Corroboration

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It gives me great satisfaction to discover that Nicola Sturgeon had finally seen the light. In her forthright denial of having backed David Cameron in a conversation with the French ambassador, she says: “This story has already been shown to be 100 per cent untrue – having been comprehensively rejected by both the French ambassador and consul general.”

This is a powerful recognition of the value of corroboration as a means of demonstrating the truth.

Having belatedly come to grasp this – something that those who practise in the justice system have always understood – she should now instruct her new justice secretary to take the necessary steps to repeal the legislation that his predecessor, and the obedient SNP MSPs unwisely railroaded through the Scottish Parliament last year, namely the act that abolished the requirement for corroboration in criminal cases in Scotland.

That unwise departure from our centuries-old, and tried and tested, rule of evidence flew in the face of opposition from the vast majority of those who had day-to-day experience of criminal cases.

Now that she has enlisted corroboration in aid of her own sense of outrage at being the victim of a bizarre story she should have the wisdom to realise that others, often facing more serious lies, have need of access to this instrument of justice.

In the meantime, she should announce that the new enactment will not be brought into force.

Lord McCluskey

Former Senator of the College of Justice, Scotland