The Criminal Procedure (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill was published on 8 October 2003.  It includes provision for trials in absence of accused persons who fail to turn up, an increase to five years of the maximum term of imprisonment that a sheriff may impose, electronic tagging of reluctant witnesses, and an extension of the 110-day rule to become a 140-day rule.

A debate also began as to sexual offences in Scots law after Sir Gerald Gordon argued in a case commentary on Webster v Dominick (see No 243) that the decision to remove shameless indecency” from the criminal law lexicon meant that “consenting homosexual behaviour between an adult and a boy of 14