Series 3 Episode 2 – Scottish Government Victims, Witnesses, and Justice Reform (Scotland) Bill

Lauren Sykes
Friday 7 July 2023

Controversial plans to launch a pilot scheme for judge-only trials in rape and sexual assault cases was the focus of the second part of a Scotland’s Future Series discussion on the proposed new legislation.

In the first episode dedicated to this subject, the University’s Chief Legal Officer Mike Gettinby hosted a discussion on the abolition of Scotland’s not proven verdict with rape survivor and former St Andrews student ‘Miss M’ and Chief Executive of Rape Crisis Scotland, Sandy Brindley.

In this discussion, Mike talks to Professor John Hudson, Bishop Wardlaw Professor of Legal History, and Dr Vicky Miyandazi, a Knight Fellow in Legal and Constitutional Research, both from the School of History at St Andrews, about the impact of the legislation, part of the Scottish Government Victims, Witnesses, and Justice Reform (Scotland) Bill.

The academics also explain how customs and practices in legal systems developed from the Middle Ages, and how trial by jury came to be part of criminal cases in both Scotland, England and across Europe.

They also discuss key differences in jury makeup and the numbers needed to secure a majority verdict. Dr Miyandaz talks about the unique Common Law system in Kenya, where there are several processes involved in the prosecution proving their case before a judge or magistrate first before any further action is taken, and how judge-only trials remove the potential for jury bias.

Listen to the podcast.

Watch the video on YouTube.

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