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Bellfield murdered our Milly... but court made us feel WE were on trial

(3 Posts)
Phoenix1 Sun 26-Jun-11 18:32:26

Bellfield murdered our Milly... but court made us feel WE were on trial

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3658429/Milly-Dowlers-sister-hits-out-at-cruel-court-grillings-of-her-family.html#ixzz1QGB0htMf

Open message to the Prime Minister from The Phoenix Chief Advocates - Shy Keenan, Sara Payne MBE and Fiona Crook: If you are really listening then please hear this Mr Cameron, victims and witnesses want/need legally aided solicitors and free family advocates, anything less will never be equal or fair justice.

http://pub47.bravenet.com/forum/static/show.php?usernum=3999352213&frmid=8356&msgid=917102&cmd=show

It's time to make this change

dotnet Tue 28-Jun-11 18:32:04

... Surely in cases where witnesses/ bereaved relatives are clearly going to experience a lot of distress in the course of being questioned, it should be possible to take them into a separate room with a video link to the courtroom. That would lessen the stress a bit... what do other people think?

mayorquimby Tue 28-Jun-11 23:10:12

"it should be possible to take them into a separate room with a video link to the courtroom."

I'm not sure. I think in exceptional cases involving children and perhaps those who are claiming to be the direct victims of a particularly oppressive/violent crime or a sexual crime or where there has been a history of witness intimidation by the accused but I'm not sure if I'd like it to become the norm or include those who are family members or indirect victims of a crime.
Two reasons for this. Firstly the accused has a right to face his accuser in open court, however I would not put a great deal of weight in this although it must be considered, as the courts should evolve and implement new technology as soceity and technology evolves.
The main reason I would hold off on it is I'd want a study conducted on its potential affect on jurors receiving the testimony, as I believe it has the potential to have negative affects either way.
Body language is a huge part of witness testimony and their credibility may hang on making a connection with the jurors, could this lead to a drop in convictions if jurors feel unable to connect to images on a screen rather than a person in the witness box?
Or may some jurors take the fact that the witness has to testify via video link due to distress/fear of the accused as an implication of guilt thus affecting the defendants presumption of innocence?

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