Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Share your thoughts on the death penalty for traffic offenses – Louise Arrol

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A draft guideline on sentencing death for traffic offenses is now open for consultation. It is Scotland’s first criminal offense guideline and the Scottish Sentencing Council is keen to hear your views before it is finalized. Here Louise Arrol, the Counsel Member for the Council, explains more.

One of the Scottish Sentencing Council’s roles is to develop and publish sentencing guidelines. These guidelines provide an essential framework for sentencing by Scottish courts and help the public better understand how judges reach sentencing decisions. Any guidelines developed by the Council must be approved by the High Court of Justiciary before they come into force.

To date, the Council has published three general prison guidelines on the principles and purposes of prison enforcement, the sentencing process and sentencing of young people.

As the Council enters a new phase in its work, we have launched a consultation on Scotland’s first sentencing directive. It includes the statutory homicides: homicide by dangerous driving; cause of death due to careless driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; homicide caused by careless or reckless driving; and causing death by driving: unlicensed, uninsured, or disqualified drivers.

Conviction is an important part of the judicial process and, having worked in the High Court for the last two decades to conduct criminal proceedings and appeals, I believe that a policy covering death from traffic offenses will help judges to do that doing what is possible can sometimes be challenging decisions.

The crimes covered by the draft directive are of a very serious nature and can have a devastating impact on victims’ families and others affected by the crime.

Homicides are often some of the most emotional and complex cases dealt with in our courts, with factors surrounding the damage caused – the death of a person – and the degree of guilt or guilt of the perpetrator vary widely from case to case.

The amount of damage (death) for death caused by traffic offenses is stipulated by law. Therefore, in determining the degrees of severity, the judge will focus on the guilt of the offender.

This can be particularly difficult when convicting negligent or reckless driving offenses, where there can be a significant difference between fault and damage caused.

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