Scottish Man Acquitted of Rape Due to Lack of Corroborating Evidence

A Scottish man was acquitted of raping a 17-year-old girl due to a lack of corroborating evidence, as required by Scotland's Moorov doctrine. This case highlights issues with Scotland's corroboration rule in rape cases, which can prevent convictions even when juries believe the evidence supports guilt.

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Nitish Verma
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Scottish Man Acquitted of Rape Due to Lack of Corroborating Evidence

Scottish Man Acquitted of Rape Due to Lack of Corroborating Evidence

A Scottish man, Cailan Duchain, was acquitted of raping a 17-year-old girl in Aberdeen due to the lack of corroborating evidence required by Scotland's corroboration rule. The jury had initially found Duchain guilty of the rape charge, but the judge intervened and overturned the verdict because there was no corroboration for the crime.

Under Scotland's Moorov doctrine, juries must find an accused guilty of a similar offense against at least one other complainant in order to convict them of rape involving alleged victims. In Duchain's case, the jury cleared him of raping a second 15-year-old girl, removing the mutual corroboration needed to convict him of raping the 17-year-old.

Duchain had been accused of committing eight sexual offences against the two teenage girls, including four allegations of rape. He denied all the charges. The prosecution relied on the Moorov doctrine to try to establish a course of conduct and provide the necessary corroboration. However, the jury's verdicts on the other charges prevented this.

As a result of the jury finding the other charges against Duchain "not proven", the judge had to instruct the clerk to change the guilty verdict on the rape of the 17-year-old to "not proven" as well. Duchain was therefore acquitted of all charges against him.

Why this matters: This case highlights issues with Scotland's corroboration rule in rape cases, as it can prevent convictions even when juries believe the evidence supports guilt. There have been calls to reform the rule, particularly for sexual offenses, to reduce the burden of proof on victims.

The case underscores the significance of ensuring juries are properly informed about the corroboration requirements in rape trials in Scotland. "The Moorov doctrine is a complex area of law which can be difficult for juries to understand," said a spokesperson for the Scottish government. "We are considering whether further reforms are needed to ensure our justice system secures convictions where the evidence supports it."

Key Takeaways

  • Scottish man acquitted of rape due to lack of corroborating evidence
  • Scotland's Moorov doctrine requires corroboration from another complainant
  • Jury cleared him of raping a second girl, preventing conviction
  • Case highlights issues with Scotland's corroboration rule in rape cases
  • Calls for reform to reduce burden of proof on victims