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Last Updated: Monday, 6 November 2006, 16:56 GMT
Bail row after rape suspect flees
Vasilica Potolinca
Vasilica Potolinca has not been seen since September
A political row has broken out after a Romanian skipped bail on a rape charge.

Vasilica Potolinca, 22, has not been seen since 14 September when he was released on bail from HMP Barlinnie.

The 22-year-old, who has been living in Scotland illegally for about five months, had been on remand at the Glasgow prison since 31 August.

It is thought Mr Potolinca, who had been living in Stirling, may be in the London area - although he also has connections across Scotland.

A spokesman for Central Scotland Police said Mr Potolinca has family connections in the Wembley area .

Our officers are obviously extremely keen to speak to anyone who knows where Mr Potolinca is or if they have seen him over recent weeks
Det Insp Brian Johnston
Central Scotland Police

Mr Potolinca has been working as a labourer on construction sites in Stirling.

He also worked in Linlithgow, Elgin and Edinburgh and may have connections in the Glasgow area.

Mr Potolinca was released from Barlinnie Prison after being bailed at the High Court in Edinburgh on 14 September.

He had been on remand since 31 August after appearing at Stirling Sheriff Court.

Det Insp Brian Johnston, of Stirling CID, said: "Extensive investigations are being carried out to trace Mr Potolinca's movements and whereabouts.

"Our officers are obviously extremely keen to speak to anyone who knows where Mr Potolinca is or if they have seen him over recent weeks.

"I would urge them to make sure they contact us immediately. They can be reassured that any information provided will be dealt with in the strictest confidence."

Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie said: "Once again, the public will be astonished that an illegal immigrant, facing serious criminal charges, is able to get bail.

"Changes in the bail laws driven by compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights mean that a presumption against bail where the accused was charged with a serious offence has been replaced by a presumption in favour.

"You do not have to prove you deserve bail anymore, it is virtually gift-wrapped to anyone. Quite simply, that should not be the case."

Anyone with information should contact police on 01786 456370 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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