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Lord Advocate asks UK Supreme Court to Clarify Criminal Law

The Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, has sought clarification from the UK Supreme Court on the law regarding rights of suspects who have been detained by police in Scotland.

In particular, four similar "test cases" have to be examined in light of the Cadder ruling.

This comes following Peter Cadder's appeal to the Supreme Court in respect of his 2009 conviction. The Supreme Court ruled that it was against a suspect's human rights for him or her to be interviewed without a solicitor present.

The Lord Advocate told judges at a hearing in London that "Cadder has not made it clear exactly when suspects' right to legal advice arises."

Legal Uncertainty Following Cadder

The effect of this legal uncertainty has been to cause a backlog of cases, with those accused of crimes remaning in the dark about whether or not they will be convicted.

A Crown Office spokesperson said "We will not speculate in advance of the court's decisions.

"The Crown will assess and evaluate the impact of the court's decisions and thereafter consider releasing statistics in relation to affected cases once the impact of an adverse decision is fully known."

However, some cases have already been decided by the Scottish courts, such as the situation where a policeman had asked a motorist whether or not he was prepared to take a breathaliser test at the roadside without being given a chance to seek advice from his criminal defence solicitor. In that case it was held that this was considered not to be a police interview for the purposes of the Cadder decision.

Have a Criminal Law Query?

Nevertheless, many criminal cases do still remain uncertain because of Cadder. Until these issues are clarified, you can get in touch with our expert criminal lawyers on 0131 557 9151 for a free initial consultation.

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Friday, 03 April 2020

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