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Crown Office reviewing stalking laws after "mental health" case

22 October 2014

Crown Office is to carry out a review of the anti-stalking law in Scotland, in the wake of a case where a sheriff failed to make an order against a man found to have carried out acts of harassment because of his mental state.

Sheriff Ray Small at Hamilton Sheriff Court had found Graeme McNaught unfit to stand trial on charges of threatening and abusive behaviour towards his former lover, the novelist Janice Galloway. After an examination of facts the sheriff found that he had committed the acts libelled, but because there was no conviction he was unable to make a non-harassment order against Mr McNaught.

Medical reports before the court said there was no need for a supervision and treatment order, and the sheriff said that as there was an "understanding" that Mr McNaught would keep in contact on a voluntary basis with a mental health group, the group would be able to take action if it noticed a change in his behaviour.

After the case Mr McNaught denied that he had mental health problems.

Anti-stalking campaigner Ann Moulds described the case as a "miscarriage of justice", arguing that many stalkers would get off if underlying mental health was a defence.

Crown Office said it would review the issues that had arisen in what had been a complex case, "including consideration as to whether there are legislative gaps in this area".

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