Vulnerable individuals now have the option to pre-record evidence in all Crown courts across England and Wales in the latest government move to relieve pressure on victims of crime.
From today, vulnerable alleged victims and witnesses such as children or people with disabilities will be able to pre-record cross-examination evidence to avoid the stress of addressing a full courtroom. Cross-examinations are video-recorded as close to the time of the offence as possible, and defence and prosecution lawyers, the judge and the defendant are present in court during the recording.
Andrew Penhale, chief crown prosecutor, added: ‘The CPS is very conscious that being cross-examined at trial is particularly difficult for children and other vulnerable witnesses, many of whom have been exposed to very distressing and unpleasant crimes. Waiting for the trial process can inevitably add to their anxiety so the fact this measure can significantly reduce the time they have to wait to give evidence will make a huge difference. In the current circumstances, we know reducing delay is more important than ever.’