Together briefing for Stage 1 debate of Criminal Justice Bill

Date: 27th February 2014

Together produced a briefing in advance of the Stage 1 debate of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill which took place on Thursday 27th February 2014.

The briefing specifically focused on the Justice Committee's Stage 1 report of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill and reflected on Together's written submission to the Stage 1 call for evidence. It provided a response to the conclusions reached in the report specifically relating to children's rights ahead of the Stage 1 debate.

Together remained strong in its previous assertion that the Bill provides the appropriate vehicle through which to raise the age of criminal responsibility, and provide children with equal protection from assault. Together showed disappointment that the Committee did not commit to raise the age of criminal responsibility within this Bill and has not considered the issue of equal protection from assault in its Stage 1 report.

The Committee's conclusions helped to highlight that the Bill does not fully succeed in its ambition to enhance safeguards and protect the rights of children and young people.

The general principles of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill were passed at Stage 1 and Stage 2 amendments may now be lodged with the clerks in the Legislation Team.

Together welcomes the comment by Alison McInnes MSP during the Stage 1 debate that the Scottish Government has 'missed an opportunity to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 8 to 12' in Scotland. In line with Together's recommendation, Alison furthered the above comment by stating hope that the Parliament can return to this issue at Stage 2.

Despite Alison's welcome comment, Together is disappointed that the key points raised and recommendations made within its briefing were not considered during the Stage 1 debate. Together will continue to raise the key points and recommendations made in its briefing during the Bill's forthcoming scrutiny.