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Criminal law: Bail review under way in Scotland

The solicitor general for Scotland, Lesley Thomson QC, has announced that a review of bail is under way, which it is hoped will help ensure that public safety from offenders remains at the "top of the agenda" north of the border.

The review will focus on bail applications in cases involving offences such as stalking and domestic abuse where victims may remain at risk if bail is granted.

Thomson announced the review at an event to mark National Stalking Awareness Day at the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood.

Speaking after the event she emphasised that public safety was the driver behind the review.

"It's to make sure that when we're considering either custody or bail at that initial court stage we have all the right information to ensure that the priority of public and personal safety is top of the agenda," she said.

"It is general but it is particularly relevant to stalking because in many instances of stalking we'll be dealing with perpetrators who don't have a background already, which can also happen in domestic abuse cases. It's about ensuring that you appropriately risk-assess at that point and you have the right information to do that," she added.

The review commenced a few weeks ago and it is anticipated that it will conclude in the next month.

The event was hosted by Ann Moulds who was subjected to a two-year campaign by a stalker. She then worked hard to force a change in the law in Scotland in 2010. It is now thought that the English Government could adopt similar criminal legislation.

"The past three years has seen some ground-breaking achievements in Scotland with changing attitudes and the law as regards stalking. Stalking is now a recognised offence across the whole of the UK. National Stalking Awareness Day will ensure that the spotlight stays on stalking," said Ms Moulds.

The review of the law will focus on bail across the criminal justice system in Scotland.

Related links:

Read more on the story (Press Association)

Stalking and the law (FindLaw)

Find a criminal solicitor near you (FindLaw)