TheLaw Society of ScotlandThe justice secretary was warned that any reforms to cases involving sexual offenses must be in line with the presumption if innocence.
Keith BrownYesterday, he said that he would not hesitate to support reforms that would increase the conviction rate for sex cases.
He stated that there were plans to establish specialist sex crimes courts without juries, and the abolishment of the not proved verdict, which according to detractors allows for more acquittals.
President of the Law SocietyKen DallingResponding, he said that the society would support any changes “providing the rights and liberties of the accused are maintained”.
He said: “It is essential to preserve fundamental principles in any plans for reforming the criminal justice system – the recognition of the presumption and the rights of all involved and the minimization of the risk of a miscarriage or error of justice.
“We believe juries can be trusted to deliver the correct outcome based upon the evidence presented. We recommend that you take great care when changing a system based on juries getting things wrong.”
According to Mr Dalling, the full consequences of any changes will need to be considered.
He stated that the “not proven verdict”, which has been the topic of much debate, was a long-standing component of the justice system. Any proposals to remove it will require great care.
“We must be certain that any reforms will work in practice, and not adversely affect a fair system that upholds and functions in the interest of justice.”