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Vulnerable victims in UK to be given new courtroom protections

Sculpture of Themis, mythological

The new technology allows vulnerable witnesses and victims to have their cross-examination video-recorded earlier in the process and played during the trial. This is to ensure they can provide their best evidence, away from the courtroom which many can often find intimidating.

The recording is carried out as close to the time of the offence as possible in order to help memory recall, and reduce the stress of giving evidence to a full courtroom at trial.

The move follows successful pilots in Liverpool, Leeds, and Kingston-upon-Thames, where victims felt less pressure than attending court.

Vulnerable witnesses and victims are defined as all child witnesses under 18 and any witness who quality of evidence is likely to be diminished because they are suffering from a mental or physical disability or has significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning.

“Vulnerable victims show great courage by coming forward, and it’s vital they can do so in the least traumatic way possible.”

“This technology ensures they are protected and are able to give their best possible evidence, without reducing a defendant’s right to a fair trial.” said Justice Minister, Alex Chalk MP.

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