Section 15: Failure of accused to appear
89.This section changes the penalties available in cases where the accused fails to attend court and how that failure is proved.
90.Paragraph (a) amends section 150(8) of the 1995 Act, and increases the penalty for failure to appear at a summary diet, to which an accused person has been given due notice, from 3 months to 12 months. This increase applies only to failure to appear in the sheriff court. There is no change to the penalties available to the district court.
91.Paragraph (b) amends section 150(9) of the 1995 Act and has the effect of compelling the court to impose a penalty for failure to appear. It provides that any penalty for failure to appear shall be in addition to any other penalty imposed at that time even if the total of the two penalties exceeds the maximum sentence for that offence.
92.Paragraph (c) inserts new subsections (9A) to (9C) into section 150. New subsection (9A) provides that any custodial sentence for failure to appear must, if imposed at the same time as another sentence, be served consecutive to the other sentence and, where imposed at a different time, take effect consecutively to the sentence imposed for the original offence. New subsection (9C) provides that, in relation to a charge of failing to appear, unless this is challenged by a preliminary objection, the fact that the accused failed to appear after having been given due notice will be held as admitted.