IT must be disquieting to stand in the dock knowing your fate rests with 15 people not smart enough to get out of jury duty.

Under Scots criminal law, at least eight of those 15 fellow-citizens must agree on a guilty verdict to guarantee conviction, but not for much longer.

The Scottish Government's new Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill proposes to increase that required majority from eight to 10.

Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill is jury juggling in the hope of preventing any miscarriages of justice.

So what makes the former lawyer concerned that more innocent folk may end up with a criminal record, or in jail?

Well, that's exactly what is feared will happen when he abolishes the original safeguard in Scots law against wrongful conviction, the need for corroboration.

The requirement for two independent pieces of evidence for a case to be brought to court has been a pillar of our legal system for 300 years.

Why then is the government abolishing it?

Their stated aim, to increase conviction rates for rape, sexual assault and domestic violence, is admirable and should have the blessing of the nation.

Support groups, such as Rape Crisis Scotland, Scottish Women's Aid, and Zero Tolerance, blame some of the lowest conviction rates in Europe on what they dismiss as an antiquated technical requirement.

Such cases often come down to "her word against his", with no independent witnesses.

Imagine Nigella Lawson being apparently assaulted by her husband in a restaurant in Scotland – but with no-one around to snap those shocking pictures of the attack.

Anyway, are we to believe the only reason the Scottish Government is scrapping corroboration is to unblock that impasse?

If so, what's their reasoning behind also scrapping it for all other offences?

What's next, dropping it for road traffic violations?

Critics say the new streamlined Police Scotland is desperate to be rid of corroboration and to post increased conviction rates.

They will also seek potential cost-savings, given the need for the merged eight regional forces to replace a computer network described by one Labour MSP as being "like some-thing from the Beano".

It was revealed only last week that the cost of their new IT system has rocketed from £12million to £45m. As underestimates go, that one's a dandy.

The need for corroboration is one of the reasons our police patrol in pairs, unlike counterparts in England.

ACROSS the border officers can go solo but England has in-built safeguards in a 12-juror trial system where the majority must be at least 10-2.

Will bobbies be happy to patrol Glasgow streets on their own should Chief Constable Sir Stephen House wish to spread his Police Scotland resources?

I doubt it, not when new figures show that last year there were 5555 attacks on our 17,000 police by members of the public they are sworn to protect.

The government will no doubt trumpet they are helping the victims of crime, but there must be some sound reason why this Bill is opposed by the Faculty of Advocates, the Law Society, the Sheriffs' Association, leading academics and even judges.

Lawyers, of course, have forever been accused of worrying only about profits, but this time they could plead "not guilty".

This Bill also gives all suspects taken into custody immediate access to a solicitor, so even more lawyers could be claiming even more portions of the legal aid dripping roast.

No, the genuine concern that spurious allegations could increase wrongful convictions is shared not just by the legal profession.

There is public concern, too, that police inquiries might no longer be as rigorous, or that an accused could be convicted on the uncorroborated evidence of a single witness even if five of the 15 jurors thought them innocent.

And think on this, if you are unlucky enough to have a private run-in with a boorish bobby, what are your chances when it's your word against theirs?

The jury will now retire to consider its verdict on Kenny MacAskill's juggling as corroboration goes the way of that other ancient Scots law concept, double jeopardy.

"Not proven" seems favourite, but at 285-years-old that verdict may not be around for too long, either.

IT IS a time of year when my wife shows me the sofa red card and the cat disappears under the bed.

I confess to getting overly agitated in front of the telly watching fellow-Scots in the heat of sporting battle.

The mighty Queen's Park having failed to follow Rangers into Division Two, it means wee Gordon Strachan's Croatia crackers are again the only outlet for my football viewing angst.

So pity Nancy (Mrs S) and Molly (the cat), facing a potential Wimbledon fortnight of Andy Murray and me.

Last year we were in pieces, Andy and me, after his final loss to Roger Federer.

But our boy redeemed himself, beating the Swiss big cheese for Olympic gold and then winning his first Grand Slam title, right, with US Open victory over Novak Djokovic.

Now we know Andy can win, it serves up a whole new meaning to the word torture.