McSporrans criminal solicitors' latest news on all aspects of criminal & road traffic law.
McSporrans Criminal Defence Lawyers

Human Trafficking Laws Come into Force

New legal measures designed to tackle human trafficking and improve support for victims came into force in Scotland on 31st May 2016.

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McSporrans Criminal Defence Lawyers

Air weapons consultation

The Scottish Government is consulting on plans to create a new licencing regime for air weapons. It is estimated that there could be as many as half a million unlicensed air guns in Scotland.

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McSporrans Criminal Defence Lawyers

Government closes legal loophole

The Criminal Cases (Punishment and Review) (Scotland) Act came into force on 24th September, and closed a legal loophole which arose following the Appeal Court's judgement in the case of Petch and Foye v. HMA. The loophole had meant that prisoners given a discretionary life sentence or Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) could apply to become eligible for parole earlier than those serving sentences of a fixed length.

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McSporrans Criminal Defence Lawyers

Police launch rape prevention campaign

The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) has launched a new campaign across Scotland to highlight recent changes to the law on rape. The campaign also aims to change attitudes to rape and other sexual assaults.

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McSporrans Criminal Defence Lawyers

Drop in offensive weapon crimes

The Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC has welcomed the drop in crimes of handling an offensive weapon reported in the statistical bulletin published by Scotland’s Chief Statistician. The publication presents statistics on crimes and offences recorded and cleared up by the eight Scottish police forces in 2011-12.

The figures show that crimes of handling an offensive weapon (which includes possession of an offensive weapon, restriction of offensive weapon and having in a public place an article with a blade or point) have decreased by 10% since 2010-11. This is a 44% decrease since 2006-07.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal service implemented a strengthened knife crime policy on 22nd July 2011. The overall aim of the policy is to reduce offending and re-offending and to provide an effective deterrent.

The knife crime policy states: Anyone found in possession of a knife: on licensed premises; when local gang involvement is probable; at a ‘hot spot’ for violence; and on public transport or at a bus or train station, are now prosecuted on petition and their guilt decided by a Sheriff and jury rather than by summary complaint.

This allows a greater sentencing power for the Sheriff and increases the maximum prison term from one to four years. There is a presumption in favour of prosecution on indictment where the accused has previously been convicted of a relevant offence or has a previous conviction for a violent offence involving the use of a knife. And there is also a presumption in favour of opposing bail when the knife is presented or brandished if the case falls into any of these categories.

McSporrans Criminal Defence Lawyers

Crime down on Britain’s railways

The long term downward trend in crime on Britain’s rail systems has continued with a 9.1% fall in notifiable crime in 2011/12, the eighth successive year crime has gone down.

Figures for twelve crime groups published by British Transport Police show that violent crime fell by 2.9%, whilst robberies were down 9.6% and vandalism (criminal damage) by 21.6%. Theft also fell, with theft of passengers’ property down 10.4% and theft of railway property down 12.8%.

In 2011/12, BTP also achieved all eleven of its national policing plan targets and 43 out of 47 local targets. National targets include reducing crime, disruption and anti-social behaviour whilst improving value for money.

Crime on the railways over the past five years has fallen by over 30%.

Administrator

New prosecution policy on transmission of sexually transmitted infections

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has issued guidance on the intentional or reckless sexual transmission of, or exposure to, sexually transmitted infections.

The policy has been drawn up in consultation with the Public Health Sector and other interested groups, including the Terrence Higgins Trust, HIV Scotland and the National AIDS Trust.

COPFS is one of the few prosecution services worldwide who have proactively published their prosecution guidance on this issue.

The Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, said:

“This policy sets out clear guidance to prosecutors on cases where there is an allegation of sexual transmission of, or exposure to, infections which have serious, and potentially life-threatening consequences for the person infected.

“In preparing this policy, we have consulted closely with the public health sector alongside health charities and interest groups.

"We are publishing this guidance because we recognise that it is important to provide clarity and consistency on this area of the law. We also recognise the devastating effect that such diseases can have, and we will prosecute where it is in the public interest to do so, taking into account the rights of both victim and accused as well as any public health concerns."

Administrator

Pilot project successfully tackles youth offending

A pilot project to tackle the problem of youth offending in Aberdeen has successfully helped to reduce the number of crimes committed by young people.

The system, which is being extended to local authorities across Scotland, aims to hold young people to account for their behaviour and stop them following the wrong path into a life of crime.

The final report into the pilot of Whole System Approach in Aberdeen revealed a 20% reduction in youth crime between 2008-09 and last year. It also showed that:

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Administrator

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey on drug use

Scotland’s Chief Statistician has published the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2010/11: Drug Use report.

The publication presents statistics on adults’ experiences of illicit drug use and covers self-reported drug use in the last month, the last year and ever.

The main findings of the report include:

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Administrator

Special committee to probe organised crime in the EU

A special parliamentary committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering has been created by the European Parliament. It has a year to investigate infiltration of the EU's legal economy, public administration and financial systems by organised crime, including mafias, and propose ways to fight it.

Misappropriation of public funds, infiltration of the public sector, and contamination of the legal economy and financial system are some of the key threats posed by criminal organisations in the EU.

Within the time limit of its mandate, the committee is to evaluate the extent of organised crime's impact on the EU economy and society and recommend legislative and other measures to enable the EU to respond to these threats at international, European and national levels.

The committee, with a one year mandate extendable once, will have the power to make on site visits and hold hearings with EU and national institutions from all over the world.

MEPs may invite representatives of business and civil society and victims’ organisations, and officials, including judges, involved in the daily fight against organised crime, corruption and money laundering.

The special committee is to start work by the end of April this year.

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Administrator

Football Bill moves forward

A majority of members of the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee have shown their support for the two new offences included in the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill.

Administrator

Lord Advocate to refer Five Cadder Cases to Supreme Court

The Lord Advocate is to refer five cases to the UK Supreme Court for a further ruling as to the scope of the Cadder v HMA decision which was handed down by last October by the Supreme Court.

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