Section 44: Particular statutory offences
250.This section increases the maximum prison sentence for certain statutory offences. These offences attract a maximum sentence in excess of the present common law maximum, but below the proposed new common law maximum of 12 months. They are triable summarily only, so the penalties would not be altered by the provisions of section 45 of this Act. Subsection (1) increases the maximum prison sentence for offences under section 41 of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967 from 9 to 12 months, and amends that Act accordingly. That section covers assaulting or otherwise impeding police officers in the course of their duty.
251.Subsection (2) extends existing powers to impose maximum custodial sentences of 6 months on summary conviction for offences related to the transposition of Council Directive 92/43/EC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (“the Habitats Directive”). Section 26A of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (“the 1981 Act”) currently provides that regulations made under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act, which give effect to the Habitats Directive, may provide for a maximum prison sentence on summary conviction of 6 months. Such regulations would otherwise only be able to impose a maximum sentence of 3 months.
252.However, the power under section 26A of the 1981 Act refers only to the Directive as it was then amended by the Act of Accession to the European Union of Austria, Finland and Sweden and by Council Directive 97/62. That reference to the Directive does not take account of a subsequent amendment to the Habitats Directive (by the Act of Accession of the Czech Republic etc in 2003). The effect of this is that section 26A of the 1981 Act does not enable the imposition of maximum 6 month custodial sentences in relation to offences related to that later amendment of the Habitats Directive. Subsection (2) ensures that the 6 month maximum can apply in respect of all offences related to the Habitats Directive and that, in the event of any future amendment of the Directive, section 26A of the 1981 Act will continue to apply to the Directive as amended.
253.Subsection (3) increases the maximum sentence under section 37 of the Antisocial Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 to 12 months or a fine not exceeding the prescribed sum or both and abolishes the distinction in the maximum penalty between a first offence and a second or subsequent offence. Section 37 contains offences relating to premises which are subject to a closure order.
254.Subsection (4) increases the maximum sentence under the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Act 2005, section 6, from 9 to 12 months or a fine not exceeding the prescribed sum or both. That section covers the offences created by that Act of assaulting or impeding emergency or health workers in the course of their duty.
255.Subsection (5) increases the maximum prison sentence under section 39 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 from 9 to 12 months or a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale or both. That section covers assaulting or impeding those performing certain functions under that Act.