Eamon Keane & Tony Convery: Report Launch
Mon 3 August 2020
Edinburgh Law School and Rape Crisis Scotland present
Should There be a Right to Independent Legal Representation for Sexual Offences Complainers at Hearings to Determine Applications to Lead Sexual History and Bad Character Evidence?
About the event
The admission of sexual history and/or bad character evidence in Scottish courts under the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 remains problematic. There is a dearth of contemporary research resulting in an unclear picture about what exactly is or is not occurring. The law has, on the one hand, in relation to relevancy, been progressively advanced by the High Court of Justiciary in recent years; however, recent appellate judgments also appear to suggest that some applications are still being advanced which clearly run counter to the purpose of the legislation and the common law. It is known from recent research in Scotland that the potential admission of sexual history evidence remains an issue of considerable concern for complainers however the adversarial system of proof is a fundamental feature of the Scottish criminal justice system.
In 2019, Eamon Keane and Tony Convery, assisted by funding from Rape Crisis Scotland, spent time in Ireland speaking to stakeholders considering how that jurisdiction deals with the admission of sexual history evidence in order to consider whether any improvements could be made to the procedure followed in Scotland. This event will present their conclusions which are contained in a report which will be made available to participants. They believe, that following the judgment of WF v Scottish Ministers, it is arguable that complainers should be provided with independent legal representation at hearings where s.275 applications are to be determined in Scotland. This event will seek to facilitate discussion in respect of this proposal and will be of interest to policy makers, legal professionals and individuals from the third sector who support victims of crime.
About the speakers
Eamon Keane is an Early Career Fellow in Criminal Law and Evidence at the University of Edinburgh and a qualified solicitor. He teaches and researches the Scots law of evidence. He is a member of the Law Society of Scotland’s Criminal Law Committee and the Convenor of the Scottish Legal Action Group. View profile page
Tony Convery is a qualified solicitor in private practice. He is Deputy Convenor of the Scottish Legal Action Group.
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