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Previous convictions in court

A report which recommends prosecutors should be able to use previous convictions as evidence in criminal trials will be considered by the Scottish Government.

As the law stands, the prosecution in Scotland cannot rely upon previous convictions to help prove their case against an accused person.

The report is the final in a series of studies commissioned by the Scottish Law Commission aimed at ensuring an appropriate balance between the rights of the accused and the ability of the Crown to prosecute in the public interest.

The first report, on Crown Appeals, was published in July 2008 and has been followed up by the enactment of sections 73-76 Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010.

The second report, on Double Jeopardy, was published in December 2009 and has been followed up by the enactment of the Double Jeopardy (Scotland) Act 2011.