Drama outside court as trial of ex-Rangers owner is delayed

Police question a man outside the court, where Craig Whyte had arrived minutes before. Picture: SWNS
Police question a man outside the court, where Craig Whyte had arrived minutes before. Picture: SWNS

Police questioned a man outside the High Court in Glasgow yesterday as former Rangers Football Club owner Craig Whyte entered the building.

Officers were seen talking to the man in a side street near the court where Whyte was expected to attend his trial.

It is believed that Whyte was the one who made the complaint to police after a man shouted something at him as he was about to enter court for yesterday’s evidence.

Whyte denies a fraud allegation and a second accusation under the Companies Act.

A spokesman said: “Around 9:45am police were called to an incident on Osbourne Street near the High Court. Inquiries are ongoing.”

The trial was subsequently adjourned for the day as one of the jurors is ill.

Whyte, 46, is on trial at the High Court in Glasgow, where he denies acquiring the club fraudulently in May 2011.

The case was expected to continue yesterday with the cross-examination of former Rangers owner Sir David Murray, who gave evidence on Wednesday.

However, judge Lady Stacey told jurors that proceedings could not continue as one of their number is unwell. It is hoped the trial will resume today.

She told them: “You will have noticed there are only 14 of you rather than 15. One of the jurors is ill and not able to sit, and we cannot continue with the trial.

“We hope the juror will be alright and may be able to resume tomorrow, but that depends on her medical condition and she has had to go home.

“I will have to adjourn the court today but hope to be able to sit tomorrow.

“I have to ask you to come back tomorrow, though there cannot be any guarantees. I am sorry that someone is ill but I am sorry you have been brought in just to be sent away again.”

Whyte was present in the dock as Lady Stacey asked the jurors to return at 10am.

Prosecutors allege Whyte pretended to Sir David, and others, that funds were available to make all required payments to acquire a “controlling and majority stake” in the club.

The Crown alleges Whyte had only £4 million available from two sources at the time but took out a £24m loan from Ticketus against three years of future season ticket sales.

The court has heard the sale was eventually made to Whyte for £1, but came with obligations to pay an £18mbank debt, a £2.8m “small tax case” bill, £1.7m for stadium repairs, £5m for players and £5m in working capital.

Whyte denies the two charges against him.