Question ref. S6W-00422
Asked by: Dean Lockhart, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 2 June 2021
To ask the Scottish Government what protections are in place for victims of (a) stalking and (b) harassment in cases where offenders are granted bail prior to trial.
Current status: Answered by Keith Brown on 8 June 2021
It is for the independent court to decide whether to grant bail or remand an accused person in any given case. This decision is made within the overarching legal framework whereby bail can be refused if there are good reasons. Where the courts decide to release an accused person on bail, bail is awarded subject to conditions. These always include the standard conditions set out at section 24(5) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995. Amongst others, these conditions include that the person: should not commit an offence while on bail; does not interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice; and does not behave in a manner which causes, or is likely to cause, alarm or distress to witnesses, including the complainer.
Breach of a bail condition is a criminal offence. Police Scotland treat all cases of stalking and harassment as a priority and encourage anyone to report incidents including where breach of bail conditions occurs. At any time after a court has granted bail to a person, if the prosecutor applies to the court, putting before it material which was not available when bail was granted, the court may review its decision to grant bail.
The Scottish Government provides funding to Action Against Stalking, which offers specialist support to victims of stalking throughout the criminal justice process, and provided funding to the Scottish Women's Rights Centre to develop the FollowIt App, which helps a person who is being stalked to record what is happening to them in a simple and safe way.