Mistreatment of hamsters appears to be the crime de nos jours in the Scottish courts in 2008.  After the tale of Andrew Thompson (No 729) we now have Steven Gordon, a 20 year old from Glasgow, who taped a hamster to a firework and then filmed the fuse being lit and the explosion of the firework on his mobile phone.  Gordon was found guilty of animal cruelty in January and sentenced to 220 hours of community service in early March.  The sentence was criticised by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals who advocated a custodial sentence.


During Gordon’s trial police had noted that a plea for information in relation to the conduct has received a better response than that received for a recent murder inquiry”.


The Scottish Courts Service is consulting on proposals to increase court fees (as well as fees relating to the Office of the Public Guardian).  The highest proposed fee increases would be for Court of Session actions, while the registration of powers of attorney with the Office of Public Guardian would see the lowest increases.  The consultation document is at http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/CourtFees/Fee_Review_Consultation.pdf and the consultation period closes on 6th May 2008.


Pete Wishart’s Bill to extend the term of sound recording copyright (see Nos 747, 765) sneaked under the Scots Law News radar and got another First Reading in the House of Commons on 26 February 2008 under a new title, the Copyright in Sound Recordings and Performers’ Rights (Term Extension) Bill.  No progress since apparent on the Westminster website – (http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2007-08/copyrightinsoundrecordingsandperformersrightstermextension.html).


The Scottish Government has announced that the proposed legislation on pleural plaques (see No 709) will also cover two other asbestos related conditions: asymptomatic asbestosis or pleural thickening, although in contrast to pleural plaques, these conditions are usually progressive cause further injury to the sufferer.  This is to avoid an anomaly whereby those with symptomless pleural plaques can claim under the proposed legislation but those with other symptomless asbestos related injuries cannot.