WHAT Lucy Letby did was terrible and there can never be justification for any of it ("Baby killer Letby set to spend rest of life in jail for ‘evil crimes’", The Herald, August 22). I do not try to lessen or dilute her guilt, but I do feel there are important things which need and deserve to be said.

There have been remarks made on TV tonight (August 22) about capital punishment and no doubt some will now clamour (again) for a restoration. And some may attempt to argue that Lucy Letby should be executed.

However, I believe the Capital Punishment Act 1957 introduced the legal requirement that to be considered a "Capital Offence" any murder had to have been "in furtherance" of something. Examples are "in furtherance of theft", "in furtherance of an escape" and I dare say there are many others. This requirement persisted until capital punishment was finally abandoned.

So, with the actual law in mind, it is difficult to see how any of Lucy Letby's killings - egregious though they are - could be considered a capital offence. Thus, the law itself would, in her case, have prevented capital punishment, however much one may insist she deserves it.

I remain immovably opposed to any attempt to restore the death penalty (at least in peacetime) and I do feel it necessary to make this attempt to pre-empt the almost inevitable attempts by pro-restoration others to hijack the Letby case for their purposes.

Neil A Thomson, Edinburgh.

• IT is repugnant, and to many, disrespectful of the judicial process, that a person convicted of the most serious of crimes can elect not to appear in the courtroom to hear the trial judge's concluding statement and the passing of sentence. Equally distasteful, by so doing, the perpetrator can escape facing the victim's relatives in the courtroom and hearing directly what impact his or her actions have had on them and their family society.

Although there may be an argument against "dragging" a convicted person into the dock - safety issues, providing a stage for the perpetrator, diverting attention away from the victim - courtroom dramas on TV and film seem to suggest that other equally enlightened jurisdictions are less worried about a perpetrator's wishes and, when considered necessary to peaceably conclude proceedings in the courtroom, sanction the use of handcuffs, leg restraints and even gags.

Might a more civilised approach be more acceptable, whilst ensuring the perpetrator is still made fully aware of the repugnance and deep distress created by his or her actions? For example, might the perpetrator be required to listen to the judge's address and sentence plus any victim statements prior to transfer to prison? This need not be an elaborate or expensive process. A tape recording, a tape player and a loud loudspeaker, all well out of reach of the prisoner in the holding cell. Once at prison, the recording could be replayed a few times to remind the prisoner why he or she is there and the depths and effects of the crime committed.

JW Napier, Alva.

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The pressures on our pharmacies

I HAVE every sympathy with GP colleagues regarding the pressures they are under ("GPs caring for patients ‘above the safe level’ according to new survey", The Herald, August 21); however perhaps we should be sparing a thought for the community pharmacy network.

Most surgeries have a message on their telephone system directing the patient to the Pharmacy First service. I believe there have been five million consultations in Scottish pharmacies last year. We do not have receptionists who gallantly signpost patients to the most appropriate professional. As well as dealing with every query that lands in our pharmacies we are checking hundreds of prescriptions each day and currently experiencing probably the worst shortage medicine procurement that I have encountered and that all takes extra time.

Many pharmacies deal with addiction, EHC (emergency hormonal contraception), smoking cessation and like myself as an independent prescriber attract many more complex queries that require more time for history-taking and examination.

Right now it feels like Covid all over again where we were largely ignored by the media. Maybe there should be an article on pressures in community pharmacy?

Elizabeth Roddick, New Life Pharmacy, Glasgow.

Venue right to cancel Linehan

YOU report today that Kate Forbes has defended Graham Linehan causing offence ("Forbes in swipe at Yousaf over leadership on indy", The Herald, August 22). The issue with Graham Linehan is not that he tells off-colour jokes as part of his comedy act; it is his public abuse of those he disagrees with.

I assume that Ms Forbes is unaware of his behaviour towards those of us who stand up for fairness and dignity for trans people, for example his public pronouncement that "almost every central trans figure is a nonce". That was not part of his comedy act, it was not intended as a joke, and of course it is not a joke. It is crude and dangerous abuse. Ms Forbes should not defend it.

Well done to Leith Arches for standing up for its LGBTQ customers and their friends, and saying no to the abuse.

Tim Hopkins, Director, Equality Network, Edinburgh.

The kindness of strangers

ON a visit to a Glasgow friend, I woke at 4am the other day to find my wife, who has Alzheimer's, gone from the house in bare feet and pyjamas. While I ran around Kelvinside, my friend rang the police. In the 15 minutes it took me to get back to the foot of our street, there were at least half a dozen Maryhill police vans cruising the area - and the police dog was on the way, “So can you please go back to the house ‘cos you’ll only confuse it by walking around?”

A nice Glaswegian called her in from a mile away and she was delivered home in a police car: “We didn’t want to put her in the back of the van.”

Bloody police, eh? They could’ve all been out catching criminals.

Frank Walker, Newbury.

How to get potholes mended

I NOTE that the AA has reported a record number of pothole-related breakdowns ("Pothole breakdowns hit five-year high as wet July hinders repair work", The Herald, August 21). All you require to fix these is a UCI Cycling event. Miraculously, the roads in our area have been made billiard-table smooth (in parts) specifically for the cycling event. We should therefore have more of these events spread all over the country.

Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.