A total of 1,406 criminals escaped without any form of punishment in the last four years, according to data obtained by the Scottish Conservatives.
The number of offenders granted an ‘absolute discharge’ includes some who committed sexual assault, attempted murder, serious assault and domestic abuse.
The revelations were made in response to a Freedom of Information request by the party.
When an absolute discharge is imposed in more serious (solemn) cases, a conviction is recorded but this does not happen in less serious (summary) cases.
The Scottish Sentencing Council say that absolute discharges are “only given in exceptional circumstances”.
Shadow justice secretary Russell Findlay says that a lack of any punishment will be a “slap in the face” to crime victims.
Scottish Conservatives shadow justice secretary Russell Findlay said: “Victims have been told that absolute discharges are supposed to be exceptional, yet we now discover that they’ve been used hundreds of times each year.
“This revelation is yet another slap in the face of those who fall victim to crime.
“The SNP’s weak justice agenda means that an ever-growing number of criminals are not even
prosecuted and for those who are, there’s often no punishment.
“This is especially perverse when it is applied to heinous crimes such as sexual assault and attempted murder.
“The relentless weakening of Scotland’s justice system damages public confidence and sends out the wrong message to those who inflict pain and misery in our communities.
“The Scottish Conservatives are committed to redressing the balance by ensuring that victims are at the heart of our justice system.”
The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.
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