Scottish Tories call for not proven verdict to be scrapped
Crime victims must no longer be retraumatised by the “distressing and confusing” not proven verdict, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has said.
Ross is expected to unveil his party’s full crime and justice manifesto pledges on Wednesday, with scrapping the not proven verdict one of the key priorities.
Currently Scotland operates a three verdict system but the Scottish Conservatives are calling for this to be reduced to just guilty or not guilty.
Groups including Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid have been campaigning for some time for the not proven verdict to be scrapped.
Ross said: "We've made it clear we are determined to scrap not proven and are calling on SNP justice secretary Humza Yousaf to back this vital measure.
"This verdict has no place in a modern justice system. I have spoken to crime victims who explain how distressing and confusing this verdict can be.
"Many of those impacted are victims of sex crimes and not proven often causes further traumatisation.
"Scotland's three-verdict system must end. Juries should be given the clear and universally understood choice of guilty or not guilty.”
The Scottish Conservatives were expected to unveil their plans to create a victims law and local policing act during a visit to a former police station.
Ross added: "This is one of a raft of important measures in our victims law which will overhaul Scotland's justice system and, as the name states, put the rights of victims at the centre of it.
“Only the Scottish Conservatives have the strength to stand up to the SNP, end their soft-touch justice system and stop their push for another divisive referendum.”