Scotland’s justice secretary, Keith Brown, has said he will “not shrink away” from reforms aimed at increasing the conviction rate in sex cases. Mr Brown, who was appointed as justice secretary in May 2021, made comments following a recent visit to The Meadows centre for sexual assault victims in Larbert.
The controversial plans to go for consultation include specialist sex crime courts without juries and the abolition of the not proven verdict, which detractors say increases acquittal verdicts.
Mr Brown said: “The very low conviction rates suggest we’ll have to do something quite different in order to improve that, if we’re to serve the victims sufficiently well [sic]. We should not shrink away, if that’s what’s required, from possible radical action.”
Mr Brown added that while these proposals have been previously subject to proposals, there are “different views on it”. He added: “It’s right to draw it into this area of work because it all hangs together – not proven, corroboration, the size of juries. We will take our time to consider that. I think we have to do something quite radical in this situation.”