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KNEE-JERK PROPOSALS ARE DANGEROUS.

Byline: AAMER ANWAR Human rights lawyer

THE attempt to abolish jury trials one week after lockdown is seen widely as an attack on a system of justice that has stood the test of time for more than 600 years.

Whilst drastic action is needed to save lives, that should not result in greater miscarriages of justice. I appreciate the justice system is under huge pressure and there are valid concerns about the backlogs of serious trials such as murder and rape.

However, more delays are likely under the present proposals. It is dangerous that in the most serious of criminal trials, if a witness is unable to attend because of coronavirus, the judge will now be able to rely on hearsay evidence without the benefit of that evidence being tested in cross-examination.

We have heard that these measure will stop the "indefinite detention" of those on remand, but the Bill actually proposes raising the time limit of 110 days to 293 days.

Just weigh that up as an innocent man or woman on remand for 20 months.

These dangerous knee-jerk proposals will deliver summary justice on the cheap for the most serious crimes prosecuted in our courts.

To abolish juries would severe the link between the people and our justice system.

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Author:AAMER ANWAR Human rights lawyer
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 1, 2020
Words:211
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