Letter: Verdicts and evidence in murder trials

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From Mr Michael Duncan

Sir: Does Trevor Lyons (letter, 5 October) not realise that in Scotland people object to the not proven verdict for the very reasons he believes make it beneficial? This verdict not only frustrates the defendant in not being able to clear his name, but also frustrates the victims in knowing that the guilty man has walked free. They also have to live with the knowledge that the police are unlikely to reopen the case after such a verdict.

In the OJ Simpson case, a verdict of not proven would divide people even further. Those believing him guilty would be angered at him walking free, while those believing him innocent would be angry at the cloud of suspicion over him. This verdict provides no practical or legal solutions to a case of murder. Instead of wondering about the truth of the matter for ever more, we must accept, whatever our personal doubts, that he is not guilty of the murders he was accused.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Duncan

London, SW12

6 October