Home leave for convicted criminals must be reviewed

22 Feb 2018

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP speaking during First Minister's Questions held in the Scottish parliament, Edinburgh today. 09 June 2016. Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

Home leave for convicted murderers before they’ve even faced a parole board must be stopped, Ruth Davidson has said.

The Scottish Conservative leader raised the issue at First Minister’s Questions today following the sentencing of killer Robbie McIntosh.

He was handed a lifelong restriction order after the attempted murder of a dog walker in Dundee, a crime he committed while on temporary release following the brutal killing of another woman in 2001.

He hadn’t even faced a parole board at the time of his leave, and attacked Linda McDonald just five days after release.

The Scottish Conservatives have now demanded a review into home leave for dangerous criminals.

Figures obtained by the party have revealed there were more than 4000 instances last year alone where offenders were granted leave ahead of a parole board hearing, most without any supervision.

In response, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon denied there were problems within Scotland’s justice system, and that the SNP government had a “soft touch” approach.

The family of Mrs McDonald have said they want a wider probe into the issue.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said:

“This appalling case raises serious questions about our justice system.

“It may be an extreme example, but it taps into a wider public concern.

“We have more than 4000 convicted criminals who, like Robbie McIntosh, are being released before they’ve even been considered for parole, and often without supervision.

“When cases like this emerge, the question from the public is, why again?

“They don’t understand why a killer is let loose to try and kill again, why the dice is loaded against victims, and why action is only taken when another family is left to pick up the pieces of their lives.

“Home leave for convicted murderers – where they are free to walk the streets before they’ve even faced a parole board – must be stopped.”