Monday, September 26, 2022

Scotland’s controversial ‘unproven’ judgment to be scrapped

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Scotland’s controversial unproven judgment is to be scrapped, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister announced the “truly historic” step when she presented her legislative program for the coming parliamentary year.

She said a new criminal justice law would also ensure the anonymity of complainants in sex crime cases.

Unlike elsewhere in the UK, there is no automatic right to anonymity in Scotland.

Scotland’s distinctive unproven verdict has long been a subject of controversy, with jury research previously highlighting confusion over its meaning and impact.

There is bipartisan support for its abolition.

A recent consultation found that about 62 percent of 200 respondents supported moving to a two-sentence system in criminal cases, with just 37 percent supporting the status quo.

However, more legal organizations (seven out of eight), jurors in a criminal trial (19 out of 30) and persons charged with a crime (five out of six) supported the three judgments currently available.

When her program for government was published, Ms Sturgeon said in Holyrood: “We will introduce a criminal justice bill.

“Among other things, this law provides for the annulment of the unproven verdict.

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