Q198: Can I give evidence in court behind a screen?
There are a number of measures that can be used for any vulnerable or intimidated witness. Some people automatically assume vulnerable status within the court process:
- All child witnesses under 18 at time of giving evidence;
- Any person suffering from a mental disorder;
- Any person suffering from a learning disability;
- Any person who is physically disabled;
- Any witness whose evidence is likely to be diminished through fear or distress.
The police have the responsibility of notifying the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) at the earliest possible stage of any measures that may be required. The CPS will then make an application to the Court for a Special Measure Direction and the Court will decide if the measures will help the witness to give their 'best evidence'.
Special measures include:
- Screening the witness from the accused;
- Giving evidence through a live link;
- Giving evidence in private;
- Removal of wigs and gowns;
- Use of communication aids;
- Video recording of interview used as evidence;
- Examination of the witness through a third party.
You will not be prevented from being seen by the Judge or Justices, jury (if there is one), legal representatives, interpreter or other persons appointed to assist the witness. For further help and information please see the websites in Related Information.