TODAY’S rulings by the UK Supreme Court on the ‘Sons of Cadder’ cases, are a significant step in clarifying the rights of an accused in Scotland – says the Law Society of Scotland.
Bill McVicar, convener of the Society’s Criminal Law Committee, said: “This marks a significant step in understanding the impact of the Cadder principle.
“Clearly, there will still be questions around its effect, for example where a suspect waives the right to a solicitor. This will be heard by the UK Supreme Court next week.”
McVicar said: “The emergency legislation passed as a result of the Cadder case last year shows a clear need for a full review of the compatibility of Scots criminal law with ECHR – a proposal the Society called for in its manifesto for 2011.”
The spokesperson added: “The four test cases were referred by the Crown Office to the UK Supreme Court earlier this year, following last year’s landmark judgement in the Cadder case, where it was ruled all suspects should be granted access to a solicitor before being questioned by police, when detained. It was announced today that The UK Supreme Court has allowed three of the four references.”
McVicar continued: “The judgement in the Cadder case last year was a landmark ruling for Scots law, affecting all aspects of the justice system. We are pleased that these test cases, the ‘Sons of Cadder’, have been reviewed at the earliest opportunity.
“The Society also notes the important role of the Supreme Court in determining such cases. The Supreme Court considers only issues affecting an individual’s constitutional or human rights in Scotland and does not sit as a Court of Criminal appeal for Scottish cases.”
McVicar said: “Early ruling on these cases also provides certainty to the police, the crown, defence solicitors and those involved at each step in the criminal justice system.”
“We will consider these judgements in full and we also look forward to reading the final report by the Carloway Review group in due course. We welcome the opportunity to comment further in light of any proposed legislative change.
“Each of the test cases involved a situation where a suspect had given information to the police, without prior access to a solicitor.”
The Society is preparing training courses to update criminal defence solicitors on the impact of these cases and the change to working practice to be expected. These will focus on the four cases, the principles behind each and on developments on police station advice to suspects. Solicitors should refer to the Society’s website for regular updates on events and seminars.
06 October 2011
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