An offence is a breach of law, a crime.
An offender is someone who has committed a crime. The term offender is only used after a person has been convicted of an offence. Before conviction, someone facing a charge is called the accused.
Most criminal hearings are heard in open court where the public can attend. Some sensitive cases are heard in private, which is known as ‘in camera’.
Order for Lifelong Restriction
An OLR is a lifelong sentence put in place to protect the public. It is a sentence of imprisonment which can be imposed on people convicted at the High Court of a serious violent offence (other than murder), a serious sexual offence, an offence which endangers life, or an offence which indicates a tendency to serious violent, sexual or life-endangering offending. The court must impose an OLR where it appears that, because of the nature or circumstances of the offence, there is a likelihood that the offender will in the future seriously endanger the lives, or physical or psychological well-being, of members of the public, if he or she is not in custody.
The judge must set a ‘punishment part’ of the OLR which is the minimum time the offender must spend in prison before being considered by the Parole Board for Scotland for release into the community. If offenders are considered to be safe to serve the rest of their sentence in the community, they will remain under the intensive supervision of a criminal justice social worker. If the person commits another crime, they can be sent back to prison.