Scottish Greens Justice Spokesperson John Finnie MSP has called on the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service to take action to reduce trauma experienced by sexual offence victims.
Speaking at a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee this morning, Mr Finnie challenged the organisation's Chief Executive, Eric McQueen, on the steps it was taking to reduce ongoing trauma for survivors of rape and serious sexual assault resulting from the growing backlog of High Court trials.
The Highlands and Islands MSP received confirmation that despite significant investment in the innovative Glasgow Evidence and Hearing Suite which opened last year, the facility which allows vulnerable witnesses to pre-record their evidence away from the formality of the courtroom is not being fully utilised.
John Finnie MSP said:
“Sexual offences constitute around 75% of the Crown Office's High Court workload and many victims already wait years for justice. If we really want to reduce victims’ trauma, our criminal justice system must continue to prioritise sexual offences and get the Glasgow Evidence and Hearing Suite operating to its fullest safe capacity. We’re told that it could take years to get back to pre-Covid levels of trials, but we must not allow victim survivors to put their lives on hold for even more years than some already have.”