The jury is an inappropriate decision-making body in rape trials in Scotland: Not Guilty, Not Proven, Guilty?

Callander, Isla (2013) The jury is an inappropriate decision-making body in rape trials in Scotland: Not Guilty, Not Proven, Guilty? LL.M(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis reviews the influence of prejudicial social attitudes on jury decision-making in rape trials, and considers whether the verdict in rape cases should continue to be determined by a jury in Scotland. Rape law reform is recognised internationally as having had limited impact to date, in terms of either improving the low conviction rates for rape or reducing the systematic re-victimisation of adult female complainers. This issue is discussed within the context of negative social attitudes about rape and rape victims, and the contribution of these to the gap between law and practice in rape cases. The potential influence of different types of prejudicial social attitudes on juror decision-making in rape trials is considered in depth, including the extent to which these may negatively impact on the outcome of trials. The likely interaction between juror attitudes and the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 means that the influence of prejudicial attitudes in the jury may largely nullify the progressive intentions of this legislation. Potential measures to counter these negative social attitudes about rape are considered. However, it is argued that the deliberative process is an inadequate safeguard against prejudicial decision-making and that other measures, such as juror education, may be of limited efficacy. This thesis concludes that lay participation should be removed from the decision-making process in rape trials and replaced by a specialised judge based system. This outcome would be in line with the institutional responsibility of the criminal justice system to ensure the objective delivery of the law in practice, and that the cost to the complainer of pursing justice is not re-victimisation.

Item Type: Thesis (LL.M(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: criminal justice scotland, rape law scotland, the Scottish jury, juror attitudes in rape trials, Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KD England and Wales > KDC Scotland
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Chalmers, Professor James
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Miss Isla Callander
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4744
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2013 10:16
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2013 10:18

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