The tension between the rights of the accused and a vulnerable witness has remained a problematic balance to address through the criminal justice system. The enshrined presumption of innocence imposes a burden of proof set beyond reasonable doubt , further bolstered by the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) right to a fair trial . However, wider aspects of the right to a fair trial would also imply a presumption that efficient use of vital evidence should not be prejudiced and as such, witness evidence plays a key role in the Scottish criminal justice system where cases are often relying on oral evidence from witnesses . This in itself highlights the intrinsic contradiction of balancing the rights of both parties; however at the outset it is submitted that a suitable compromise is fundamental to ensure the efficacy of the criminal justice system in preserving consistent access to justice.
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