SCBA expresses concern regarding juryless trials

19 Mar

The Scottish Criminal Bar Association (SCBA) has expressed its concern following the release of the recommendations of a cross-justice Review Group, chaired by The Lord Justice Clerk Lady Dorrian.


The Review Group was tasked with improving the experience of complainers in sexual offence cases within the Scottish court system, without compromising the rights of the accused. Among its recommendations are the establishment of a specialist sex offences Court in Scotland for serious cases and a pilot scheme of juryless trials.


“Any real improvement in the process of delivering justice is welcomed but the voice of the unjustly accused should be heard as loudly as any other group,” said Tony Lenehan, the President of the SCBA.


“Innocent men and women end up in the same dock as the guilty every day of every week. Our citizens form sensible, balanced and experienced decision-making juries who separate the guilty from the rest with care and insight.


“The degradation of public confidence in justice that juryless trials would bring was recognised last year, even in the cauldron of the pandemic. The arguments for stripping citizens of the right to decide the facts of sexual offence cases, though loudly made by some, truly have only superficial attraction. 


“We are steadfast in our long considered opposition to such a step. “