After section 3

Part of Sexual Offences (Procedure and Evidence) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:15 pm on 6th March 2002.

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Photo of Bill Aitken Bill Aitken Conservative 3:15 pm, 6th March 2002

Some interesting points have come out of the discussion. We should go back to what the Minister for Justice said at stage 1, when he stated that the bill is all about balance and fairness. No one would disagree with that.

We must therefore examine amendment 10 and see how it will impact on fairness. Let us be clear: rape is a despicable act. However, that does not mean that we should jump to the automatic conclusion that those who are convicted of rape are always guilty. Similarly, I stress that I am not naive enough to think that some 80 per cent of those who are acquitted of rape charges are innocent. One must consider the question with balance.

Phil Gallie has ably articulated the arguments for extending anonymity to accused persons, as proposed in amendment 10.