"Politics is all about people. As a Central Scotland MSP it is both a pleasure and a privilege to meet and become involved with a hugely diverse number of people and organisations"

Margaret Mitchell
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Archive for February 2014

Cross Party Group on Dyslexia

Feb. 28th 2014

The Cross Party Group on Dyslexia met in February.

There was an open discussion around issues and developments in the CPG’s members’ own areas and nationally.

Once approved, the minutes of the meeting will be available from the Scottish Parliament website.

Posted by Felicity | in Cross Party Groups

Stage 1 Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill Debate

Feb. 28th 2014

In the Stage 1 Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill debate, the SNP narrowly forced through a vote which could lead to corroboration being axed from Scots law.

Despite widespread opposition from every other political party and a range of legal experts, the Scottish Government will now press on with its plan to scrap the need for a second piece of evidence in criminal cases.

A Scottish Conservative amendment, supported by Labour, the Liberal Democrats, Greens and some independent MSPs, almost succeeded, but the SNP was able to get enough MSPs into the chamber to reject it by 64 to 61.

It means the Criminal Justice bill will proceed to the next legislative stage with the abolition of corroboration included.

It has been warned that such a move will result in a steady rise in miscarriages of justice.

If the Scottish Conservative “reasoned” amendment had been accepted by the Scottish Parliament, it would have allowed the rest of the Criminal Justice bill to go through without the need to scrap corroboration.

Margaret contributed to the debate as Scottish Conservative Justice Spokesperson and argued against the abolition of corroboration.

She stated that “a key part of the Government’s argument for abolition of the requirement is that access to justice will be improved, especially for the victims of interpersonal crimes, such as rape and domestic abuse” but Margaret went on to point out that “more prosecutions does not mean more convictions, and there is nothing just in putting victims through the ordeal of gruelling interrogation by the defence when, under the Government’s proposal, their evidence could be the only source available and they would just end up seeing the accused acquitted.”

The full text of the debate can be found here.

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