Learn about the Chairman, Board Members and Appointed Legal Members


John Watt

John was appointed as the Chairman of the Parole Board from 1 January 2013, and reappointed in January 2020 until December 2025.

John is a qualified solicitor and has spent his 35 year working life in the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. In this role he has developed a comprehensive understanding of the Criminal Justice System in Scotland, demonstrating impartiality, strong analytical skills and sound judgement. He has extensive experience of managing a large caseload and making decisions in serious and high-profile cases. As a senior member of COPFS, and particularly as an Area Procurator Fiscal in Grampian and later in Argyll and Clyde, John developed leadership, management and communication skills. He also has experience of joint working with criminal justice partners such as the courts, police and social work departments.

Board Members

Appointments – General Members

Karen Alexander

Karen Alexander is a qualified social worker and has worked in the public sector throughout her career. As a practitioner and manager she has gained knowledge and experience of a wide range of services. Since 2002, Karen has managed a mental health team. As a practicing mental health officer and manager of this service Karen has significant experience in risk assessment and risk management.

Margaret Anderson

Margaret Anderson has recently retired from her post as Director of Social Work Services in Falkirk Council and Chair of the Falkirk Child Protection Committee and is a registered social worker. Over the course of her social work career Margaret acquired experience at a practitioner and managerial level of all aspects of Social Work Services, including the delivery of Social Work Services to the Criminal Justice System. She was also extensively involved in Criminal Justice policy developments as part of Social Work Scotland’s Executive Committee and Convenor of the Criminal Justice Standing Committee. She brings a strong working knowledge and experience of the Scottish Criminal Justice system, of public services and of risk assessment and risk management. Margaret was appointed to the Board in August 2015, and reappointed in August 2021 until August 2026.

Andrew Bates

Andrew Bates completed over 32 years’ service with the police before retiring from Police Scotland as Divisional Commander of Greater Glasgow Division. He has extensive working knowledge of the Scottish criminal justice system, risk assessment and risk management. Mr Bates was awarded the Queens Police Medal in 2014 for services to policing and was appointed as a Member of the National Children’s Panel in 2017.

George Connor

George Connor spent nearly 40 years in the Civil Service with the last 8 being in Justice. His last position was in Parole where he gained in depth knowledge of how the system operates in Scotland and in particular where a breach of licence might require someone to be recalled to custody. George was appointed to the Board in August 2015, and reappointed in August 2021 until August 2026.

Lynn Jolly

Lynn developed and managed throughcare services for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues in the Scottish Third Sector for over 10 years and was a member of the Criminal Justice Voluntary Sector Forum. She previously qualified as a Probation Officer, supervising high risk offenders in custody and in the community and practising for several years in public protection. She is a graduate of the universities of Glasgow and London and has degrees in criminology and law.
Lynn was appointed to the Board in August 2015, and reappointed in August 2021 until August 2026.

Lynn Kelly

Dr Kelly qualified as a social worker in 1986 and has worked as a social worker and social work manager in the UK and Australia. Her social work practise has been in the areas of child protection and criminal justice. Her research interests include child fatality and case review processes, professional learning and education, child protection and public protection. Lynn was also a Member of the Scottish Social Services Registration and Conduct Committee and was an Associate Inspector of Constabulary with HMICS. Lynn was appointed to the Board in August 2015, and reappointed in August 2021 until August 2026.

Sandra MacAlister

Sandra MacAlister is a lead nurse and has over 30 years’ experience as a registered nurse in mental health. She also has nursing registration for learning disabilities and is a specialist practitioner in community mental health. Ms MacAlister has gained 27 years’ experience in a secure forensic setting as a practitioner, leader and manager at the State Hospitals Board for Scotland. She has strong skills in risk assessment and risk management.

Martin Macdonald

Martin Macdonald has completed over 40 years’ service with the Scottish Prison Service. He has experience as a Deputy Governor in a number of establishments. As well as the operational setting he has experience in training and development and was the project lead in delivering Vocational Qualifications for Prison Officers. Mr Macdonald has represented the SPS in a number of cross sector National Criminal Justice Initiatives./p>

Derek McGill OBE

Derek McGill OBE has an in depth knowledge of prison management, policies and procedures, particularly in relation to risk management and risk assessment. He has retired recently after 39 years in the Scottish Prison Service having held a variety of roles at senior levels across both policy roles in HQ and operational roles in a number of prisons. His operational experience includes Governor in charge roles in Greenock, Polmont YOI and Barlinnie Prisons. In 2013, he was awarded an OBE for services to Criminal Justice.

Gillian McIvor

Gillian McIvor is Emeritus Professor of Criminology, former Director of the Social Work Research Centre and founding co-Director of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research. She has over 30 years’ experience of undertaking research on criminal justice in and beyond Scotland. Professor McIvor is a qualified social worker and has previously served as a Member of the Scottish Prison Service and Community Justice Accreditation Panels

Stephen Milloy

Stephen Milloy has recently retired from his substantive post as the Executive Nursing Director for The State Hospitals Board for Scotland, a post he held for 14 years. He has a wide range of experience and knowledge of secure mental health services in Scotland and the UK, and the crucial interface with the criminal justice system. He is a leading figure in mental health nursing in Scotland and has played a key role in helping to shape national policy and programmes. Stephen is also a General Member of The Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland; working with legal and medical colleagues to determine the need for compulsory measures, under the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2003, for those people with mental health difficulties whose individual care and management require additional safeguards. Stephen was appointed to the Board in August 2015, and reappointed in August 2021 until August 2026.

Jackie Peters

Jackie Peters has over twenty-five years’ experience of criminal justice practice, gained in community and correctional settings in Canada, England and Scotland. She has a BA (Hons) in Sociology, a Masters Degree in Criminology from the University of Toronto and is a qualified social worker. Her career was spent in Canada where she worked in a range of roles including Probation and Parole Officer, and Prison Assistant Superintendent before moving to the UK where she was employed as a Sentence Management Coordinator in Wandsworth Prison. She currently leads Reintegration Services for Edinburgh Community Justice.

Linda Reid

Linda Reid has worked in Forensic Mental Health for the past twenty years and has extensive knowledge and experience in risk assessment and risk management. She lives by the values of respect, integrity trust and fairness.

Dr Karen Richard

Dr Karen Richard working life has been shaped by a strong, multidisciplinary ethos since graduating from Edinburgh University. She gained experience from working as a consultant forensic psychiatrist in the NHS and visiting Scottish Prisons. This experience has informed her role as a medical member of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland and has developed her interests in the role of protective factors in relation to risk of violence in conjunction with the SAPROF Team at the University of Utrecht.

Morag Slesser

Morag Slesser is a Consultant Forensic Clinical Psychologist and has worked with offenders with and without mental disorder for most of her professional life. She has most recently been Head of Psychological Services at the State Hospital, Carstairs. Ms Slesser has held several public appointments including on the Parole Board for Scotland, the Risk Management Authority Board and has recently been appointed to the Mental Health Tribunal Service.

Stephen Swan

Stephen Swan was formerly Prison Governor and Director of the Scottish Prison Service. He has extensive knowledge of and experience in the care and management of long-term and life sentence prisoners and their transition to the community. Mr Swan also has experience and knowledge of effective governance of public sector organisations and is currently Chair of the Civil Service Appeal Board. Mr Swan is also a Member of the Risk Management Authority.

Rona Sweeney

Rona Sweeney joined the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) in 1987 as an Assistant Governor and enjoyed a 25 year career during which she worked with all categories of prisoners and developed a strong understanding of prison communities. Her last role as a Governor was at HMP Shotts following which she moved to a role as Deputy Director of Prisons and then, on promotion, to Director of Prisons. In this role she was accountable for performance in public sector prisons, other responsibilities included operational readiness, psychological and legal services. In this role Rona was Project Executive for a number of change initiatives including the opening of HMP Low Moss, revision of Prison Rules and revision of risk assessment processes which underpin prisoner progression. Throughout her SPS career she retained an involvement in prisoner casework and interventions to facilitate the reduction of risk of reoffending. From 2012 to 2015 Rona worked in Scottish Government primarily in a policy role in Employability and Skills. Rona was appointed to the Board in August 2015, and reappointed in August 2021 until August 2026.

Kathryn Dawson

Kathryn Dawson qualified in law from Strathclyde University in 2009. She has practised as a solicitor for six years, during which time she has regularly represented clients in Scotland’s criminal courts, both as a prosecutor and a defence solicitor.

Ian Wight

Ian Wight retired from his police career in Sept 2022, having served with Fife Constabulary and then Police Scotland (Criminal Justice Services Division). Ian was latterly a Custody Inspector covering the Falkirk and Fife areas and has considerable experience in custodial decision making. Prior to joining the police, he served as a Prison Officer at HMP Edinburgh.

Scott Keir

Scott Keir graduated with a Masters Degree in Politics and has had a varied career in primarily education and trade unionism.  He has worked in a variety of settings and has vast experience of working with young people who have additional support needs. Scott is an experienced Justice of the Peace and is also an employee member of the Employment Tribunal.

Emma Jardine

Emma Jardine spent more than 10 years researching and developing behaviour change campaigns for the Scottish Government’s health and justice policy teams, alongside their external public, private and third sector partners. She is currently the Policy and Public Affairs Adviser for Howard League Scotland, where she maintains an up-to-date evidence base on criminal justice matters through primary and secondary research across academia, legislation and policy. She also tutors at Edinburgh University Law School in Criminology; Criminal Justice; and Global Crime. Emma has an MA (Hons) in Psychology with Management from the University of St Andrews; an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Edinburgh University Law School; and is an Associate Member of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR). Emma was appointed to the Board in March 2023.

James Maybee

James Maybee holds a Certificate of Qualification in Social Work and a Masters degree in Social Sciences. He has worked as a probation officer, justice social worker and in senior management, most recently with responsibility for justice services in Highland Council. He chaired Social Work Scotland’s justice standing committee for 3 years until leaving Highland and joining SWS in January 2022 as their justice policy and practice lead. Now self-employed, he was appointed to the Board as a General Member in January 2023 and is also a Board Member of the Risk Management Authority and a Member of the Scottish Social Services Council’s Fitness to Practice Panel.

Hazel Nicolson

Hazel Nicolson is a senior practitioner children’s reporter and has extensive experience in relation to child protection and in relation to cases where children and young people have been charged with criminal offences. Ms Nicolson regularly acts in sheriff court proceedings to establish grounds for referral and to deal with appeals against decisions made by children’s hearings. Ms Nicolson has previously worked in the ‘not for profit’ sector to campaign for better access to housing services and to promote welfare rights and social justice for homeless experienced people.

Patricia Coia

Patricia has been a mental health nurse for almost 40 years. She specialises in Forensic Mental Health Nursing working within our national high secure specialist resource for over 35 years, undertaking various clinical and educational roles. Patricia has a wealth of theoretical and practical knowledge and experience in risk assessment and associated management, particularly from a clinical perspective.  She has lectured in forensic mental health nursing and presented at various national conferences.

Patricia is also a Registered Adult Nurse and has achieved a post graduate and Master’s degree in Specialist Forensic Mental Health Nursing. She is presently in the final year of completing her Professional Doctorate.

Appointments – Legal Members

Ian Bryce

Mr Ian Bryce was admitted as a solicitor in 1993, and granted extended rights of audience in the High Court of Justiciary in 2005. He appears extensively in the High Court. He has conducted a number of complicated cases in the High Court, and brings extensive experience of the Criminal Justice system, together with an analytical approach to cases. He served on the Council of the Law Society of Scotland between 2006 and 2012, and was latterly elected to the Management Board of the Law Society of Scotland. He has also served on the Scottish Legal Aid Board’s Criminal Quality Assurance Committee, and has demonstrated a commitment to improving the quality of criminal legal representation, and an understanding of the importance to the public of an efficient and effective legal system. Mr Bryce was appointed to the Board in July 2014, and reappointed in July 2021 until June 2026. He also sits as a legal member of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland.

Simon Di Rollo

Simon Di Rollo KC was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1987 and took silk in 2002. He has appeared in many important cases in both the Civil and Criminal courts including Supreme Court/House of Lords, High Court, Court of Session and Sheriff Court. He has extensive and wide-ranging experience in other courts and tribunals including the GMC and the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. He lectured in civil procedure at the University of Edinburgh from 2000 until 2012 and was a member of the Sheriff Court Rules Council from 2002 until 2011. He was Crown Counsel (prosecutor in the High Court) from 1997 until 2000 and served regularly as an ad hoc advocate depute since then. Since 2012 most of his work has been in the field of high value reparation in the Court of Session for both pursuers and defenders.

Emma Doyle

Emma Doyle qualified in Law from Edinburgh University in 1986, and practised as a solicitor during which time she regularly represented clients in Scotland’s criminal courts. Thereafter, she has turned her attention to working in the third sector for charities which focus on the needs of families and children. She trained and has worked as a legal mediator since 1993.  Emma was appointed to the Board as a General Member in August 2015 and as a Legal Member in April 2018.

Fiona Grant

Fiona Grant qualified as a solicitor in 2005 and has worked as a civil litigator in Private Practice since. She trained and worked for a large Edinburgh firm for twelve years and acted predominately for public bodies such as Police Scotland, the Ministry of Defence and Transport Scotland. She also spent time on secondment to the Scottish Government Civil Recovery Unit and in-house at National Australia Bank. She presents clients in both Sheriff Courts across Scotland and The Court of Session and she has a particular interest in fraud and financial crime.

Sheriff Tony Kelly

Sheriff Kelly was previously a Solicitor Advocate in both the Court of Session and High Court of Justiciary. He was a First-Tier tribunal judge in the Social Entitlement and Immigration and Asylum Chambers. He was appointed a Sheriff of Glasgow and Strathkelvin in September 2019, having previously served as a Summary Sheriff from May 2016. He is a visiting Professor in Human Rights in the University of Strathclyde. Sheriff Kelly has been a Legal Member of the Parole Board for Scotland since July 2014, and was reappointed in July 2021 until June 2026.

Julia MacLaren

Julia MacLaren is a qualified solicitor, admitted in 2008 and for 12 years has worked for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. During that time, as a Procurator Fiscal Depute, she has gained significant experience prosecuting cases in the Sheriff Court. Since 2013, she has worked within the High Court preparing High Court prosecutions, most recently in the specialist Sexual Offences Team. Ms MacLaren has extensive knowledge of the criminal justice system, gained through close working relationships with criminal justice partners.

Jill Malloy

Jill Malloy was admitted as a Scottish Solicitor in 1994. She has practised in both the civil and criminal courts and in 1998, she was one of the original five Solicitors appointed to the Public Defence Solicitor’s Office (PDSO) pilot scheme in Edinburgh. Following that, she spent a period in private practise before returning to the PDSO on its expansion to Ayr and Kilmarnock jurisdictions in 2007. Miss Malloy has recently resigned from the PDSO to take up this role.

James McLean

James McLean moved to law after a career in engineering and construction. After training at Doonan McCaig Solicitors, he has specialised in Criminal Law and has appeared and prepared cases at Sheriff and High Court level and has Parole and Children’s Hearing experience. He is currently a criminal solicitor with the SLAB/SCL (“Cadder” team) and has been for over six years. Mr McLean is also a Children’s Panel member and Chair’s such hearing. He also teaches Criminal and Evidence Law at Edinburgh University.

David Nicolson

David Nicolson was a solicitor for 14 years before calling at the bar in 2005. In his 13 years as an Advocate, he has acted principally as defence counsel in High Court trials. For four years he was an Advocate Depute in the Crown Office where he prepared and conducted high court prosecutions, including a number of murder trials

Kate Phillips

Kate Phillips is a Solicitor Advocate and was admitted as a Solicitor in 1993. She has practised exclusively in criminal defence for 25 years and has been instructed in a large number of serious, complex and high profile cases in both the Sheriff Court and High Court of Justiciary. Miss Phillips has conducted many criminal trials and has extensive experience of the criminal justice system and the sentencing process in Scotland.

Sarah Walker

Sarah Walker is a qualified solicitor and a graduate of the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde. She practised in Civil Litigation for over nine years, regularly appearing in court. She has a strong commitment to diversity and has carried out research in this area as a Thyne Scholar. Ms Walker has a keen interest in criminal justice and has recently been appointed as a Justice of the Peace for Tayside, Central and Fife.

Mirian Watson

Mirian Watson qualified as a solicitor in 1979 and thereafter joined the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service where she worked as a prosecutor for 36 years. During that time she gained extensive experience of the criminal justice system

Wendy Culross

Wendy Culross is an advocate specialising in Criminal cases and appeals. She has enjoyed 14 years of a criminal law career, dealing with clients, witnesses and members of the public. Mrs Culross is the secretary of the Scottish Criminal Bar Association (SCBA) which involves organising events and the Association as a whole, together with engaging in activities to further the aims of the SCBA and its members.

Darren Stevenson

Darren Stevenson was admitted as a solicitor in 2010. He was appointed as a fee-paid Judge of the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) in 2020, and a salaried Judge of the same tribunal in 2024.

David Bell

David Bell graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1992 before qualifying as a solicitor in 1995. He has specialised as a criminal defence lawyer for over 25 years. He is a well known and respected face in courts throughout Scotland and as a partner in one of the largest criminal practices in the country, has extensive experience in this field. David has conducted several hundred jury trials and has amassed considerable understanding of the prison system, prisoners and those working with them. In 2019 he was appointed as a peer reviewer by the Scottish Legal Aid Board as part of their Quality Assurance Program, assessing the work of criminal defence solicitors carrying out publicly funded representation in the Scottish court system.

Beverley Atkinson

Beverley joined the Parole Board in 2023.  She is a practising solicitor with over 20 years’ experience in commercial litigation.  She is a solicitor advocate with extended rights of audience in the Scottish civil courts.  She is dual qualified as a solicitor in England & Wales.  Beverley is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in professional negligence law. She is a current Vice Chair of the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal and a former solicitor member of the Law Society of Scotland Complaints Sub-Committee. She is also a former tutor at the University of Edinburgh Centre for Professional Legal Studies.

Emma Hannay

Emma Hannay joined the Parole Board in 2023. She was admitted as a solicitor in 2008 and went on to work in the private sector as a defence lawyer for the next 12 years, gaining extensive experience in criminal justice. Mrs Hannay was appointed as Head of Legal to an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice in 2020 and has gained invaluable administrative law experience in this role.

Kevin McCarron

Kevin McCarron has had significant involvement in the criminal justice system for over 30 years. Formerly Senior Partner of a highly respected criminal law firm, he has a wealth of knowledge of High Court and Sheriff and Jury proceedings as a criminal defence lawyer. He has considerable experience of Prisoners, Victims, and the Prison system. Appointed as a Part Time Summary Sheriff in 2021, he has presided as Sheriff in Courts throughout Scotland.

Lesley-Anne Mullholland

Lesley joined the Parole Board in 2023.