Statement on corroboration review
Following the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill's, letter to the Convener of the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee on the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill and in particular the proposal to abolish the requirement for corroboration, Ian Cruickshank, Convener of the Law Society of Scotland's Criminal Law Committee, said:
"We recognise that the Cabinet Secretary has listened to the very serious concerns that we and others have expressed and is now prepared to carry out a further review. However, the approach suggested by the Cabinet Secretary is neither the desired nor expected route for any primary legislation.
"To leave the detail to subsequent subordinate legislation is not the correct approach to this most controversial and fundamental change to the rules of evidence governing our criminal law.
"If the Scottish Government remains intent on abolishing the requirement for corroboration, this should take place only after there has been a full review, so that the interconnections of the corroboration requirement with all other aspects of the criminal justice system, which have not so far been examined, can be properly explored.
"Our firm view is that the only way to proceed would be to delete section 57 (which abolishes the requirement for corroboration) from the Bill. The Cabinet Secretary should then create a statutory review panel to conduct the review, and in the light of the review's report, introduce a Bill to give effect to it. The Society would strongly support and participate in such a review."
ENDS 4 FEBRUARY 2014
Notes to editors
The Cabinet Secretary for Justice's letter to the convener of the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee can be viewed here
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04 February 2014