Labour slam court community payback loophole

LOCAL politicians have called on the SNP Scottish Government to urgently close a loophole in Community Payback Orders which emerged following a ruling by the Court of Appeal last week.

The ruling means that offenders who have been given Community Payback Orders instead of prison terms will no longer be in breach even if they commit a new crime.

The court ruled that each breach will be considered a new offence and they will only be sentenced on their latest crime, rather than on the fact they have broken a behavioural clause while serving the Community Payback Order.

Community Payback Orders, which came in to force in Scotland in February 2011 and replaced Community Service Orders, Probation Orders and Supervised Attendance Orders,

At the start of July a new unit in for Community Payback Orders was opened in Stranraer.

Following the court’s ruling, Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown said: “People need confidence in the justice system, of which Community Payback Orders are an important part. According to this ruling, committing a further offence while on a Community Payback Order isn’t considered a breach of that order. People have been given these Community Orders instead of a prison sentence so they can give something back to the community. The very idea that committing a further crime doesn’t break the Order risks making a mockery of them.”