The Scottish Government’s consultation paper (your report, 20 December) reflecting proposals to abolish the not proven verdict and corroboration has predictably breached the peace of the Scotland’s legal fraternity.
Apparently, the proposals are another example of the “anglicisation” of Scots law – thereby implying that any aspect of English law is, by definition, inherently inferior compared with the merits of Scots law.
It is, of course, arguable that the not proven verdict and the principle of corroboration broaden the concept of justice but that is not an argument for the quaint notion that anything “English” is necessarily an affront to the integrity of Scotland’s legal system.
That kind of parochial thinking directly contributed to the humiliation of the Scottish legal establishment (including the Crown Office and the judiciary) after the judiciary marginalised European law to dismiss Peter Cadder’s contention that his rights had been breached by the failure of the police to provide timeous access to a lawyer, subsequent to his arrest.
A unanimous decision by the Supreme Court overturned the peculiar decision of Scotland’s highest criminal court and thereby protected the human rights of the laity.
Without that “anglicisation” of Scots law, we would all be exposed to the possibility (however remote) of junta justice: the kind of justice that treats the human rights of suspects with utter disdain.
A hermetically sealed legal system (apparently favoured by the legal fraternity) might foil the “anglicisation” of Scotland’s legal system but if such a system prevailed, the Cadder decision would not have been overturned, Scotland’s legal system would be fundamentally tainted and the potential for miscarriages of justice would be significantly enhanced.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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