Lady Hale, formerly president of the Supreme Court, and Wendy Joseph, a former Old Bailey judge, said the scheme may undermine faith in the legal system. Their remarks came during a discussion at the Hay Festival about the proposed Victims, Witnesses and Justice Reform Bill.
In a standard year, Police Scotland receives around 2,500 rape accusations, which lead to roughly 150 convictions. Responding to this, Judge Joseph, 71, said that judge-only trials were not the right answer. She said: “If it is true … that juries do not understand problems of women giving evidence in rape cases, it isn’t, in my judgment, a reason to stop juries trying rape cases – it’s a reason to educate juries.” Lady Hale, 78, said: “By and large I am a believer in the jury because all the criminal judges I know – and I know a great many of them – are all believers in the jury and they can’t all be wrong.”