Professor Sue Edwards ( RLC Door Tenant) was asked to comment on Sky News with regards to the Scottish justice reforms proposed in The Victims, Witnesses and Justice Reform (Scotland) Bill which proposes:
– that Ministers have the power to carry out a pilot of rape trials to be conducted by a single judge without a jury
– address a no. of issues around serious sexual offences through the creation of a new specialist sexual offences court
– to scrap Scotland’s controversial “not proven” verdict (Guilty, not guilty and not proven are three verdicts which can be returned in Scotland)
– reduce the size of criminal juries from 15 to 12.
– that the majority needed for a guilty verdict in jury trials to be at least two-thirds
Professor Sue Edwards commented “When Rape trials are delayed this can cause huge trauma for victims. High acquittal rates and a decrease in convictions can lead to less cases being reported and prosecuted. Having a single judge who is trained in rape cases, creating specialist sexual offences courts and abolishing the “not proven” verdict show the need to take rape reform seriously”
Listen to interview here: [Twitter]