I just received this email, presumably from a resident of Scotland, who had just read Reasonable Doubt:
I have just finished this book tonight. You probably know that in Scots Law we have a third verdict of Not Proven. It is delivered by a jury when they assess that the prosecution have failed to prove guilt based on the evidence presented and counts as a Not Guilty verdict. You might like to read more about this verdict as there are frequent attempts to have it removed.
As a lay person I feel it has led to fewer miscarriages of justice than in other countries.
I thought on reading this case that a Scots jury would have brought in a Not Proven verdict at the original trial, probably directed so by the judge.
I was fascinated to learn this, to find it’s been part of Scottish law for centuries, that Scotland was allowed to keep its own system of laws when it joined with England in 1707 to form the United Kingdom.
A “not proven” verdict means acquittal, but it also suggests the jury is not convinced that the defendant is innocent–just that he wasn’t proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.