We want to help, says SCBA

02 Apr

Ronnie Renucci QC, President of the SCBA


THE criminal Bar has welcomed a decision by Ministers to withdraw their plan for trial without jury, and vowed to help “find a temporary solution to this temporary problem.”

The Scottish Criminal Bar Association (SCBA) had strongly condemned a provision in the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill which would have allowed trials in solemn cases to be heard by judges and sheriffs sitting alone.

In the face of widespread opposition, the provision was dropped before the Bill was debated and passed by the Scottish Parliament.

Ronnie Renucci, QC, President of the SCBA, said: “The Faculty of Advocates’ Scottish Criminal Bar Association very much welcomes the Scottish Government’s decision to withdraw the ‘non-jury’ provision. Politicians are often castigated for not listening to people, but the same cannot be said about Humza Yousaf, the Justice Secretary, on this occasion.

“He did listen to concerns from all quarters, and made the right decision to withdraw this badly-flawed proposal and he should be commended for that. We recognise that the Scottish Government faces a very difficult situation and that difficult decisions may have to be made, but the provision in relation to trials without juries was a step too far.

“The SCBA believes there are workable alternatives and welcomes the opportunity of working with the Scottish Government and the Justice Secretary in attempting to find a temporary solution to this temporary problem.”