Jamie Greene MSP has backed a new campaign to help protect victims of crime and their families. The campaign calls for new legislation, dubbed ‘Michelle’s Law’ in reference to Michelle Stewart, who was murdered in Ayrshire in 2009.
Michelle’s Law strengthen the rights of victims of crime and their families has today been launched by the family of Michelle Stewart and supported by the Scottish Conservatives.
John Wilson brutally murdered Michelle in Drongan, Ayrshire and was given a sentence of 12 years in April 2009. Michelle was only 17 at the time.
The campaign for Michelle’s Law has been launched by her family, after they were informed by letter – nine years on – that Wilson had been approved for First Grant of Temporary Release, which would allow him unescorted access to the community.
Like many victims and their families, the Stewarts have found they have had little input into the release process and have been unable to restrict his relocation zone to exclude their local area, a considerable cause of anguish to the family.
As a result, they have set up a petition calling for a halt to Wilson’s relocation to Ayr on his release, which currently has 4,500 signatures.
The Campaign for Michelle’s Law therefore calls on the Scottish Government to:
- Explicitly require the safety and welfare of victims and their families to be taken into account when parole and early release are considered
- Increase use of powers to impose ‘exclusion zones’ on offenders, to offer increased protection to victims and their families
- Toughen up the Victim Notification Scheme (VNS) so victims and their families are given reasons for an offender’s release, and can make representations in person
Jamie and the Scottish Conservatives are also repeating their call for the new Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, to order a full review of sentencing, parole and home release policy which would include the consideration of longer jail terms for murderers.
Jamie Greene MSP commented:
“The tragedy of Michelle’s death has only been compounded by the lack of consideration given to them by the system.
“I am so truly sorry that the Stewarts have had to endure this ordeal, but hopefully we can learn from their experiences and reform parole and early release so that victims and their families are given a proper voice throughout this process.
“Michelle’s Law will ensure that victims have more opportunities to input meaningfully into the parole process and that their concerns will carry greater weight.
“Our justice system must always put victims at its heart, treat families with care and dignity and make sure that the needs of the victim and their families are always considered first, not the perpetrator.”