South Scotland

Murderer in Dumfries prison makes court bid to vote

George McGeoch
Image caption George McGeoch wants a review of the UK government's opposition to votes for convicts

A convicted murderer has gone to court in a bid to win his right to vote in the Holyrood election on 5 May.

George McGeoch, 39, wants a review of UK government opposition to votes for convicts and is challenging the policy.

The government has launched a legal bid to overturn a European Court of Human Rights ruling that the UK's blanket ban on prisoners voting is unlawful.

McGeoch is serving a life sentence in Dumfries prison for the murder of Eric Innes in Inverness in 1998.

He killed Mr Innes in his own home by slashing his throat.

He received a minimum term of 13 years but due to subsequent convictions will not be considered for parole until 2015.

In February 2008 McGeoch, who is from Glasgow, left two Reliance staff locked in their own vehicle after staging a break-out during a hospital visit in Perth.

He was jailed in 2009 for an extra seven-and-a-half years for the violent attack during which he used a makeshift knife.

McGeoch was also handed an eight-year prison term in 2002 for holding two nurses hostage in his prison cell.

Represented by Aidan O'Neill QC, McGeoch is challenging the electoral registration officer for Dumfries and Galloway's decision not to include him on the electoral roll.

If the election goes ahead and he is not able to take part, but it is later found that he should have, he is seeking £2,500 in damages.

Judge Lord Tyre is expected to adjourn the hearing at the Court of Session until 7 April to allow the UK government time to prepare its case.

Lord Tyre is expected to make a decision on the 8 April.

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