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McInnes calls for publication of domestic abuse prosecution policy

August 26, 2013 3:51 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP hasAlison McInnesAlison McInnes today called on the Scottish Government to answer questions about how the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service deals with allegations of domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse campaigners have criticised the decision of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to hear the case of Bill Walker MSP in a sheriff court without a jury, meaning the maximum term he can be sentenced to is 12 months.

The MSP for Dunfermline was last week found guilty of 23 charges of assault and one breach of the peace at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Mrs McInnes, Member for North East Scotland, commented:

"The Crown Prosecution Service has published documents explaining how it pursues cases involving domestic violence in England and Wales. In light of the concerns expressed regarding the Bill Walker case, the Lord Advocate needs to follow its example and reassure the public that our justice system is both consistent and transparent.

"We are talking about serious violent offences here. It is important that we do what we can to ensure that those found guilty of domestic abuse receive an appropriate sentence. In the case of Bill Walker, clearly there are questions to be answered on why the Crown Office felt a summary trial was appropriate. Ministers need to tell us how our court system typically deals with allegations of domestic abuse and what steps are being taken to ensure that the punishment in these cases fits the crime.

"A clear prosecution framework is crucial to ensuring ease of understanding amongst the public and maintaining confidence in the law."