Children in court - Part 2

Key point no 3

How the child's evidence was taken

a. Method of recording the child's evidence

b. Use of video tape as evidence in chief

c. Applications for screens and CCTV

d. Provision of personal support to the child while they were giving evidence

a. Method of recording the child's evidence

Video evidence was originally introduced in order to spare children the ordeal of having to give their evidence in court.

Table: method of recording the child's evidence

a. Statement Evidence Sexual Charges Other Charges
1994 1995 1994 1995
Written statement made 105 97 121 152
......read by child at court N/Rec 86 N/Rec 136
.....not read by child at court N/Rec 3 N/Rec 10
.....N/K if statement read N/Rec 8 1 6

N/K = not known N/Rec = not recorded

b. Videotaped Evidence Sexual Charges Other Charges
1994 1995 1994 1995
Video made by Police 191 241 9 21
....... seen by child pre-trial 112 169 2 13
....... not seen by child pre-trial 57 29 5 5
....... transcript read N/Rec 4 0 1
N/K if video seen pre-trial 22 39 2 2
c. Video as evidence-in-chief Sexual Charges Other Charges
1994 1995 1994 1995
(No of videos made in total) 191 241 9 21
Video used as evidence-in-chief 108 133 2 11
Video not used as evidence-in-chief and .............. 72 97 5 10
a. where the child gave evidence live or ............ 40 31 0 0
b. where the child did not give evidence at all 32 61 5 10
Not known if video used 11 5 2 0
d. Recording method for child's evidence not known 18 21 9  

b. Use of video tape as evidence in chief

Evidence in chief is the evidence which a witness gives in response to an examination on behalf of either the defence or prosecution barrister, depending on who called them as a witness. If a video tape is used as evidence in chief this means that the child gives their evidence by means of a video tape rather than live in court. Once evidence in chief has been completed, the witness can be cross examined on the evidence that is contained in the video.

c. Applications for CCTV and Screens

The CCTV system is designed to spare child witnesses from the ordeal of appearing in the court room, while preserving the right of the defence to question the witness and giving the jury the opportunity to observe the child while they are being cross examined.

Applications for video link

Screens at court can be used to assist child witnesses by reducing their visibility of, and sightings by, the defendant, which may cause them undue distress.

Applications for screens

d. Provision of personal support to the child while giving evidence

Child Accompanied by ... Total No 1994 Total No 1995
Witness Service 76 66
Parent/Guardian 44 32
Social Worker 8 2
Independent Adult N/A 2
Other/Not known 19 33
Alone 4 22
Police 5 0
Usher 25 0
Total no. giving evidence in court 181 157

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