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Corroboration : A Silver Lining
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Iain McKie



Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 939


Location: Ayr, Scotland.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:09 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote

A worrying day for me yesterday when I found myself agreeing with the Tories. Even more worrying was finding common cause with Margaret Mitchell the  MSP who sided with the police against Shirley and who is attempting to close down the Lockerbie petition.

Quote:
Conservative justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said there was an "absence of any checks and balances at Holyrood today".

She said: "The integrity of the parliament has been opened up to intense scrutiny over this issue."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-26596145


The unfortunate truth is that she is right and while the same truth applied to previous administrations it is particularly worrying for me as a supporter of independence to find that we have a government that is not listening – at least in some areas.
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Big Wullie



Joined: 25 Apr 2007
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Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find it worrying that they can pass such a law with so much opposition.

It shows that they can do what they want even when it is not in the public interest to do so.

I want corroboration to go simply because it will give accused more rights if the jury numbers rise and judges direct them properly along the same Turnbull principles as England.

Perhaps they will even decide that Hanif was wrongly decided when they said Guidelines have no standing in Law, maybe even Gage when they did not allow Professor Tim Valentine's evidence to be heard.
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david



Joined: 01 Mar 2009
Posts: 502


Location: edinburgh

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strathclyde law school to host debate over removal of corroboration rule

http://www.firmmagazine.com/strat...ebate-removal-corroboration-rule/

A debate on the merits of the corroboration rule has been scheduled between a prominent criminal defence solicitor advocate, John Scott, and one of the most prolific Scottish legal bloggers, Andrew Tickell (@peatworrier).

The question debated is as follows:

“This house believes that s57 should be removed from the Criminal Justice Bill.”

Speakers: Solicitor Advocate John Scott (for); Andrew Tickell (against).
Moderator: Mark Leiser
Venue: Thomas Graham Building, Room 314
Date: Thursday 27 March
Time: 5.30pm for 6pm start (to 8pm).
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Big Wullie



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Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:49 am    Post subject: Serial Killer Released (Wrong Confession Evidence) Reply with quote

Absolutely no corroboration to support confessions.

This is the type of Miscarriages that will surface if Scotland takes away corroboration without implementing any other proper safeguards:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26654316

Sture Bergwall: Swedish 'serial killer' released


Once considered a notorious psychopathic murderer, Mr Bergwall is now a free man

A man once considered one of Sweden's most prolific serial killers has been released.

The move came after the authorities ruled that his eight murder convictions were based on false confessions.

Sture Bergwall, now 63, has been held in psychiatric detention for more than 20 years.

He confessed to more than 30 killings over three decades and was convicted of eight.

He retracted his confessions six years ago, saying that when he made them he was heavily medicated and seeking attention.

All of his convictions, handed down in a series of trials between 1994 and 2001, were overturned after prosecutors said they had no other evidence linking him to the deaths, some of which may not even have been murders.



Mr Sture, shown here in Stockholm's Court of Appeal in 2001, has now had all his convictions overturned
"He has been detained for 20 years in a locked psychiatric clinic. It is a miscarriage of justice," his lawyer Thomas Olsson said.

After his convictions were quashed, Mr Bergwall was still kept at the mental institution until a court could decide whether his mental health was good enough to free him.

Now a court in Falun in central Sweden has ruled that although he still suffered from a personality disorder and should continue to receive psychiatric care, he no longer needed to be held in a secure unit.

The case has gripped Sweden for years and the government launched a commission of inquiry last November into possible failings in the legal system that may have resulted in Mr Bergwall's convictions.

His lawyer said Mr Bergwall will now start looking at whether to seek damages.
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david



Joined: 01 Mar 2009
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Location: edinburgh

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.scottishlegal.com/inde...e=Criminal&newsID=60979#60979

LORD McCLUSKEY RENEWS ATTACK ON ABOLITION OF CORROBORATION

Former Solicitor General for Scotland and High Court judge Lord McCluskey has renewed his attack on the proposed abolition of corroboration in criminal cases.
In a letter to the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee, Lord McCluskey said Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill’s “failure” to understand the law reflected “what appears to be the practical everyday failure of the police to understand the law or apply it properly in practice”.

He added: “Thus the Justice Secretary repeated on many occasions the nonsensical view (presumably obtained from the police) that the law of corroboration required that two policemen had to go to London to collect a CD Rom.

“Against that background of police misunderstanding, it is hardly surprising that assaulted women are misinformed by the police – as to the alleged reason why their cases are not going to be taken to court (viz ‘No corroboration’) and are thus led to support the false notion that abolishing the rule requiring corroboration is going to increase the prospects of justice for women.

“Because the diagnosis of the causes of the problem is mistaken, the wrong remedy (abolition of corroboration) has been chosen and the real causes are neglected. One has only to look at England to see that the problem of poor conviction rates in sexual assault cases there is as bad as, or even worse than, it is in Scotland.”

Section 57 of the Scottish Government’s Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill provides for the removal of the centuries-old safeguard, following a Lord Carloway’s review recommendation.

The letter followed an email exchange with committee convener Christine Grahame, in which the retired judge expressed his dismay at the “deeply regrettable” refusal to allow him to give evidence to MSPs because the committee had already concluded its evidence-gathering at stage one.

“I am probably better qualified, by direct experience, to give evidence on this matter than almost everyone whose evidence has been received,” the retired judge said.

But the committee said it may take further evidence on the bill at stage two and that it would welcome his input.

However, Lord McCluskey sent a letter to the committee, outlining his concerns over the proposals to abolish the requirement for corroboration.

He noted that most of the attention in the debate had been focused on sexual assault cases, and that relatively little attention had been paid to the fact that section 57 applies to all cases, including murder, assaults, fraud, theft, and countless statutory offences, including drugs cases with severe penalties.

His letter stated: “This is a revolution. Its far-reaching consequences have simply not been explored. It is a huge change based on the view of one judge, the police and the public prosecutor, with support from lobbyist groups mostly concerned with sexual crimes, (and whose members have often relied on police-based assertions that such cases have had to be dropped for ‘lack of corroboration’). There has been no examination of the likely effect on non-sexual cases. There has been no Royal Commission or the equivalent to try to assess the consequences, financial and in terms of the administration of justice.

“The revolutionary proposal overturns the wisdom and practice of centuries during which the outstanding Scottish Judiciary, and the Institutional writers developed pragmatically a system of justice that owed almost nothing to intervention by Parliament. And all of a sudden our whole system of justice is to be dramatically altered. ”

Lord McCluskey added: “This is simply no way to make sweeping and massive changes to a mature legal system. That legal system recognizes that judges also make mistakes: but if one judge makes a decision it can be appealed to a higher court. If Lord Carloway’s judgment on this issue were to be referred to a higher court of appeal, it would be overturned by a vote of 33 to 1.”
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david



Joined: 01 Mar 2009
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Location: edinburgh

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
His letter stated: “This is a revolution. Its far-reaching consequences have simply not been explored. It is a huge change based on the view of one judge, the police and the public prosecutor, with support from lobbyist groups mostly concerned with sexual crimes, (and whose members have often relied on police-based assertions that such cases have had to be dropped for ‘lack of corroboration’). There has been no examination of the likely effect on non-sexual cases. There has been no Royal Commission or the equivalent to try to assess the consequences, financial and in terms of the administration of justice.


Quote:
Lord McCluskey added: “This is simply no way to make sweeping and massive changes to a mature legal system. That legal system recognizes that judges also make mistakes: but if one judge makes a decision it can be appealed to a higher court. If Lord Carloway’s judgement on this issue were to be referred to a higher court of appeal, it would be overturned by a vote of 33 to 1.


Very true Lord McCluskey
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david



Joined: 01 Mar 2009
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Location: edinburgh

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder how many false allegations have been found by the safeguard of corroboration.

The figures would probably come under "due to lack of evidence" which the justice Minister keeps referring to.
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Big Wullie



Joined: 25 Apr 2007
Posts: 5125


Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If Lord Carloway’s judgement on this issue were to be referred to a higher court of appeal, it would be overturned by a vote of 33 to 1.


None of the judges at the High Court will entertain an appeal that Lord Carloway is Biased towards Corroboration with reference to Hoekstra.

Nor will the Supreme Court.

But then again most of our Scottish judges are also members of the Supreme Court too.
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Big Wullie



Joined: 25 Apr 2007
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Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Carloway said this of our Justice System:

http://www.scotland-judiciary.org...ConferenceMurrayfield9May2013.pdf

Quote:

There must be change because the system of criminal justice which exists in Scotland is one which remains to a large extent geared to the values and conditions of the Victorian age.


So why is there not a Royal Commission to look at the whole system ?
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Iain McKie



Joined: 08 May 2007
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Location: Ayr, Scotland.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exactly Wullie.

Years of knee jerk tinkering with a 'Victorian' system might be appealing to our political masters but it has been disastrous for justice in Scotland.

Only by a complete 'Commission' review of our system will balance be restored and a system suitable for the 21st century be developed.

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Sincere thanks to all those who have supported Shirley and challenged miscarriages of justice on this forum.