Striking a Balance between the Rights of Defendants and Vulnerable Witnesses: Will Special Measures Directions Contravene Guarantees of a Fair Trial?
Criminal Law Review, p. 948, 2001
Posted: 10 Nov 2008
Date Written: December 7, 2001
The Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 enables courts to issue Special Measures Directions to protect children and other vulnerable witnesses. This article reviewed the compatibility of these measures with the fair trial guarantee contained in article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Subject to a few doubtful cases, including the withholding of Special Measures from child defendants, the great majority of Special Measures Directions were concluded to be likely to be ECHR-compatible. It was cited with approval by the House of Lords in R v Camberwell Green Youth Court ex parte D  UKHL 4,  1 WLR 393, in holding that the 'primary rule' regime for child witnesses was compatible with article 6, but expressing doubt about the exclusion of child defendants from Special Measures.
Keywords: child witnesses
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