Two pieces of evidence for conviction ‘too much’

Christine Grahame says the Bill goes to the very heart of the criminal justice system. Picture: Dan Phillips
Christine Grahame says the Bill goes to the very heart of the criminal justice system. Picture: Dan Phillips
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A senior judge who drafted proposals on police questioning of witnesses is expected to give evidence to MSPs on proposals to scrap the age-old requirement for two or more pieces of evidence to secure a conviction.

The Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill could scrap corroboration, increase the majority of a guilty verdict to two-thirds, reduce the time someone can be detained without charge, and amend the laws on questioning of witnesses and access to solicitors.

The Bill implements recommendations from Lord Carloway’s review of criminal law and practice, and recommendations from Sheriff Bowen’s Independent Review of Sheriff and Jury Procedure.

Lord Carloway is expected to appear before Holyrood’s Justice Committee to give his opinion on the Bill.

Trafficking

Convener Christine Grahame MSP said: “This is a huge Bill that goes to the very heart of our criminal justice system it is aiming to reform.

“It would be our intention to call Lord Carloway to give evidence as much of the Bill implements his recommendations.

“While the proposals based on the Carloway and Bowen reviews address everything from arrest and custody to child suspects and trafficking, we know that one of the most contentious issues our committee will be scrutinising is the proposal abolishing the requirement for corroboration. We intend to give that proposal very thorough and full scrutiny.

“We want to hear from those at the sharp end of the criminal justice system on whether they agree we should remove what some perceive as an outmoded legal notion or whether to do so would lead to a greater risk of miscarriages of justice? Either way, now is the time to make your views known to the Justice Committee via our call for evidence.”