The corroboration requirement in Scottish criminal trials: should it be retained for some forms of problematic evidence?

Fraser P. Davidson, Pamela R. Ferguson

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    Abstract

    The merits of corroborated evidence in criminal trials have been hotly debated in many jurisdictions, with most having now abandoned this requirement. The Scottish government intends to do likewise—at a time when some other jurisdictions are considering its reintroduction. This article considers whether there is merit in retaining a corroboration requirement for two types of evidence, namely for visual identifications and extra-judicial confessions. It explores whether the introduction of a weighted jury majority, as the government proposes, can compensate for the problematic nature of such evidence. In respect of visual identification evidence, it is argued that any safeguard which corroboration might have provided has been weakened by the way in which the courts have developed the law. Alternative mechanisms for improving the quality of such evidence are assessed. In relation to confessions, the article argues that increasing the jury majority is a poor substitute for corroboration.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-27
    Number of pages27
    JournalInternational Journal of Evidence and Proof
    Volume18
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Keywords

    • corroboration
    • Carloway
    • identification
    • confessions
    • Scotland
    • evidence

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    Ferguson, Pamela

    • Law - Professor

    Person: Academic

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