Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Psychiatrists verdicts on accused block Sheriffs imposing orders on sex offenders

Changes needed in the law perhaps as Sheriffs fall to the mercy of medical consultants ?

The Herald reports :

Law prevents sheriffs imposing orders on two sex offenders


Two sheriffs dealing with cases involving serious sex offenders yesterday were each prevented from imposing the orders they wanted to because of legal restrictions.

At Glasgow Sheriff Court, an insane man who carried out two attacks on women was ordered to be treated in the community after Sheriff John Baird was left without the power to have him detained at the State Hospital, Carstairs.

Two consultant psychiatrists from the hospital who assessed the "sexually dangerous" man, whom The Herald has decided not to name, said that admission was not necessary.

Sheriff Baird said: "I would have taken the view, if left to my own devices, that the risk to the public of this accused being at liberty was a high one, justifying his compulsory detention in a hospital, and on a basis in which his detention there was restricted."

However, he could not make such an order because the two psychiatrists did not recommend it.

Instead, the sheriff made a compulsion order for treatment by a psychiatrist. He will continue to be kept under 24-hour supervision in the community.

Meanwhile, a rapist said to pose a "very high risk" of reoffending is expected to walk free from court next month without the safeguards a sheriff wanted to place on him.

At Perth Sheriff Court yesterday, Sheriff Robert McCreadie told David McMillan, who is already on the sex offenders' register for life, he was unable to impose an order restricting his movements because Tayside Police had not applied for it.

Last night Tayside Police said it would now consider applying to place McMillan on a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (Sopo) to try to protect the public from him in the wake of the sheriff's recommendations.

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