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The discussion took place on 25 July at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Law.

Jenny McEwan attends discussion on Post-corroboration Safeguards Review

Jenny recently attended the discussion headed by Lord Bonnomy at the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge.

Lord Bonomy is chairing the Scottish Government Review of their proposal to reform the corroboration requirements in criminal evidence in Scotland. Jenny is a member of the international advisory group set up to assist the Review.

The Scottish Government intend to abolish the rule that in criminal trials at least two items of evidence indicative of guilt are present. Although the new law would be closer to the English position, that one item of evidence may suffice, other evidential rules in Scotland are dissimilar to that of English law. The Post-corroboration Safeguards Review, headed by Lord Bonomy, will consider what, if any, additional safeguards and changes to law and practice may be needed to ensure fairness.

The issues under consideration include:  whether a formal statutory test for sufficiency based upon supporting evidence and/or on the overall quality of evidence is necessary; whether any proposed prosecutorial test or a requirement for publication of any such test should be prescribed in legislation; the admissibility and the use of confession evidence; the circumstances in which evidence ought to be excluded; the practice of dock identification; jury majority and size; the future basis and operation for a submission that there is no case to answer at the end of the prosecution case; whether a judge should be able to remove a case from a jury on the basis that no reasonable jury could be expected to convict on the evidence before it; whether any change is needed in the directions that a judge might give a jury, including a requirement for special directions in particular circumstances; and whether any additional changes are required in summary proceedings.

Find out further information on the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill and the Post-corroboration Safeguards Review.

Date: 7 August 2014

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