The Scottish Government has reversed its proposal to replace trial by jury with trial by a single judge.

The change of heart took place today as the Scottish Parliament debated the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill which grants exceptional powers to the Scottish Government in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Highlands and Islands MSP, Donald Cameron, a qualified advocate, said: “As someone who has both prosecuted and defended in criminal proceedings in Scotland, I was deeply alarmed by the proposal to abolish trial by jury which would have extinguished a centuries-old, fundamental liberty at the stroke of a pen.

“I am therefore very pleased that ministers have listened to our objections, and committed to reconsidering this issue with proper consultation.

Mr Cameron, the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance, added: “Just as our communities are working together to tackle this emergency, it is important that our politicians do the same.

“However, I can assure the public that we will not be suspending our critical faculties and will continue to scrutinise the Scottish Government and offer suggestions to ministers where we consider measures could be improved.

“That said, we recognise that extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions and we will continue to give ministers all the necessary support as we fight this invisible enemy.”