Man Arrested for Murder of Student Karen Buckley - What Happens next?

Man Arrested for Murder of Student Karen Buckley - What Happens next?

Karen aged just 24, was reported missing by her flat mates in the early hours of Sunday, following a night out with friends at The Sanctuary nightclub in Glasgow's west end.

After her friends raised concerns with police when she did not return to their shred flat in the Garnethill area of Glasgow, a major search was launched involving police helicopters and diving teams.

As a result of the search, human remains were found on land near High Craigton farm and Windyhills Golf Club, on a country road between Glasgow and Drymen on Wednes-day evening.

Police have now arrested a 21-year-old man in connection with Ms Buckley's death and it is expected he will appear in court on Friday.

A police statement said:

"A 21 year-old man has been arrested in connection with the death of Karen Buckley. A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal. Police Scotland officers have recovered human remains on a farm in the north Glasgow, on the outskirts of Milngavie. Formal identification has yet to take place, however, police believe that they may be those of missing woman Karen Buckley. Relatives are aware. Enquiries are continuing."

Karen who is originally from Cork in Ireland, was last sighted on CCTV in the early hours of Sunday morning outside Sanctuary nightclub on Dumbarton Road.

Ireland's minister for foreign affairs Charlie Flanagan said:

"I am greatly saddened by the news emerging that Scottish police believe that a body dis-covered near Glasgow may be that of Karen Buckley. All of our thoughts and prayers are with Karen's parents, John and Marian, and with all of her family and friends at this tragic time. On behalf of the government, I wish to express appreciation for all that has been done by the Scottish authorities, and especially Police Scotland in Glasgow, to find Karen and to support the Buckley family throughout this very difficult time."

It is a tragic story and one which has drawn great public attention and sympathy. Howev-er, under the law the story is only beginning and if the discovery by police truly is linked to the disappearance of Karen Buckley, then it can only be hoped that the person re-sponsible is brought to justice.

Today at Unlock the Law we look at Criminal Investigations and Trials.

How are Crimes Investigated in Scotland?

Usually, crimes in Scotland are reported by an individual to the police. The police will then attend any relevant location where the incident reported has or may have taken place. The police will take statements from any witnesses and gather any evidence they believe to be relevant. Evidence may include CCTV footage, weapons, personal items or documents. Where the police believe they have acquired enough evidence to form a case, they will submit a report to the Procurator Fiscal who will then decide whether to prosecute the case.

In the case of Karen Buckley, whilst initially a man was held for questioning, he has now been arrested and a report is to be sent to the Procurator Fiscal (PF).

When a report is received by a PF, they will consider the evidence gathered and decide whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute an individual for the crime. If they de-cide there is not enough evidence, they may ask the police to investigate the case further. However, if the PF decides there is enough evidence they will then determine the seri-ousness of the crime and thus which court the trial should be heard in.

The most serious crimes are prosecuted in the High Court. The High Court sits perma-nently in Glasgow and Edinburgh and also travels on circuit, sitting at cities such as Perth, Aberdeen, Livingston and Paisley. All high Court trials are heard before a jury. The High Court has unlimited sentencing powers, and can even give Orders for Lifelong Re-strictions (OLR) which means that the person subject to such an order will always be sub-ject to control by authorities.

What happens at a trial?

The man arrested in connection with the disappearance of Karen Buckley is due to ap-pear in court on Friday.

At the trial, evidence will first be led by an Advocate Depute on behalf of The Crown. After all witnesses has given evidence, the defence are entitled to cross-examine each wit-ness. After all witness evidence has been led, the crown will close their case, and a joint-minute may be read. This is a statement of evidence which the crown and the defence are in agreement about. The jury must accept this statement as proven fact.

After the crown have closed their case, the defence may lead evidence of their own - however they are under no obligation to do this. The defence do not need to prove their innocence, the burden of proof lies with the crown to prove their guilt.

The crown must prove the charges against the accused through corroborated evidence, this means evidence from more than one source. The sources do not need to be of the same nature and could come from eye witnesses, circumstantial evidence or both.

The crown must be able to prove the charges against the accused beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict the accused of the offence.

Our thoughts are with Karen Buckley's family at this sad and difficult time.

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