Rape victim who sued man wants 'not proven' scrapped
Miss M launches campaign to remove 'confusing' verdict from Scottish courts.
A woman who sued a man cleared of raping her has launched a campaign to scrap the 'not proven' verdict in Scotland's courts.
The 23-year-old, known as 'Miss M', says the verdict is confusing.
She says she was raped by Stephen Coxen after a night out in St Andrews in 2013.
Coxen, also 23, from Bury in Greater Manchester, denied rape and said they had consensual sex.
In November 2015, a jury found the case against him 'not proven'.
But last month, in a case thought to be the first of its kind in Scotland, a sheriff in a civil court ruled Coxen did rape the woman.
She was awarded £80,000 in damages.
Miss M insists it was never about the money and believes she is unlikely to see any of the cash.
The woman now wants to bring Scots Law in line with England, where there are two rulings - 'guilty' and 'not guilty'.
Miss M told STV News: "I was 21 when the 'not proven' verdict came back.
"I didn't even know there was three verdicts. I was confused - what does 'not proven' mean?
"What does it mean for me and what does it mean for the defender?
"And going through this whole process to realise I was given a verdict that is essentially 'not guilty'.
"I feel extremely let down by the criminal system."
The campaign is being backed by the family of Amanda Duffy, a 19-year-old who was murdered in Hamilton 26 years ago.
Francis Auld stood trial and the case was found 'not 'proven', but Amanda's family launched a civil case and won £50,000 in damages.
Miss M's campaign is being backed by Rape Crisis Scotland.
Sandy Brindley, from the support service, said: "Juries in rape trials can be particularly reluctant to convict, for example around preconceived notions about how women should behave or act.
"Our worry is that the 'not proven' verdict gives juries an easy out and really contributes to what I would say are wrongful acquittals and the possibility that guilty men are walking free.
"We think it's time for the 'not proven' verdict to go."