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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 April 2006, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Tag blunder due to 'human error'
Electronic tagging - Generic
The tag worn by Evans failed to trigger a curfew alarm
A tagging blunder that enabled a teenager to leave his home and murder a man has been blamed on human error.

Callum Evans, 18, did not trigger an alarm when he left his flat in Cardonald, Glasgow, in October 2005.

Evans and his friend Peter Clark, 18, face life sentences for killing John Hatfield, 23, with an axe and knife.

The Scottish Executive admitted the electronic tag was wrongly set to go off at "medium" range, allowing Evans to leave the flat undetected.

A spokesman said it was a vicious attack by a young man who should have been under stricter control.

"We fully understand the anger of the victim's family and friends," he said.

"Electronic monitoring would not have prevented him from carrying out the attack if he was determined to do so.

"It was not a failure in the equipment but a failure by the member of staff who installed the electronic monitoring equipment."

A cost-saving measure by the executive has been caught out
Kenny MacAskill
SNP justice spokesman

Evans had been ordered not to leave his flat between 1900 BST and 0700 BST after being convicted of assault and robbery.

However, the alarm was not triggered when he left his flat in Tarfside Oval at 0445 BST on 15 October.

Outside the flats, he and Clark killed Mr Hatfield with an axe and knife.

At the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday, Evans was convicted of murder and Clark admitted murder and will be sentenced next month.

The case provoked a political row.

At First Minister's Questions on Thursday, Jack McConnell was challenged by Tory leader Annabel Goldie over the use of non-custodial sentences.

He congratulated the police and courts for capturing the killers so quickly and said those responsible for tagging must ensure staff are properly trained.

'Criminals gloat'

However, Miss Goldie said new figures showed that of 1,338 people convicted last year of crimes in the category of serious assault and attempted murder, 24 were tagged, 213 were given a community service order and 169 were fined.

"No wonder public confidence in the criminal justice system is in pieces, because while the criminals gloat the public is aghast," she said.

Scottish National Party justice spokesman Kenny MacAskill said: "The tragedy of Scotland is that too many serious offenders who should be remanded or be in prison are not.

"A cost-saving measure by the executive has been caught out."

After the case Reliance, the tagging company at the time, was required to review its monitoring equipment and ensure staff are trained and issued with additional guidance.

In April this year another company, Serco, took over the tagging services.

Reliance loses tagging contract
21 Oct 05 |  Scotland

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