Scotland: Pilot Alcohol Court to be established
A pilot court project dedicated to dealing with people convicted on summary complaint where alcohol has significantly contributed to their offending is being established at Glasgow Sheriff Court, our sister publication Scottish Legal News reports.
The Alcohol Court, which is to be presided over by Sheriff Iain Fleming, is the latest “problem-solving court” to be launched in Scotland and follows the creation of the Drug Court at Glasgow, which has been in operation since 2001.
An Alcohol Problem Court has been in operation as a pilot project at Edinburgh Sheriff Court since 2016, while problem-solving courts have also been set up in Aberdeen and Forfar.
At the outset, the Glasgow pilot will apply to accused appearing in the sheriff summary courts who plead guilty to, or are convicted of, charges involving violence or dishonesty; public order offences; or drink driving offences in circumstances in which it appears or is accepted that alcohol abuse has significantly contributed to the offending.
The pilot is directed towards those who face charges which do not contain a domestic element.
The offender must be resident in Glasgow and the target age is those aged under 35 who have two or more previous convictions for offences involving violence or dishonesty; public order offences; or drink driving, but the scope of the target group will remain the subject of review.
If the presiding sheriff at the time of plea or conviction forms the view that an offender falling within those parameters may benefit from the problem solving approach the court will adopt, the sheriff will request an Alcohol Court Assessment Report and defer sentence to the next suitable alcohol court.
The aim of the pilot court is to deliver sentences which are tailored to influence an individual’s behaviour and hold them accountable, with progress rigorously monitored by the same sheriff.
The pilot scheme is supported by Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership.