Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Senior Judges reject SNP Government plan to scrap court corroboration, George Laird right again, Kenny MacAskill should be replaced as Justice Minister

Dear All

Sorry for being away, I am not back just yet, but there are two stories I wish to do before I pop off again, this is one of them and the other is yesterday’s signing on independence.

One of the things which define the SNP Government or any government is how the legal system operates to ensure that trials and law are fair, reasonable and just.

The general acid test used by the public is centred around commonsense; increasingly the SNP Government is totally failing the criteria. The ‘Justice’ Minister of Scotland is Alex Salmond’s pal, Kenny MacAskill seen by many as an incompetent who should be removed. Ian Hamilton of Stone of Destiny fame writes that MacAskill should be removed for being effectively in the pocket of the Crown Office.

MacAskill's tenure will be remembered for him being one of the worst Justice Ministers in Scottish Government history. If there is a train wreck in the Scottish Government rather than asking what department, it is easier just to ask what has MacAskill done wrong this time.

There was a major review of Scots criminal law carried out last year, judge Lord Carloway, I have written that his idea for abolish the centuries-old requirement for corroboration in criminal prosecutions is bollocks.

Despite that MacAskill climbed onboard thought it was a good idea, just like he thought releasing the biggest mass murderer in Scottish legal history was a good idea, Megrahi is MacAskill’s legacy.

If you ever had any doubts that MacAskill was unsuitable for the position of Justice Minister, Megrahi closes the argument, not just the release but letting him leave the country and more importantly not running the appeal hearing based on the six grounds put forward by his legal team.

Now, High Court judges have rejected proposals to abolish the centuries-old requirement for corroboration in criminal prosecutions which isn’t unexpected and is surely a step in the right direction.

Will MacAskill listen?

Probably not, MacAskill isn’t very bright in my opinion and there is a stack of ‘case law’ to back it up.

The Senators of the College of Justice said corroboration, unique to Scotland, provided a "major safeguard" against miscarriages of justice. And a court case should never be decided on who tells the best story on the day.

It should be decided on evidence.

Interestingly Judges also said removing the rule would lead to "decreasing confidence in the legal system" and to lower rates of conviction generally, juries can be fickle especially when it is pointed out that there is only someone’s word to condemn a person.

That kind of system is reminiscent of a fascist state.

Their Lordships also chipped in and said:

"In our view, it is often difficult to assess the true facts on the basis only of the evidence of one witness. A witness may be credible and plausible, yet not be telling the truth (or the whole truth). The Scottish courts have on many occasions been grateful for the requirement of corroboration, which in our view provides a major safeguard against miscarriages of justice."

They added:

"One particularly anxious area is that of alleged sexual offences, where (without corroboration) the issue becomes one of the complainer's word against the accused's. Our concern is that the abolition of corroboration may result in miscarriages of justice."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said:

"The proposed abolition of the requirement for corroboration was recommended in an independent review by Lord Carloway. Lord Carloway's recommendations have been subject to a Government consultation exercise. The consultation specifically sought views on whether any additional safeguards would be required as a result of removing the corroboration rule and we will carefully consider all responses."

You didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that removing corroboration was a bad idea; in fact it is a very bad idea, what a great pity that MacAskill didn’t possess the intellectual tools to recognise this right at the start.

George Laird right again and SNP Minister wrong, perhaps this adds weight when posters take me to task on law.

Judges think this is bad, lawyers think this is bad, juries will think this is bad and ordinary people will think this is bad, the weight of professional and public opinion is with me on this issue.

Another bad day and a significantly bad day for the SNP Government who obviously can’t be trusted to safeguard the nation’s legal system.

That lack of confidence is a plank why the people of Scotland will when the independence referendum vote comes want to stay in the UK.

At present we need the protection of the UK Supreme Court.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

he will not listen to reason he is an egomaniac he is the man who made the biggest blunder in Scottish history releasing the the mad bomber from prison