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Victims of rape able to avoid cross-examination in court

On 12 May 2022 the Ministry of Justice announced further roll-out of a scheme that allows victims of rape to give pre-recorded evidence rather than be cross-examined during trial. The scheme, which has already been in place in 12 Crown Courts across the country, allows victims and witnesses of crimes such as rape and modern slavery to have their cross-examination video-recorded at an earlier date and played in court during the trial. The government has committed to rolling out the scheme nationwide by September 2022.

This extended roll-out follows the implementation in August 2020 of a similar scheme in relation to vulnerable victims including children or those with limited mental capacity in Crown Courts across England and Wales.

Any decision to pre-record evidence is made by a Judge on a case-by-case basis. The government has provided guidance on the use of this measure, which can be found here.

From 12 May 2022 the scheme is available in Crown Courts in Sheffield, Doncaster, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Southampton, the Isle of Wight, Winchester, Bournemouth, Bristol, Exeter, Gloucester, Plymouth, Salisbury and Truro.

For the full government announcement, click here.

Julia Queen, Barrister, Coram Chambers