Still time for MSPs to recognise risks around corroboration abolition, says Law Society
Responding to today's decision of the Scottish Parliament to support the principles of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill, Ian Cruickshank, Convener of the Law Society of Scotland Criminal Law Committee, said: "Abolishing the requirement for corroboration, without sufficient safeguards, presents a serious risk to Scotland's criminal justice system. The age old cornerstone of our proud and respected system is to be removed at a point in time when its replacement has yet to be fashioned, putting our justice system in a precarious position.
"It is in everyone's interest that we have a criminal justice system which is properly balanced and gives due weight to the interests of those facing criminal charges, victims and wider society. To remove an essential safeguard against the risk of miscarriages of justice without first carrying out a full review and leave the detail to subsequent subordinate legislation, is not the correct approach to this controversial and fundamental change to the rules of evidence governing our criminal law.
"We are pleased to be part of Lord Bonomy's review group, but have said from the outset that section 57, which abolishes the requirement for corroboration, should be deleted from the Bill and a statutory review should be carried out, followed by a short Bill to implement its recommendations.
"We hope that it will be reconsidered at stage 2 of the Bill."
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact Val McEwan on 0131 226 8884 or Julia Brown on 0131 476 8204
27 February 2014