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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2005, 18:19 GMT 19:19 UK
Airgun case prompts system anger
Mark Bonini
Mark Bonini was found guilty of the murder of Andrew Morton
A call has been issued for a clampdown on drug addicts serving non-custodial sentences.

It came after it emerged that the killer of toddler Andrew Morton, Mark Bonini, was serving a non-custodial sentence when he shot the youngster.

Although he had breached the terms of a Drug Treatment Order, which could have resulted in his imprisonment, a sheriff had allowed him to stay at large.

Tory MSP Bill Aitken wants the Scottish Executive to tighten up the system.

He described the situation as "ludicrous".

Bonini, 27, is facing a life sentence after being found guilty of murdering Andrew near his Glasgow home on 2 March this year.

The toddler was hit on the head by an airgun pellet as he watched fire engines with his older brother.

There was no evidence in the reports available to Glasgow City Council to indicate that Mark Bonini was violent or used firearms
Council spokeswoman

Bonini was put on a Drug Treatment and Testing Order (DTTO) in May last year after he was caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

But he breached the terms of the order, causing social workers to call for it to be revoked - a move which could have seen him put behind bars.

Glasgow City Council defended its position in a statement on Thursday and said it believed it had done "everything it was expected to do" in relation to Mark Bonini.

A council spokesman said: "He was rigorously monitored in accordance with the terms of his Drug Treatment and Testing Order, handed to him by the courts.

'Terms of the order'

"However, the treatment and testing programme was severely compromised due to an extended spell in custody during 2004.

"Following his release it became clear that he was failing to comply with the terms of the order.

"On 23 November his supervising social worker recommended that the order be revoked but this did not happen."

He said Bonini's behaviour had improved, but only temporarily.

"During a case review in January it became apparent he was returning to his old habits and the social work department were going to recommend that the DTTO be revoked.

"Andrew Morton was shot on 2 March. The first opportunity that we had to raise our concerns and recommend the order be revoked was on March 3 - the day after.

Andrew Morton
Andrew Morton died after being shot near his home

"We weren't in a position to recommend it again before Andrew was shot."

He added: "There was no evidence in the reports available to Glasgow City Council to indicate that Mark Bonini was violent or used firearms."

The Scottish Executive insisted that DTTOs were not a "soft option".

"DTTOs are a robust community option available to the judiciary to deal with offenders with drug-related problems," a spokesman said.

"Independent evaluation has shown the option to be effective in tackling addiction and related offending in a number, but clearly not all, cases."

He added: "The option is always there for a sheriff who is not satisfied with progress to revoke the order and send an individual to jail.

"However, the decision on whether or not to do so rests solely with the independent member of the judiciary concerned."

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04 Aug 05 |  Scotland
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