The not proven verdict and related reforms: consultation

This consultation seeks views on the three verdict system in Scottish criminal trials and if the not proven verdict were to be abolished, whether any accompanying reforms would be necessary to other aspects of the criminal justice system.

Annex B: Jury Directions

Since July 2020 it has been agreed that jurors should be provided with certain materials in writing at the start of the trial, setting out amongst other things, the general directions which apply in every case as well as, if appropriate, specific directions which should also be provided in writing and read to the jury at the same time, depending on the circumstances.

Regarding corroboration, these directions state that:

“the law is that nobody can be convicted on the evidence of one witness alone, no matter how credible or reliable his or her evidence may be. The law requires a cross-check, corroboration.

There must be evidence you accept as credible and reliable coming from at least two separate sources, which, when taken together, implicate the accused in the commission of the crime. Evidence from one witness is not enough.

Be clear about this:

Every incidental detail of a charge, such as the narrative of how the crime is alleged to have been committed, does not need evidence from two sources. But there are two essential matters that must be proved by corroborated evidence. These are:

that the crime charged was committed and
that the accused committed it.”

The evidence and submissions of the parties will inform the extent to which anything more need be said in relation to matters touched upon in the introductory directions.



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