Prisoner who attacked wardens and nurses avoids court date for being 'high security risk'

Oli Gamp
Prison

A "volitile" Scottish inmate has had assault charges against him dropped by the Crown Office because he would pose a "high security risk" in court, leaving the Prison Officers Association Scotland (POAS) seething at the decision.

Andrew Burns, who is serving an Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR), keeping him in prison indefinitely for many violent offences, allegedly hit a nurse with a chair and attacked a warden.

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Andy Hogg, assistant general secretary of the POAS, a union that represents prison staff, thinks the ruling sets a bad example in dealing with violent criminals and could encourage similar behaviour from prisoners in the future.

"We have members who were injured through this guy's violence.

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"The Crown Office decided that given his violent background, it was not in the public interest to take him to the court.

"Surely it cannot be in the public interest not to prosecute. It's definitely not in the interest of our members. It seems they're saying the more violent you become, the less likely it is you will be taken to court."

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Burns was recently transferred to Edinburgh Saughton Prison following a 16-month sentence at a young offenders institution for assault in Cheshire, having previously served 14 months for stalking a 13-year-old girl.

His OLR restriction means he will only be released when he ceases to be an "unmanageable risk to public safety".

The Sunday Mail got hold of a Crown Office report, which suggested that charges against the 25-year-old be dropped.

"The accused is an extremely volatile and dangerous man," it said.

"He is routinely violent and will find any way he can of being disruptive and harming those around him. He has also attempted to escape on previous occasions.

"I have reached the conclusion that the public interest is not best served by proceeding with these trials. The potential for harm is too grave."

HMP Glenochil

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