Page last updated at 23:34 GMT, Sunday, 4 May 2008 00:34 UK

Spouse witness law to be scrapped

The justice minister said partners had "escaped justice"

A law which allows people to refuse to testify against their partners or spouses in court is set to be scrapped.

The Scottish Government has said it will take an early legislative opportunity to repeal the law.

A husband, wife or civil partner can currently only be required to give evidence against their partner if they are the victim of an offence by them.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the law has meant spouses have been able to "escape justice".

He said: "This is not acceptable and has resulted in the past in people marrying their partners prior to trial, for example on a charge of abusing their children, just to avoid having to give evidence against them.

"That is why the Scottish Government will act to close this loophole.

"Changing the law will boost protection for children and prevent couples covering up for each other."

The previous Scottish Executive issued a short consultation paper on the issue in 2006.

The Scottish Government has now decided it wants to repeal Section 264 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 and Section 130 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

Partner witness law under review
26 Jun 06 |  Scotland

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