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"Sceptical" juries making defence job harder, Dean of Faculty claims

17 July 2017

Jurors familiar with TV crime dramas are making the job of defence lawyers harder, the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates has claimed.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Gordon Jackson QC said he believed jurors had become more "savvy" about forensic evidence, partly through TV shows such as Crime Scene Investigation, and were more sceptcal of defence lawyers as a result. "They are much more inclined to say, 'That's just lawyers talking; that's just legal stuff'."

"Securing acquittals is much more difficult than it has been", he told the paper. "I am not saying this is a bad thing in the public interest; I am simply saying it is undoubtedly more difficult for lawyers like me to get acquittals than it was."

His comments, which he said were based on his own courtroom experience, are not borne out by official figures which show that over the 10 years between 2005-06 and 2015-16, the proportion of those prosecuted who were convicted on at least one charge fell from 89% to 86%.

The Dean also commented that the police had become "much better" at constructing a case against the accused, assisted by evidence such as DNA and mobile phone records. He was no longer cross examining police witnesses on the basis that they were "fiddling this, doing that".

 


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