Bellfield murdered our Milly... but court made us feel WE were on trial(3 Posts)
Bellfield murdered our Milly... but court made us feel WE were on trial
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.
It's time to make this change
... 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?
"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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