The First Minister, Jack McConnell, gave an important speech on Executive policy and strategy in relation to criminal justice on 16 September 2003. Part of the context of the speech was provided by public controversy over a five-year jail sentence given by Lord Reed to an offender whose crimes included the rape of a baby and various acts related to child pornography (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3078216.stm – the sentence is now under consideration for excessive leniency by the Lord Advocate, who can take the matter to the Court of Criminal Appeal). The full text of the speech is available at https://www.scotland.gov.uk/pages/news/extras/00015700.aspx, and some key extracts are given below. It may be noted that the First Minister makes no reference to the reform of criminal law itself, or to the Draft Criminal Code produced by Professors Clive, Ferguson, Gane, McCall Smith and Gordon and published in September 2003 by the Scottish Law Commission (see http://www.scotlawcom.gov.uk/index-1.htm).
Extracts from the First Minister’s speech:
Scotland’s criminal justice system has a long and proud history. In the days when Scotland and England were at war the barons sent their sons to the universities on the continent