If you're convicted of theft by a Scottish Court, all you need to do is move over the border and any compensation or probation breach becomes invalid. It's a legal shambles brought to light by the following case.
Glyn Jones pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to stealing £16,000 from his former partner Katherine Robertson. He was given a compensation order demanding he pay Ms Robertson £10,000 at £200 a month. The remainder of the stolen money was refunded by Ms Robertson's bank, the Halifax, who had allowed Jones to access the account.
Jones moved to England and at first complied with the order but last September his payments stopped. Still owed £8,000 Ms Robertson immediately told the court in Glasgow. They told her because Jones now lives down south, it was up to the English court system to deal with any probation or compensation order breach. But the courts in England insisted responsibility lay squarely with the Scottish legal system.
The legal argument went on and when Jones' probation finished in January the authorities on both sides of the border said there was nothing they could do about his failure to comply.
Last week the Sunday Post contacted authorities in both Scotland and England but neither were able to tell them exactly what should happen in cases like this. The Scottish Court Service also admitted they had no idea how many other convicted criminals had escaped punishment in this way.
This beggars belief and makes a mockery of the Scottish legal system. Ms Robertson's MSP has written to Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. In his reply he described the case as complex and distressing and added, "In terms of the potential wider legal issues raised in respect of the transfer of orders from Scotland to England and Wales, my officials will be looking at this in detail."
It doesn't sound a complex case to me. Jones pled guilty and should be forced, by law, to repay the money regardless of his country of residence.
Another legal issue which required urgent attention and should concern every person living in Scotland.