Council: Not our fault we have to house rapist
THE storm of protest over the early release of the Da Vinci Code rapist Robert Greens continued today, with council bosses hitting out at critics blaming them for housing the criminal.
Police had to be called out to restore order at a homeless unit in Loanhead on Wednesday night after rumours that Greens had been moved there sparked an angry protest from around 100 residents.
It confirmed fears raised when Greens, 33, was initially released that his presence in the community would cause a violent reaction from vigilante mobs.
Some of the protesters hit out at Midlothian Council, claiming the area was being used as “a dumping ground” for criminals.
Today, Midlothian Council leader Derek Milligan insisted it had no choice in the matter and sought to reassure residents that every step was being taken to ensure their safety.
Greens was originally housed in Dalkeith after being released from prison in January having served just half of his ten-year sentence for the brutal rape of a 19-year-old Dutch student in Rosslyn Chapel in 2005, described by a judge as the worst case of rape he had ever seen.
He had to be moved to a new undisclosed location after angry protesters discovered where he was living.
Councillor Milligan said: “Our role is to work with the police and other partners to mitigate the risk following any individual registered sex offender’s release from prison.
“This is not a decision made by the council. Scottish Government legislation lets offenders out and we had no say in the matter.
“We are left with this danger and are working with the police and other agencies to do all we can to ensure the safety of our communities. Any decision to return an offender to prison would be due to a breach of a licence condition and the decision would ultimately be made by the Justice Directorate in the Scottish Government.
“The law also says councils must manage a sex offender on their release from prison. There are a number of agencies involved in this process including the local authority, police and health.
“We understand the anxieties of local people. The public need to be reassured that all partners, including the council, are working hard to keep our communities safe.”
His comments were back by Midlothian Labour MP David Hamilton, who blasted the Scottish Government for failing to keep Greens behind bars.
“I fully understand my constituents’ serious concerns and it is outrageous that Midlothian Council is being forced by Scottish Government policies to house a sex offender in Midlothian.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Scotland has one of the most robust systems for managing sex offenders anywhere in the world, including a disclosure scheme allowing parents to know if convicted sex offenders are living in their community.
“The monitoring of such offenders is now tougher than ever before.
“Enforcement agencies have a range of measures they can deploy for convicted sex offenders, such as surveillance, electronic tagging, curfews and prohibitions on where they can go and who they contact, and we believe these measures are both robust and sufficient. If any offender steps out of line, they will be swiftly returned to prison.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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