Finlay Carson MSP

Galloway and West Dumfries

Putting Victims First

How many times have we read about violent offenders being released early then go on to kill again?

The fact of the matter is the SNP Government have been soft on crime during its 14-years in office.

Tragically the soft-touch justice system is stacked against victims while letting criminals away with easy sentences for horrific crimes.

All of this has to change immediately which is why the Scottish Conservatives will be introducing a Victims Law in the Scottish Parliament.

This would end soft-touch sentencing, punish offenders property and fix court flaws.

It would also enable victims to provide in-person statements – in order their voices are heard in court while putting a stop to criminals being automatically released early to keep our streets safe.

A Dumfries baby killer was jailed for seven and a half years for shaking his 15-month old victim to death – but only served four years in prison. When he was released he stayed less than 25 miles from the victim’s mother.

We would also introduce whole life custody for the very worst criminals, with no prospect of parole.

Additionally, the Scottish Conservatives will also deliver the campaign for Michelle’s Law – in memory of Michelle Stewart, who was murdered by her boyfriend in 2009, aged only 17.

Her family have called for changes to prison and parole rules to safeguard other families. The SNP promises to act but have comprehensively failed to deliver.

We would explicitly require the safety and welfare of victims and their families to be taken into account when parole and early release are considered.

Furthermore it is our intention to increase the use of “exclusion zones” on offenders to offer increased protection to victims and their families.

Finally we would toughen up the Victim Notification Scheme, so victims are given reasons for an offender’s release to allow them to make representations in person every time it is considered.

The coronavirus pandemic has also taken its toll on the Scottish justice system with a backlog of cases leaving victims having to wait even longer for justice to be delivered. We would ensure additional resources are made available to speed things up.