A young Dundee woman whose former boyfriend was acquitted of raping her believes that if the not proven verdict was not available her alleged attacker might have been found guilty.
In today’s Evening Telegraph she discusses the publication of the findings of a study looking at available verdicts, including the controversial ‘not proven’ verdict.
She said: “If the not proven verdict hadn’t been available during my trial, my attacker could have been found guilty.”
A study, by Scottish Jury Research, found that scrapping not proven could lead towards more guilty verdicts.
The findings stated: “Removing the not proven verdict might incline more jurors towards a guilty verdict and might, therefore, lead to more guilty verdicts over a larger number of trials.”
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Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has said he is open-minded on whether to undertake huge reforms of Scotland’s legal system, including the possibility of reducing the number of verdicts available to jurors in criminal trials from three to two.
Under Scots law, juries are currently asked to decide if someone is guilty or not guilty, or if the charges against them are not proven.
Both not guilty and not proven verdicts lead to the accused being acquitted.
The not proven verdict has long been controversial, with several high-profile campaigns in recent decades calling for it to be scrapped and jurors to be given a straight choice between guilty or not guilty.
We want to know what your thoughts are.
Do you think there should be only two verdicts – guilty and not guilty – the same as in the rest of the UK?
Please vote in our poll below.