Falkirk lawyer says it’s time to wake up to risks

Martin Morrow of MTM Defence Lawyers
Martin Morrow of MTM Defence Lawyers

Public sector workers could be at risk of prosecution if the need for corroboration is removed in a shake-up to the justice system.

The warning came from a senior member of Falkirk’s legal profession as the debate intensified over the need for a second piece of evidence or second witness to take a criminal case to court.

Corroboration will no longer be needed if the proposed Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill is passed by MSPs.

Senior judge Lord Carloway made the recommendation after a review of Scotland’s prosecution system was carried out last year.

He told MSPs there were 458 serious cases in Scotland which had not been prosecuted in 2010 because of lack of evidence, but added more than half would have been taken to court if corroboration was not required.

However, Martin Morrow, a solicitor advocate with Falkirk’s MTM Defence Lawyers, said: “No-one seems to have considered the huge implications the removal of corroboration would have for our public services. Imagine a police officer accused of having assaulted someone. Are we going to suspend the officer?

“Without the need for corroboration that would seem the only thing to do.

“Or think of a teacher being accused of sexual misconduct, on a charge for which there is no supporting evidence. Are we going to prosecute on the basis of one individual’s remarks?

“Professional bodies and unions really need to wake up to the dangers of the proposed removal of corroboration.”