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Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain QC, Has Commissioned Fresh Inquiry Into How Sexual Crimes Are Prosecuted In Scotland

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC has ordered a study of how sexual offence cases are dealt with by Scotland’s prosecution service. This study will update an earlier review which was carried out over a decade ago. 

In an interview Bain stated that a significant amount had been learned about sexual offences since she published the results of her own review of her own review in 2008. 

Bain stated before the Scottish Parliament’s Criminal Justice Committee that she had appointed Susanne Tanner QC to the role of Assistant Principal Crown Counsel and asked her to lead the new investigation. A separate review will also be carried out of its victim information and advice service, this will be led by Deputy Crown Agent Lindsey Miller.

Bain stated: “I have commissioned Susanne Tanner QC to become Assistant Principal Crown Counsel and to conduct a full review of how prosecutors deal with reports of sexual offences. The remit of the review will be approved by me in due course and will take into account the views of victims and agencies from across the criminal justice system.”

She also addressed the impact the pandemic has had upon the ability for cases to be heard quickly. The purpose of Miller’s review is to “ensure COPFS can continue to deliver the high levels of support and advice to all victims and witnesses that they do currently”.

The reviews come at the same time as the Scottish Government has begun consulting on whether the controversial not proven verdict should be scrapped. The consultation is also looking at whether the existing rules on corroboration, jury size and the majority required for conviction are fit for purpose

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