Glasgow & West Scotland

First man in Scotland convicted under new domestic abuse law

domestic abuse Image copyright Getty Images

A man from Glasgow has become the first person to be convicted under a new Scottish domestic abuse law.

William James Murdoch admitted offences included making a series of abusive phone calls to his ex-wife and breach of the peace.

He pled guilty to offences under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act and was sentenced on Wednesday.

The act, passed by Holyrood in January last year, came into effect across the country last month.

The "groundbreaking legislation" criminalises psychological domestic abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour, in addition to covering physical abuse.

Murdoch, 43, was sentenced at Glasgow Sheriff Court to a community payback order with 14 months' supervision and 200 hours of unpaid work.

Image caption Murdoch pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court

He was also made the subject of a two-year non-harassment order.

Det Supt Gordon McCreadie, Police Scotland's national lead for domestic abuse, said the conviction was a "positive start" towards tackling domestic abuse.

He said: "Those coercive and controlling behaviours, that for so long were the hidden aspects of abuse, are now being brought into the open. With the new law we can now investigate and report the full circumstances of an abusive relationship to Crown, as happened in this case.

"This conviction is a positive start and a clear signal that domestic abuse in any form will not be tolerated. There is only one person responsible for domestic abuse and that is the perpetrator who should be held to account for their abusive behaviour.

"A number of other cases are progressing through the system and we will continue to monitor the new offence to ensure an effective response."

'Rigorous approach'

Anne Marie Hicks, the national procurator fiscal for domestic abuse, said Murdoch's conviction represented "a highly significant step forward in tackling domestic abuse".

She added: "The Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) take a rigorous approach to crimes of domestic abuse and we are committed to prosecuting these crimes effectively and appropriately, using all of the tools at our disposal.

"I hope the prosecution and conviction in this case will provide reassurance to victims and that they will have greater confidence to report all forms of abusive behaviour."