A retired judge has said it would be “fundamentally wrong” if changes to the law meant individuals could be convicted on the basis of their confession alone.
The Scottish Government wants to abolish the centuries-old requirement of corroboration in criminal trials, where evidence is needed from two separate sources for a conviction.
Lord Hope of Craighead, Scotland’s most senior judge between 1989 and 1996, described the proposal as “quite dangerous”.
He told Holyrood magazine: “I just express concern that the proposal seems very far-reaching and, potentially, quite dangerous if you have a situation where somebody is at risk of being convicted on his own confession which I would have thought was absolutely fundamentally wrong in Scots law.
“It may be that the number of cases that go to trial now on confessions are comparatively few, but we developed our law of corroboration initially as a barrier against people being taken to court on a confession which had been extracted by torture.
“This is in the early 18th century when things were very, very different, and people reacted against this, and I’d be very sad to see that kind of protection go.”