Children in court - Part 2

Key point no 2

The time between committal and the completion of evidence of the child

a. The time from the committal to the listed trial day

b. The punctuality of the start of the trial on the listed day

c. The waiting time of the child in court before giving evidence or being released

d. The total time spent in the court building

a. The time from committal to the listed trial day

All cases that go to the Crown Court must first be considered at a committal hearing at the magistrates court.2 A fast track system should be in place for cases involving child witnesses. Fast tracking means the local procedures which are designed to ensure that cases are brought to trial as soon as justice allows. Currently, local committees (Area Criminal Justice Liaison Committees) can define fast tracking as applicable to all child witness cases or just sexual cases.

b. The punctuality of the start of the trial on the listed day

c. The waiting time of the child in court before giving evidence or being released (ie. attending court and then not being required to testify)

Since the publication of the first Courts Charter in 1992, the Crown Courts have aimed not to keep witnesses waiting more than two hours before calling them to give evidence.

Table: how long the child waited in court before giving evidence or being released

Time waited 1994 1995
0 - 30 mins 36 13
½ - 1 hour 23 20
1 - 2 hours 67 85
2 - 4 hours 138 177
4 - 6 hours 80 106
Over 1 day 96 102
Not Known 15 6
Not Applicable 6 0
Total children 461 539

Table: duration of evidence (1995 only)

Duration 1995
0 - 30 mins 63
½ - 1 hour 77
1 - 2 hours 100
2 - 4 hours 49
4 - 6 hours 7
Over 1 day 9
Not Known 36
Not Applicable 198
Total no children 539

Table: total time spent in court building

Duration 1994 1995
0 - 30 mins 3 2
½ - 1 hour 7 2
1 - 2 hours 43 39
2 - 4 hours 115 143
4 - 6 hours 122 179
Over 1 day 151 132
Not Known 10 29
N A 10 13
Total no children 461 539

d. The total time spent in the court building (ie. waiting time and time spent giving evidence)


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