FMQs: Nicola Sturgeon hints at offender tagging law change

Nicola Sturgeon questioned on tagging
Nicola Sturgeon questioned on tagging
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Nicola Sturgeon has signalled that she will look at Scottish Government plans that could see offenders, who breach tagging orders, escape further prosecution.

The First Minister said she would look at the legislation when it was raised at Holyrood following the murder of 31-year-old Craig McClelland.

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Ms Sturgeon said she would review the circumstances surrounding the case that saw Mr McClelland murdered by James Wright,25, after the killer had been illegally at large for six months.

Wright had 16 previous convictions, including two for knife crimes, when he was let out of jail last February on home detention curfew.

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He had tampered with his electronic tag and breached the curfew after just 11 days, but remained illegally at large for six months before stabbing Mr McClelland to death in Foxbar, Paisley.

The case was raised at First Minister’s Questions by Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, who objected to the idea that offenders who breach tagging orders would not automatically see their actions treated as a crime.

 Ruth Davidson asked Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister’s Questions today if she would commit to changing the proposed legislation in the Management of Offenders (Scotland) Bill.

Ms Sturgeon said cases of breaches of hiome detention curfew were taken “very seriously”.

“If the conditions are considered to be breached, the prison service will revoke the individual’s licence and issue a recall order,” the First Minister said.

“Police Scotland is notified and makes arrangements to apprehend prisoners so there are processes in place. It is important though that we always keep these processes under review so that when cases such as the one we were talking about last week happen.”

She added: “Thankfully these are rare cases although that offers no comfort to the family affected in that case. Where situations like that arise, we review that properly and if there are lessons or changes that require to be made then we take action to do that.”