Scottish Tories pledge to end ‘not proven’ court verdict

The 'third' verdict open to juries is unique to the Scottish justice system.

Scottish Tories pledge to end ‘not proven’ court verdict STV News
The Tories would end 'not proven'.

The Scottish Tories have unveiled plans to end the ‘not proven’ court verdict.

Party leader Douglas Ross said the so-called ‘victims law’ would put those who have suffered a criminal act at the heart of the justice system.

The not proven verdict, unique to the Scottish justice system, has been controversial in recent years and the Tories will look to make trial a straight decision between guilty and not guilty if the law is passed.

Ross said the Bill would be the first act of his party in the new parliamentary term and would also include what he calls Suzanne’s law and Michelle’s law.

Named after Suzanne Pilley, who was murdered in 2010, the legislation would mean convicted murderers cannot be released until they reveal the whereabouts of their victim’s remains.

While Michelle’s law, named after 17-year-old Michelle Stewart who was murdered in 2008, the families of victims would be given a greater say over release arrangements.

Ms Stewart’s sister said she supports the legislation.

Ross said: “We are on the side of crime victims whose pain and suffering is often compounded by their experience of the criminal justice process.

“There is so much we can do to improve the prevention and detection of crime but also how victims and their families can be treated with decency and respect.

“The family of Michelle Stewart are an example to us all. Having suffered such a tragic loss, they have found the strength to campaign to improve the system for others.

“Our victims law will give victims and their families a meaningful voice and bring much needed transparency to prosecutions, courts and parole.”