The above question is one which academics could spend thousands of words writing about. The following is intended only to be a short discussion of the rule of corroboration and whether in my opinion it is necessary in modern times.
What is corroboration?
Corroboration is unique to Scots law and it is the rule that in order to prove the essential facts of a case, evidence must come from two sources. So for example in a theft case, the essential facts are that the item has been stolen and that the particular person stole it. Evidence of both facts must be proven by two sources. This could be in the form of two eyewitnesses or one eyewitness and fingerprints etc.
The rule is archaic in the sense that it was introduced many moons ago when everyone lived in close-knit communities and everyone knew each other. Therefore, when someone was up on trial it was good practice to make sure that there was more than just one source of evidence in order to convict somebody. This prevented the pursuer from raising a case simply out of spite.
However, it is doubtful whether corroboration is necessary today and as a result, Lord Carloway has been commissioned to report on whether he thinks we should retain the principle. In his report, he recommends that corroboration be abolished but it is yet to be seen whether his recommendations will be implemented.
I am inclined to agree with his recommendations as I feel that too many miscarriages of justice have taken place as a result of an archiac rule which has no place in modern society. Its impact is most dramatically seen in one of the worst types of crime, sexual assault and rape. This is because the majority of these crimes take place in private and therefore, there is not the necessary corroborated evidence. This must be stopped as too many sexually violent criminals are being freed to roam our streets. The strong evidence of one victim in such circumstances should be enough for a conviction.
What do you think?