Scotland's paradoxical law

Alistair Moffat complains (NS Scotland, 15 November) that the passing of Mike Watson's bill to ban fox-hunting in Scotland would mean that "for the first time in 300 years, the border will become a meaningful frontier" and will lead to a situation where "you will be able to do something in Northumberland that will get you arrested in Berwickshire". Really? Between the passing into law of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 and the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980, it remained a criminal offence for two men to have sex with each other in Scotland, while this was not the case in England. Paradoxically, while in England the presence of a policeman under the bed was enough to render the sexual act no longer in private (and thus illegally naughty), evidence given by that single policeman was enough to secure a conviction. In Scotland, despite gay sex being illegal in any circumstance, there had to be evidence from two policemen under the bed to provide the corroboration required by Scots law.

John Hein
Editor, ScotsGay