Justice secretary accused of misleading MSPs over unsolved homicides

A freedom of information request by the Scottish Tories showed 181 homicides in the past eight years were unresolved.

Justice secretary accused of misleading MSPs over unsolved homicides PA Ready

Justice secretary Keith Brown has been accused of misleading Holyrood over the number of unsolved homicides in Scotland.

On November 10, Brown told MSPs “every one” of the killings in Scotland had been solved.

It is not clear from his statement to what timeframe the justice secretary was referring, but a freedom of information request by the Scottish Tories shows 181 unsolved homicides since 2013-14.

Homicides in Scotland include murders and culpable homicides, as well as driving offences involving a death, and corporate homicide.

Between that time and November 15, there was no year where all homicides were solved, according to the information released by Police Scotland.

So far this year, according to the figures, 32 homicides are yet to be resolved while 45 which occurred the year before have not been solved.

In answer to a question from Tory MSP Craig Hoy on November 10, the justice secretary said: “We have 40% more police officers per person than there are in England and Wales; we have given the police a pay rise that the police in England and Wales have not received; and we have the lowest recorded crime in living memory and the lowest recorded number of homicides — every one of which was solved.

“That is anything but soft justice.”

Scottish Tory community safety spokesman Russell Findlay called on Brown to apologise for the mistake.

“For the SNP minister in charge of our justice system to falsely state that all these homicides have been solved is not just staggeringly wrong and irresponsible, it disrespects victims and their families,” he said.

“His words will cause understandable hurt and anguish to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one and who have not had justice.”

Findlay added: “Perhaps the SNP deputy leader is too busy obsessing about breaking up the UK instead of focusing on his day job, or maybe he just parroted duff information fed to him by advisers, but he must now do the right thing and say sorry.

“Whether this is an embarrassing gaffe or a shoddy attempt to dupe the public, I am sure that he will want to set the record straight.

“Every single day, crime victims across Scotland suffer the indignity and indifference of an SNP soft-touch justice system that panders to criminals.”