Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, those whose job it is to carry out a task get it dreadfully wrong.

The gender recognition legislation which the Scottish Parliament passed is a prime example. Leave aside that it was not legislation which the Scottish Parliament should have been trying to bring into law on technical grounds and focus instead on the intent of the legislators, the practical effects of the law they sought to pass and the views of the public.

Those MSPs, from all parties, who voted for the Gender Recognition Act will have done so with good motives. They felt a small group of individuals who faced social and practical difficulties because of their fundamental feelings of who they were should get a better deal. A key part of democracy is the protection of the rights of minorities, so fair enough.

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The actual Gender Recognition Act itself, though, was absurd. At the heart of it was the idea that a person could, with no external scrutiny, no medical review and after only a little time, self-declare that they had changed gender from the one they had been "assigned" at birth to the one they wanted to be.

This approach trampled on the rights of women and was a boon to sexual predators as the person who called himself Isla Bryson and pretended to be a woman but was actually a double-rapist, a man call Adam Graham, vividly and rapidly demonstrated.

The role of the public is the key one here. Many people warned the Scottish Government that their approach was terribly flawed but in her arrogance former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her cohorts would have none of it. The doubters were dismissed as misguided or nasty when they were, in fact, right.

The public as a whole, whilst sympathetic to those who felt they did not fit in their own bodies thought, by a large majority, that you were not assigned a gender at birth, it was just a fact, and that a woman was an adult female and a man an adult male, that biological sex was real and mattered.

The politicians ignored the public and ploughed on. That political conceit contributed mightily to the downfall of Nicola Sturgeon. In the end, the unlikely hero who rode to the rescue was Alister Jack, the Secretary of State for Scotland, but in truth the public had done for the Gender Recognition Act before that final cut.

The Herald: Former First Minister Nicola SturgeonFormer First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Image: free)

The Scottish Government and its law officers, led by Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC, have now decided that not enough people brought to trial for sexual offences are convicted. Their focus here is not that there is too much sexual offending - which there is, or whether enough cases are brought to trial - which there are not, but that those pesky juries won’t do what the politicians and prosecutors want them to do and convict more of the accused.

The SNP Government's solution to this is to do away with juries for serious sexual offences. This proposal should have us all rioting in the streets.

I have served on two juries. In both cases the prosecution did not get the result they sought and the accused walked free.

What has really stayed with me, though, is not the outcomes but the experience. Fifteen people randomly selected and thrown together to hear complex evidence, assess the truthfulness of those giving that evidence and then debate together until they reached a conclusion which would lead to huge implications for the accused, the alleged victim and their families.

After both cases I reflected on just how good the jury process was. Everybody took their task seriously, everybody did their best. My overwhelming feeling was that if I stood accused of something terrible then a jury of my fellow citizens was the best way to reach a fair conclusion on my guilt or innocence. Alex Salmond, I suspect, feels the same.

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Juries don’t have targets to hit, they don’t get any money either way, or promotion or fame, they don’t get re-educated if they reach the wrong answer, they are not picked because they think a particular way, they just do their job and fade way. Best of all they bring the richness of their different real life experiences to their task. They see through contrived evidence, the technical fog of law or a pompous lawyer, they aim for that greatest British quality; fair play.

Dumping juries because they allegedly give the wrong answers is an insult to the citizens of our country and removes the greatest and final line of defence we all have when accused of something dreadful - the honest judgement of our peers.

Added to this , removing juries is a lazy way to improve justice for the victims of sexual crimes. What about putting more police on the beat and giving more of them specialist training, employing more counsellors, creating more spaces which give women confidence they will be cared for and listened to, investing in more forensic capability in order to provide better evidence? These cost money but they don’t strike at the heart of our justice system.

The removal of juries for any serious crimes is an appalling idea which should be stopped in its tracks. The well-meaning experts do not know best.