(503) SUMMARY JUSTICE IN SCOTLAND: THE FUTURE
A Summary Justice Reform Bill was published by the Justice Minister on 26 September 2005. It implements many of the reforms suggested by the McInnes Committee’s report on the subject in 2004. The headlines were captured by the provisions on bail, designed to tackle the problem of those who offend while on bail (focused as a matter of public concern by the murder of schoolboy Rory Blackhall in August 2005, apparently by a sex offender liberated on bail a few days before and who committed suicide after Rory’s death). In particular judges considering whether to grant bail in cases of serious violent or sexual offences or drug dealing will have to take into account previous similar convictions; drug treatment and testing can be made a condition of bail; sentence for breach of bail conditions in non-jury courts will be extended from three months to a year (Naked Rambler watch out); sentences for breach of bail will no longer be concurrent with any for the principal offence; and trial in absence of the accused will be possible in non-jury courts where the absence is for no good reason.