Lawyers are revolting That’s not a comment but a fact. Criminal lawyers in Ayrshire are up in arms about the lack of Covid safety measures in Kilmarnock Sheriff Court and the danger they are in – and they’ve written to the chief clerk telling her that they’re rebelling and it’s extremely unsafe to work there.

There have been two Covid outbreaks at the court as well as several serious mass ones at Bowhouse prison where prisoners are held before appearances in court.

Lawyers have been forced to consult with their clients through the hatches of cells in the basement, rather than in the interview rooms.

So, instead of the recommended two metres apart, lawyers are taking instructions through the cell hatch. It doesn’t do much for privacy either.

Simon Brown, an Irvine lawyer who caught Covid, perhaps in that very court, wrote on behalf of the criminal bar that “we feel it is no coincidence that all of the recent infections at Kilmarnock are either those who work in the cell area or those of us that have to frequent it regularly to speak to clients.

"As a criminal bar, we are no longer prepared to enter the cell area to take instructions in this manner.”

He goes on to say that other courts have been dealing with custody cases virtually, and that “we have still to be given an explanation why this is not felt appropriate for Kilmarnock”.

There are cleaners working without masks, as well as members of the court staff, he continues, and he insists that no-one be allowed in the court building without one.

Back in December, it was agreed that the courts would be deep cleaned, but that hasn’t happened. And there are no disinfectant wipes either.

This follows on from the other side, the fiscals, complaining about the lack of hygiene and prescribed safety measures there.

Finally, Brown points out that these issues were raised more than three weeks before and hee-haw has happened since. Could we be seeing strike action?

One thing’s for sure, appearing or working there and you could be risking a sentence more deadly than a custodial one.

Heughan cry

A BIT of a stushie has broken out over the name of a whisky which the star of the show Outlander wants to trade-mark and sell in Europe.

I have never seen the show, or the aforementioned star Sam Heughan, but apparently it’s about time travel, and kilts, Jacobites, blood and sex. (Note to self: why haven’t I watched it?).

Anyway, Sam has just had the name of his whisky knocked back by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (I thought we had Brexited, or have I missed an update?).

Heughan wants to call it Sassenach but a German distillery, which sells whiskies and brandies, successfully claimed it was too similar to its name. Sasse.

And people in noisy bars and clubs (eh? Is this crystal-ball gazing?) might confuse the two.

The actor’s lawyers argued that Outlander was very popular in Germany but Sasse’s lawyers responded: “We deny that it is that popular”, going on to argue that “sassenach” was also not that well-known, “originating from Gaelic, and spoken by very few Scots.”

This is fighting talk. Expect to see Prussians slaughtered mercilessly and in abundance in future shows.

On your Marx

It couldn’t be more fitting. A Russian football team called Akron has signed a 20-year-old player from Brazil called Marx Lenin. Akron is based in Tolyatti which is named after the late Italian communist party leader, Palmiro Togliatti. A Kapital move.

Grounds for concern

MANY years ago I was the fairly long-established secretary of the Glasgow branch of the NUJ (National Union of Journalists) – part-time, unpaid – and Scotland were planning to go to Chile to play a warm-up game before the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

We should have realised then it would end in catastrophe. It wasn’t long after the military coup and the game was to be played in the national stadium where thousands had been held, machine-gunned and raped.

There was a bit of a clamour for Scotland not to go and someone put a motion at the branch meeting that Scottish sports writers shouldn’t either.

Sportswriters never came to meetings, but this time they turned out in an organised mass, voted down the motion, and turfed out the committee, including me. They claimed that, as journalists, they’d go there and expose the truth. They never did.

This came to mind when I watched a clip of the World Club Cup final in Qatar 10 days ago. It doesn’t really matter who won (Bayern, for pedants) but what is important is the presentation ceremony and what is says about that country.

Two of the refereeing officials were women, Edina Batista and Neuza Beck, and the man, always a man, presenting the medals was Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, one of the many royal princes.

The male officials all fist-bumped with the sheikh, but the two women had clearly been told not to because, of course, they were women and contact was haram, so they didn’t. The sheikh didn’t even deign to even look at them never mind congratulate as they scuttled quickly past.

I’m not equating Qatar with Chile, and I’m sure if Scotland get there no-one will try to stop writers going.

But they might bear that example in mind and, more importantly, that the grounds were built with migrant, effectively slave labour, many from Nepal and India, and that more than 1,000 died in doing it.

Alan Rough, the Scotland goalkeeper back then, said that there were still bullet holes in the dressing rooms. Whether it can be seen or not, there’s blood on the walls of those 34 new stadiums in Qatar.