Bonomy Review work must ensure that Scotland has a criminal justice system to be proud of, says Law Society
The Law Society of Scotland has welcomed publication of a consultation today, Tuesday, 14 October, as part of Lord Bonomy’s Post-corroboration Safeguards Review.
Colin Dunipace, a member of Law Society’s Council and Criminal Law Committee, said: "We want to have a criminal justice system which we can be proud of; one which is properly balanced and gives due weight to the interests of those facing criminal charges, to the victims of crime and wider society.
“Lord Bonomy’s review group has done very thorough work in considering what additional safeguards may be required if the requirement for corroboration is to be abolished.”
The consultation paper has asked for views on a range of topics including jury sizes and verdicts, dock identification, police evidence gathering, sufficiency of evidence and confession evidence.
Dunipace said: “The initial proposal to abolish the requirement for corroboration without considering additional safeguards, sparked strong debate and raised concerns about the potential for an increased risk of miscarriages of justice.
“We are pleased to see that concerns we, and others, raised in relation to abolishing the requirement for corroboration are to be addressed as part of the consultation. These include the size of the jury and majority required to return a guilty verdict, dock identification, and whether a judge should be able to remove a case from a jury, on the basis that no reasonable jury could be expected to convict on the evidence before it.
“The consultation is a critical part of the current reform process and offers an opportunity to shape the criminal justice system for the future. It is vital that all those involved in the criminal justice system, whether they are part of the legal profession defending or prosecuting those accused of a crime, are part of the judiciary or represent victims of crime, continue to be part of the dialogue on improving and modernising our criminal justice system. We must also ensure that can be no scope for an increased risk of miscarriages of justice within any proposals for reform.”
During stage one of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill, the Law Society consistently called for a full review of the law of corroboration to provide an opportunity to examine how the requirement for corroboration interconnects with all other aspects of the criminal justice system. The Bill has proposed to abolish the requirement for corroboration.
ENDS 14 OCTOBER 2014
Note to editors
A series of free Post-corroboration Safeguards Review roadshow events have been organised during the consultation period - these events have not been organised by the Law Society. All the events are from 6pm – 7.30pm.
22 October – Inverness
Location: Palace Hotel, 8 Ness Walk
Panel: Lord Bonomy, Iain Cruickshank (Convener of the Law Society of Scotland's Criminal Law Committee), Professor Peter Duff (University of Aberdeen)
23 October – Aberdeen
Location: Sheriff Court, 53 Castle Street
Panel: Lord Bonomy, Frances McMenamin QC, Iain Cruickshank (Convener of the Law Society of Scotland's Criminal Law Committee), Professor Peter Duff (University of Aberdeen)
28 October – Glasgow
Location: Royal Faculty of Procurators, 12 Nelson Mandela Place
Panel: Lord Bonomy, Sir Gerald Gordon QC, Sandie Barton (Rape Crisis), Fiona Leverick (University of Glasgow)
29 October - Edinburgh
Location: Carlton Hotel, North Bridge
Panel: Lord Bonomy, Sheriff Charles Stoddart, Jane Farquharson (Advocate Depute), Professor Fiona Leverick (University of Glasgow), Louise Johnson (Scottish Women’s Aid)
3 November – Dundee
Location: Apex City Quay, 1 West Victoria Dock Road
Panel: Lord Bonomy, Sheriff Charles Stoddart, Professor Pamela Ferguson (University of Dundee), Louise Johnson (Scottish Women’s Aid)
10 November – Hamilton
Location: Council Chambers, Almada Street
Panel: Lord Bonomy, Sandie Barton (Rape Crisis), Sheriff Norman McFadyen
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact Val McEwan on 0131 226 8884.