TheThe Scottish Law Agents SocietyThe ‘not proven verdict’ was supported by the government, who argued that it is not substantiated.
Andrew StevensonSLAS secretary, Jeremy Sullivan, stated that the council of the organization supports the retention of the verdict as it is “logical”.
“The consensus was that any verdict should be abrogated. The court should make a finding, or prove or not. This is a better choice, as the court is not being asked for any indictment. That comes instead from a legal presumption,” said he.
Professor James Chalmers?Fiona LeverickAndVanessa MunroIn anArticleThe history of the verdict states that argument from logic is “a tiresome aspect of much of this debate”, as supporters and opponents use different logical premises.
Stevenson said that although the “not proven” verdict has historically been associated with poisoning cases it is now being blamed for the high rate of acquittals in rape prosecutions.
“But, critics of this verdict forget that any court that found the Crown had not proven its case would have been required to issue a verdict of not guilty’.
“Would this be of any consolation for a complainer that claimed she was the victim of an innocent accused person?”
Stevenson referred to the caseStephen CoxenIn 2015, a rape case against him was not proved.
“Three Years later, he was found guilty by the All Scotland Personal Injuction Court of having raped his victim. Coxen would have been found innocent if he had not received the third verdict. This would have been far worse than “not proven”!
He said that it was difficult to determine if the verdict was responsible.
“The Contempt of Court Act protects the confidentiality of jury deliberations. Research must be done on mock juries or anecdotes.
He concluded that “removing the third verdict is prejudicial for the accused person to an extent that a complete re-evaluation would be required of the entire structures of juries, with consideration being given to the scrapping of the sufficiency and simple majority.
“Presumably, if a majority, say 13 was required, there would be fewer convictions that are currently. This is the result that detractors of the unproven verdict want.
“The system as it is now has been working satisfactorily for centuries and should be maintained.”