'Not proven' verdict stays

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Indy Politics
THE controversial 'not proven' verdict in Scottish courts is to be retained.

The Government's decision, announced yesterday, comes despite widespread debate and a campaign by the parents of a murdered girl to abolish the verdict. After a man accused of murdering 19- year-old Amanda Duffy two years ago was acquitted by a jury with a verdict of 'not proven', her parents, Joe and Kate Duffy, gathered a 55,000-name petition to support their call.

The decision to retain three verdicts in Scottish courts was contained in the White Paper Firm and Fair, presented to Parliament yesterday by Ian Lang, Secretary of State for Scotland.

Mr Lang said the proposals followed widespread consultation over the past year, and a majority of those consulted supported keeping the 'not proven' verdict.

Referring to the murder of Ms Duffy, he said: 'There was concentrated opposition to it in the Lanarkshire area which I think can be attributed to one specific case.'

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, Minister of State at the Scottish Office and Scotland's former law officer, indicated that it would be left to senior judges to explain the effect of the 'not proven' verdict to juries.

Ms Duffy's father said he was disappointed but did not regard the Government's decision as the end of the line. The measure had to go through Parliament and he and his supporters would fight it line by line.