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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 December, 2004, 11:15 GMT
The year in review: April to June
In the second of a four-part series, BBC News Online Scotland's Thomas McGuigan looks back at some of the major events in 2004.


In April, Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson faced mounting political pressure to resign over a series of blunders by private security firm Reliance.

Reliance van and Cathy Jamieson
Cathy Jamieson faced pressure over Reliance's performance
The Tories and the Scottish National Party demanded that she quit almost two weeks after a teenage prisoner went missing from Hamilton Sheriff Court.

Reliance took over the multi-million pound escort contract, which was put in place to free police and prison officers' time for other duties.

Despite opposition calls for the security firm to be stripped of its responsibilities, First Minister Jack McConnell said it should continue but must improve.

'Keystone cops'

Mr McConnell also defended the justice minister's role.

SNP justice spokeswoman Nicola Sturgeon said it was time to "dump the Keystone cops".

It was reported at the time that up to 17 prisoners may have escaped from custody while private security firm Reliance was on duty.

The firm's managing director, Tom Riall, said six of the releases could be blamed to some extent on Reliance.

Mr Riall told MSPs that the private firm had not anticipated the difficulties it would face when it took over the job of transporting prisoners to court.

A 15-year-old boy appeared in court charged with the murder of Midlothian teenager Jodi Jones.

Jodi Jones
Jodi Jones' body was found in woodland

The 14-year-old schoolgirl's mutilated body was discovered in woodland near to her home in Easthouses last summer.

The boy appeared before Sheriff John Horsburgh at Edinburgh Sheriff Court charged with murder and with an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

A former police officer who was wrongly accused of leaving her fingerprints at a murder scene was sued by police for legal fees.

Shirley McKie lost a 100,000 claim for damages against the chief constable of Strathclyde Police in 2002.

Now the force is trying to reclaim the expenses involved in fighting the case.

Ms McKie's father Iain said the case had "destroyed" his daughter and appealed to Chief Constable Willie Rae to halt the action for legal fees.

Shirley McKie
Shirley McKie has been "destroyed", according to her father

Mr McKie expressed feelings of "outrage, injustice, unfairness and being kicked when you are down".

Ms McKie said she felt like Strathclyde Police and the Scottish Executive were taking turns to kick her.

Scotland's decommissioned Concorde arrived at its final destination, the Museum of Flight in East Lothian.

The aircraft was slowly moved onto the airfield after completing a sea trip from London on a state-of-the art barge.

About 2,000 people turned out to see the 110-ton plane, minus its wings, tail and undercarriage, complete the hour-long trundle.

Concorde
The Concorde trundled to its final destination

It went on public display later in the year after being restored to its glory.

A legal bid to overturn the ban on the hunting of foxes with dogs in Scotland was rejected by appeal judges in May.

The challenge to the country's anti-hunting legislation was thrown out at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

The Countryside Alliance and members of the fox hunting lobby argued the laws were incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The hunt supporters tried to overturn the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act.

The Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Gill, heard the case alongside Lord Macfadyen and Lord Abernethy.

On Tuesday, 11 May, an explosion devastated the Stockline Plastics factory in Glasgow's Maryhill area.

Rescue operation

Nine people died when the blast struck their workplace, causing the building to collapse.

The rescue and recovery operation lasted until the Friday, when the final body was pulled from the wreckage.

The Health and Safety Executive launched an investigation into the cause of the explosion, which also left dozens of people injured.

Stockline rescue
A victim of the Stockline blast is carried from the rubble
The role of civil servants was defended on the final day of evidence to the Fraser Inquiry into the cost of the new Scottish Parliament building.

Laura Dunlop QC, counsel for the Scottish Executive, said there was no evidence civil servants broke any rules or misled the public at any point.

John Campbell, the counsel to Lord Fraser's inquiry, said the project had suffered a management failure of "gigantic proportions".

Mr Campbell described the timetable as "unrealistic" and highlighted a lack of certainty about the final design. He also complained that there was "overall a lack of leadership".

The Scottish Parliament urged Scotland's professional football clubs to sign up to a Uefa campaign against racism.

Racism in football

Labour MSP Bill Butler asked for a debate to put pressure on the clubs to take part in the campaign.

Despite the plan being circulated to Scotland's 42 clubs two years ago, it has been endorsed only by St Johnstone.

The 10-point plan includes issuing a public statement condemning racism and tackling racist chants during games.

A controversial Sunday ferry service to the Hebridean island of Raasay began for the first time, dividing opinion among the island's 193 inhabitants.

Twenty five passengers travelled on the first ferry to make the 15-minute Sabbath trip to Sconser on Skye.

Raasay ferry
The Raasay ferry service on a Sunday divided opinion

The Free Presbyterian Church said that Sunday should be the Lord's Day, but it refused to stage a protest as it would have to be held on the Sabbath.

Rev James Tallach said: "It is a terrible violation of the Lord's Day."

However, one resident who did not wish to be named, said: "Why am I using it? Because I can."

In June, the Scottish Executive unveiled plans to regulate charities and restore public confidence in the industry.

Communities Minister Margaret Curran said the Charities and Trustee Investment Bill would, for the first time, provide a definition of a charity based on public benefit.

The move followed two high-profile cases in Scotland last year.

Breast Cancer Research (Scotland) had its assets frozen after an investigation found that only 1.5m of the 13m it raised had actually been donated to charity.

Later in the year, the Court of Session moved to have directors of the Moonbeams children's cancer charity permanently removed after they failed to answer allegations that just 70,000 of almost 3m raised went to sufferers and their families.

Tourism Minister Frank McAveety was forced to apologise unreservedly for misleading parliament after turning up late for question time.

Mr McAveety told MSPs he was detained on ministerial business, but was actually having lunch in the canteen.

Frank McAveety
Frank McAveety was scoffing pie and beans

Presiding Officer George Reid accepted the minister's apology over what was dubbed "porky pie-gate".

First Minister Jack McConnell told Mr McAveety that his behaviour fell below the standard expected of a minister.

Mr McAveety was due to answer the very first question of the hour-long question time session.

Labour backbencher Irene Oldfather asked the Scottish Executive what action it was taking to promote Ayrshire as a film location.

However, instead of a reply from Mr McAveety, who had already been at the centre of a storm over the future of Scottish Opera, there was silence and an empty seat.

A flustered Mr McAveety said: "Sorry, deputy presiding officer, I was unavoidably detained there during the Arts Council book awards."

Three journalists claimed later to have seen Mr McAveety eating a meal of pie, beans and roast potatoes in the parliament cafe at around the time he was due to answer the first question.

Mr McAveety was sacked by the first minister in October.


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