My sources close to Crown Office and the Justice Department have been able to locate for me the working draft of Mr MacAskill’s latest press release, designed to accompany the next stage of his proposals to “modernise” and “improve” Scottish criminal law.
After all, this follows a week where the Bill bringing to an end the need for corroboration in Scottish prosecutions has been published, despite the united opposition of the judiciary, the Faculty of Advocates and the Law Society of Scotland and where the future of the “not proven” verdict has again been placed under scrutiny, with the clear intention that it disappear too.
The draft below might never see the light of the day, and there are clearly a few parts for the Minister to tidy up. Maybe the Justice Secretary will decide that the latest proposals might be far enough to go.
Or maybe we will wake up soon to see the following in our morning papers… Continue reading
A fine example of the openness to differing opinions and the advantages of the Scottish system of consulting about legislative plans comes from the debate regarding dramatic changes to the Scottish criminal justice rules, including the abolition of corroboration, as recommended by Lord Carloway, in his recent review.
From the Law Society of Scotland Journal Online:-
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has hinted that the Scottish Government is likely to proceed with its plans to abolish the corroboration rule in Scots law, despite the opposition of many in the legal profession.
In his speech to the SNP conference at the weekend, Mr MacAskill acknowledged the opposition to the change, which was recommended in Lord Carloway’s review of criminal evidence and procedure published late last year but has recently been opposed in submissions by the other Scottish judges, the Faculty of Advocates and the Law Society of Scotland, as well as local bar associations.
The Scottish Police Federation has also come out against the move, although it is supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland. Continue reading
The need for corroborated evidence before a person can be convicted of a crime has been an essential element of Scots Law for hundreds of years. As was discussed in the piece linked to here, the need for more than one source of evidence to allow a conviction can be taken back as far as the Old Testament.
On 2nd December 2010 Lord Carloway, having been asked by the Justice Secretary to look into Scottish criminal law in the aftermath of the Cadder case commented on corroboration. He said:-
”Corroboration has been a cornerstone of the Scottish system for a long time – and a matter of considerable pride – in assessing sufficiency of evidence.” Continue reading