Sturgeon offers condolences to killed footballer's family
The First Minister has written to Shaun Woodburn's relatives over appeal against jail term.
Nicola Sturgeon has written to the family of a man killed on New Year's Day as they campaign for an appeal against his attacker's jail sentence.
The First Minister said she offered her "sincere condolences" to the family of Shaun Woodburn.
Mr Woodburn, 30, died after he was attacked by a 17-year-old in the early hours of January 1 in Leith, Edinburgh.
The teenager, who cannot be named because of his age, was jailed for four years earlier in November.
The family of Mr Woodburn, a former junior footballer with Bonnyrigg Rose FC, say the sentence "does not represent justice."
A petition calling for an appeal of the sentence has gathered almost 65,000 signatures.
Ministers have said they are unable to intervene in rulings made by criminal courts, a position Ms Sturgeon reiterated in her letter.
The First Minister's letter to the Woodburn family said: "I can scarcely begin to imagine the deep distress your family is experiencing and offer my sincere condolences for the loss you have suffered."
She said the Crown Office had offered the Woodburn family a meeting to answer their questions next week.
The First Minister continued: "I hope this meeting will prove useful to you. While I can entirely understand your wish for me to intervene personally, I know you will appreciate that Scottish Government ministers are not able to intervene in any criminal case.
"I know that this can be difficult for families but it is essential to preserve the independence of the legal system and to protect it from political interference.
"I understand that this continues to be a heart-wrenching time for you and I want you to know that my thoughts are with you and your family at this difficult time."
A spokesman for the Crown Office said earlier: "As with all cases, the Crown will consider the sentence and give consideration to whether it might be unduly lenient."