News In Focus
MacAskill undertakes to consider corroboration protections
27 September 2012
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill is "not minded" to reconsider Lord Carloway’s recommendation to abolish the corroboration rule in Scots criminal law, or to refer the issue to a Royal Commission for further study, but is open to proposals for additional protections that may be needed in consequence.
Speaking in a Holyrood debate this week on ministers' consultation on the Carloway report, Mr MacAskill said the crroboration requirement had "been appraised and found wanting by the second most senior judge in our country", and conducting a further review "would simply extend the current uncertainty over our system for years to come".
However, he said he was "fully committed to listening and reflecting on all consultation responses that look at how reform can best be achieved and, if necessary, to bringing forward proposals for additional protections that may be needed to create a fair and balanced system".
He called on all interested parties to explain what, if any, additional safeguards they thought needed to be put in place, in responding to the consultation, which closes on Friday 5 October.
Without prejudging the issue, Mr MacAskill indicated that a primary matter in this respect was the verdict system, including simple majority verdicts and the additional "not proven" verdict: ministers are considering the work done by Michael McMahon MSP, who is proposing a bill to abolish that verdict.
Labour spokesman Lewis Macdonald also called for all these issues to be considered together. For the Conservatives, however, Annabel Goldie urged Mr MacAskill to exclude corroboration from the Criminal Justice Bill until the "legitimate and reasonable concerns" that had been expressed over its abolition had been properly examined.
Click here to view the debate.