A LOTHIANS MSP has urged the First Minister to meet with the family of tragic Shaun Woodburn and hear their concerns over “failings” in the justice system.
In a letter penned to Nicola Sturgeon on Thursday, Tory Miles Briggs said there was “public concern and anger” at the “lenient” four-year sentence given to the 17-year-old schoolboy charged with causing the death of Woodburn in a New Year attack.
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of culpable homicide earlier this month, but the four-year sentence handed down by the judge has provoked a furious backlash as more than 60,000 people signed a petition calling for the Crown Office to appeal the decision.
Mr Briggs had initially intended to raise the issue at first minister’s questions but is now calling on Mrs Sturgeon to sit down with the family after meeting with Woodburn’s grandparents at Holyrood this week.
Mr Briggs said: “I am anxious that Scottish Ministers are made fully aware of the level of public concern and anger at the lenient sentence given to the individual who was found guilty of the culpable homicide of my constituent Shaun Woodburn, an incident which has devastated Shaun’s family and friends.”
“Both myself and Ben MacPherson MSP have supported the petition to the Lord Advocate for the Crown Office to appeal the sentencing in this case.”
He continued: “More broadly, I think the Scottish Government should also be prepared to conduct a more general review of sentencing policy guidelines in light of this case.”
“I have now written directly to the First Minister asking her if she will agree to meet with Shaun’s family to listen to their concerns at how the justice system has failed them and failed to deliver justice for Shaun.”
Mr Woodburn’s mother, Denise Syme revealed she would be “delighted” to meet with Mrs Sturgeon, adding: “I would of course want to tell her about Shaun and how let down we feel at the short sentence.”
“I would also ask her about juvenile sentencing in general. We need to teach our youngsters in society that violence is wrong and deter them with sentences that fit the crime.”