Our thanks to Y for this in The Independent. I’ve added the word ‘Alleged’ to the paper’s headline, above, in the interests of accuracy. From the piece:
Rape victims [ALLEGED rape victims] will be spared the ordeal of giving evidence in court under reforms being brought forward by the Government.
Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss said that, from September, their cross-examination will be pre-recorded and then played to the jury during the trial.
A paragraph unwittingly revealing that women are held to the same standards as children by the criminal justice system:
The Ministry of Justice said the move followed a successful pilot pre-recording the evidence of child victims of sex offences which showed they felt less pressure and were better able to recall events.
Ian, our legal advisor, comments (the emphases are his):
It is a fundamental part of British ‘justice’ that witnesses can be cross-examined.
It is not fair just or reasonable for witnesses to give evidence and then not be allowed to be challenged on the evidence.
This is a further erosion of the limited rights to a fair trial.
Article 6 of the ECHR reads as follows.
- In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interest of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.
- Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.
- Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:
(a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;
(b) to have adequate time and the facilities for the preparation of his defence;
(c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require;
(d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;
(e) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court.
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