First Minister addresses concerns over Foye appeal

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First Minister Alex Salmond has insisted today that no prisoner will be released whist they are still judged to be a danger to the public.

Mr Salmond’s comments follow the news earlier this week that convicted rapist Robert Foye had successfully appealed the length of time he would have to serve before being considered for parole.

The First Minister’s comments were welcomed by Jamie Hepburn, who is the MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth where Foye committed his crime.

Mr Salmond was responding after the matter was raised by Mr Hepburn during First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood.  The Cumbernauld and Kilsyth MSP asked the First Minister to confirm that for as long as Robert Foye was considered a danger to the public he would stay behind bars on a life sentence.

Responding Mr Salmond said: “I think I can give the assurance in two ways.  Firstly, that the Justice Secretary will be bringing forward the required changes in the framework of the law.

“Considered changes that indeed Lord Hamilton called for at the time of the initial judgement last march to enable what seems to be a complex but nonetheless a distinct loophole in the law to be closed.

“And secondly in terms of how the punishment and other parts of the sentence, that no one has been released in any case in Scotland over the last few years unless and until there is a judgement that they are not a danger to the public.”

The First Minister also confirmed that the Parliament will have the opportunity to look at changes to legislation which would prevent this happening in the future.

Mr Hepburn welcomed the reassurance and said:

“I know many people are angered by the court’s decision over Robert Foye’s sentence, however as the First Minister made clear the court’s decision to cut the minimum tariff does not mean he will be released.

“The SNP Government has been considering changes to the law and I hope it will reassure the public that the Justice Secretary is to put forward those plans to Parliament as soon as possible.”