READING your article on the legal outcome of the assault that Victoria McNulty sustained (“Battered in her own home then betrayed by the justice system”, February 4) simply confirmed my longstanding opinion that the Scottish criminal justice system is biased in favour of the transgressor and the misguided hope of “redemption” for proven criminals.

In this case we have an assailant who felt it acceptable first to threaten and abuse his victim, brag to her of previous criminal activity, then he enters her house secretly against her stated wishes and assaults her viciously including kicking her on the head at least twice. I spent years dealing with facial fractures and in my humble opinion it is impossible to kick someone on the head or stomp on their head without the intent to seriously injure or perhaps to kill them; one blow may be accidental, more than that is deliberate intention.

In this case the charge could have been one of attempted murder and the sentences should have been consecutive and not to run concurrently. The principle that an offender when simultaneously convicted of multiple offences in effect only serves time in jail for the worst of them and even at that will be eligible for parole before that is complete is simply nonsensical. One assumes this policy is based on giving evildoers a second chance when in reality in Scotland almost 30% those convicted re-offend within a year and two-thirds of them will have previous convictions.

The latest news is that due to insufficient space in our prisons that the early-release policy will need to be speeded up to create space for the newly convicted. I would contend that we, the law-abiding majority, should expect the judiciary and law-enforcement to protect us from individuals who have no regard for the law, moral codes or civilised standards of behaviour. Maybe if repeat offenders and those released early on parole were housed in hostels next door to where the judges, chief constables and MSPs live the policy might be reviewed.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

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Matheson should have gone sooner

AT last Health Secretary Michael Matheson has resigned from his post.   This outcome was inevitable given the public's anger and disbelief at him charging the taxpayer for costs in relation to the private use of his iPad. Had he gone sooner he might have managed to retain a shred of dignity, but in common with many miscreants in public posts he seemed determined to hold on to the bitter end.  His time as Health Secretary, as with Justice and Transport, has been uninspiring with record treatment waiting times occurring.  However, the whole sorry saga has done nothing to raise the image of our elected representatives in the eyes of the public and the support he received from Humza Yousaf did the latter's public profile no favours.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.

The Herald: Michael MathesonMichael Matheson (Image: PA)

Pricing move leaves bitter taste

IT would seem that the Scottish Government is still not aware that there is a cost of living crisis. Not content with a minimum price on alcohol which (with the exception of Wales), is already higher than anywhere else in the UK, is now proposing to increase that minimum price by 30% from 50p to 65p.  Apparently, this is in order to save us from ourselves: those of us who like a tipple are tippling too much and the nanny state has decided enough is enough. 

Soon it will only be MSPs and those on similar salaries who will be able to drown their sorrows when the mood takes, which in my own case, is happening more often the longer this SNP Government remains in power.

Alexander Irving, Glasgow.

Cruel irony on broadcasting

THE decision by management of the City of Glasgow College to close HNC/HND Radio and Podcasting studies (" College withdraws the only course of its kind", February 4) is unfortunately the correct one. Colleges cannot be expected to run unprofitable or loss-making courses.

But what a cruel irony that this happened in the very same week that we were told how, in an independent Scotland, a new public broadcaster would expand on the current radio offerings. Well, not with these young people it won't.

If Angus Robertson had concentrated on the here and now, instead of wasting money on his unrealisable fantasies, this handful of students might have been able to get to the end of their studies and a lecturer's job prospects might have been secured.

Money wasted: jobs lost; dreams shattered. What a legacy.

Graeme Arnott, Stewarton.

The question about Leitch

TOM Gordon’s article (“Jason Leitch encouraged ‘prayer healing’ for the sick as Covid struck", January 28) has provoked several antagonistic replies from letter writers (February 4). Those of us who choose to live free from faith are totally relaxed about that response.

In Scotland freedom to believe in a deity, or not, is a matter of choice. The question raised by Jason Leitch’s appearance at a prayer meeting is not that he encouraged fellow Christians to pray, but to ask for convincing evidence that this would make any difference to the impact of an infectious disease.

Bob Scott, Drymen.

Tax energy excess profits

YOU report an absurd response from the UK Government Department for Energy Security & Net Zero which clearly shows the inability of the wealthy to understand the problems of the poor in our society ("Scots debt mountain doubles in three years", February 4). Cutting National Insurance and a tax cut of £450 are no use to someone on benefits.

The reference to the Warm Home Discount is great if you live in England and Wales where the reduced number who qualify because of tighter eligibility criteria were allocated it automatically, but in Scotland because of our systems it has to be applied for.

Some people in Scotland believed that the automatic qualification applied to them too and may have lost out because they did not apply.

This year applications for ScottishPower in Scotland were open for a very limited time whereas in previous years they were open for a very much longer period.

Is that because the available funds remaining were seriously depleted by the automatic payment south of the Border or did they actually allocate the funds to Scotland on a proportional basis to the number of customers?

This question also applies to Utilita, which previously allocated its very limited funds on an Ofgem-approved random selection process (basically the names were pulled out of a hat). Did that random basis apply on a proportional basis to its Scottish customers or to what funds were left?

Ofgem reducing the price cap does not solve the problem of fuel debt as most people in debt cannot afford to spend that much on energy anyway and already self-ration to reduce costs as much as possible.

A customer using both gas and electricity pays about £6 per week or £320 per year on standing charges alone before they use anything. A lot of people in fuel poverty will not use gas and let the standing charges build up and use only expensive electricity to provide what little heat they need to survive.

How much of this fuel debt is related to standing charges and how many more people in fuel poverty would at least be able to use gas to heat their homes during the coldest weather if there were no standing charges for prepayment gas customers?

At present up to 90% of any top-up to prepayment meters is used to pay off the debt built up from standing charges. If there were no standing charges there would be no debt for prepayment customers.

The absurd thing about the £2.91bn total fuel debt is that the wholesale companies are allowed to make obscene excess profits, one of which increased its profits by £17.54bn the year after the invasion of Ukraine and by £6.15bn last year.

This is only one of the wholesale energy companies and they alone made over £23bn excess unearned profit charging us for energy from the North Sea at world trade prices.

Why can’t the UK Government extract these unearned profits to write off the debt and remove standing charges from prepayment tariffs at least? Problem solved.

Iain McIntyre, Sauchie.

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Murray's legacy will live on

THE recent “spat” in the sporting press regarding Sir Andy Murray’s continuing raging against the dying of the light reminds me of the decline of another of my sporting heroes; the great Severiano Ballesteros Like Sir Andy, Seve thought differently than most of the rest of us and as Susan Egelstaff said in her column (referencing Sir Andy) ("And another thing", February 4) it is this mentality that makes the greatest sporting achievers what they are.

At the end of Seve’s playing days he was clearly a shadow of his former self but it was somehow magnificent watching him trying to find a way to win. Even his defeat by Tom Lehman in the 1995 Ryder Cup had a certain dignity which was a testament to his willpower and of course his unique Spanish bravado. Rewatching that final match in 1995 can almost bring tears to my eyes There is no doubt however that Seve’s legacy is intact.

We remember the major victories, the scarcely believable recovery shots, the magnetic charisma, and of course, the iconic fist pump on the 18th green at St Andrews in 1984 Sir Andy is clearly in the autumn years of his career, but he still draws you to watch.

As Susan Egelstaff points out he is possibly Scotland’s and even the UK’s greatest-ever sportsman. His legacy will survive and as the years pass, he will gain true recognition of just how good he was.

In the meantime: never give up.

Keith Swinley, Ayr.