paddy had reported the matter to the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, saying she feared she had a stalker. Young said: "That is just delusions of grandeur."

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