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Pre-taping cross-examination ‘still possible’

Pre-taping cross-examination ‘still possible’

Pre-recording the cross-examination of children and vulnerable witnesses for court cases is still being actively considered, Attorney General Dominic Grieve has stressed.

Mr Grieve said colleagues at the Ministry of Justice were in talks with various partner organisations about the possibility of piloting pre-recorded cross-examination. At the moment children or adults with disabilities or communication problems giving evidence have to face the possibility of high-pressure cross-examination, either face-to-face in court or via a television link.

Mr Grieve said: “While we need to think it through carefully, because it may in some cases be unfair to the defendant, I have always believed the problems are not insurmountable.”

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman, meanwhile, said it was considering how to “better support” vulnerable and intimidated witnesses when they were appearing in court cases. Provision for pre-recorded cross-examination was made in the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 but has not been brought into force.

Mr Grieve, the UK’s chief legal adviser, made his comments during a reception at Kingston University.

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