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Murder rate at its lowest for 37 years

Statistics released this week reveal that the number of murders in Scotland is at its lowest since records began in 1976.

Figures from the report, ‘Homicide in Scotland 2012-2013’, show that the number of murder victims for that period was 62, representing a decrease of 32% on the previous year’s figures. In the case of 61 of the victims, the police have identified the accused.

Around half of the victims were killed by someone they knew, while 43% of the accused seem to have been under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both, says the report.

“The main method of killing remains the same – using sharp instruments including knives. The numbers have decreased for the second year running, dropping by more than half since 2006/07 and are now at their lowest level,” said Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

In very general terms, a person commits murder when they deliberately take another person’s life or death results from an act that demonstrates no regard as to whether their actions will result in death or not. 

Defences are available to a charge of murder. These include self defence and the defence of insanity at the time the offence was committed – which reduces the offence to one of culpable homicide. 

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