The proposed abolition of the corroboration rule in criminal cases in Scotland has sparked heated debate in the legal industry and implementation of the reform will apparently be delayed until a more detailed review on the impact of the change has been completed.
News of the delay came from Scotland’s Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, who stated that, even if the bill passes, further measures will be taken before the rule is abolished to ensure against people being wrongfully convicted. MacAskill pointed out that prosecutions based only on a single person’s word are not going to take place and no case will be brought to trial without additional supporting evidence, BBC News reported.
The corroboration rule states that there must be at least two independent sources of evidence that point to an offence before a case can go to court. The main goal of abolishing the rule is to ensure that more sexual offences and domestic abuse cases reach the courts because these crimes most often take place in private and the corroboration rule is not applicable there.
Opponents of the reform, including many members of the Scottish judiciary, have raised concerns that abolition of the law might result in miscarriages of justice. However, MacAskill explained that the corroboration rule was not necessary in the modern world because there were other sources of evidence, such as CCTV and forensic science.