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23/04/14 14:09

Criminal Justice Bill

Stage 2 to take place after Lord Bonomy’s review on additional safeguards.

The Scottish Government has accepted a proposal from opposition parties to enable Stage 2 of its Criminal Justice Bill to take place after Lord Bonomy’s review group on additional safeguards has reported on its recommendations in Spring 2015.

This will enable the Justice Committee to consider Lord Bonomy’s recommendations on what additional safeguards and changes may be needed to Scotland’s criminal justice system once the requirement for corroboration is abolished as part of the Bill, during their Stage 2 deliberations.

Responding to a Parliamentary Question, Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, has today advised Parliament that the Scottish Government remains fully committed to all aspects of the Bill, including abolishing the requirement for corroboration but in a spirit of co-operation has accepted the proposal for a change to the timing of Stage 2. The proposal means that the significant package of reforms already in the Bill can be further enhanced at Stage 2 in light of Lord Bonomy’s recommendations and considered together by Committee members in a more straight forward manner.

Mr MacAskill said:

“The Scottish Government remains firmly committed to all aspects of the Criminal Justice Bill, including our proposals to abolish the requirement for corroboration – which as I have said time and again, is a barrier to justice for too many victims of crimes which are committed behind closed doors, such as rape and domestic abuse.

“When we announced the creation of Lord Bonomy’s review group in February, there were calls – including from the Law Society and Faculty of Advocates – for us to remove the corroboration reform from the Bill and to bring forward a separate Bill later in the session once Lord Bonomy had reported. That was not acceptable as it is one of the key reforms in the Bill and is vital to improving the criminal justice system for vulnerable victims.

“However, we have also made clear our willingness to listen to constructive proposals in relation to this key legislation. That is why we gave careful consideration to - and in the spirit of co-operation have accepted - the suggestion from opposition members that Stage 2 should commence after Lord Bonomy’s review has been completed.

“As the majority of the Bill’s provisions were already due for implementation in 2015-2016, today’s move will have minimal impact on the overall timetable for this legislation, while allowing detailed and full scrutiny of the bill in its entirety and enabling any changes agreed in light of Lord Bonomy’s recommendations to be included. Most importantly, I now hope it will enable the whole Parliament to get behind the progressive reforms in the Bill including the modernising of police powers, enhancement of the rights of people in police custody and removal of the corroboration requirement.”

Notes to editors

Background

For further information on all the provisions in the Criminal Justice Bill see:
http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Criminal-Justice-Bill-published-19d.aspx

For further information on Lord Bonomy’s review into additional safeguards see:

http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Group-to-examine-corroboration-safeguards-8fe.aspx

http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Corroboration-review-group-announced-9c3.aspx