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Corroboration reference group 11/02/2014 A reference group will consider what additional safeguards will be necessary if the corroboration reforms are implemented.

Corroboration reference group

The Scottish Government last week announced that a reference group, headed by former High Court Judge Lord Bonomy, is to be set up to consider what additional safeguards and changes to law and practice may be needed when controversial plans to abolish the corroboration requirement are implemented.

The terms of reference for the group include consideration of the following areas:

  • 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
  • Whether any additional changes are required in summary proceedings.

The group is expected to take a year in its deliberations.

Any necessary legislative and practical change to be taken forward on the back of its recommendations will then be subject to full Parliamentary scrutiny and commenced alongside the provisions in the Criminal Justice Bill, abolishing the corroboration requirement – which is intended to take place in the financial year 2015-16.


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