Rape complainants advised pre-recorded proof might hurt case | UK | News | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Rape complainants have been warned that utilizing video proof might hurt the prospect of seeing their alleged attacker convicted.

New analysis has discovered there’s a 20% discount in conviction charges if the complainant requests “special measures” in court docket. Introduced in 2016, the measures enable witnesses to be cross-examined and interviewed away from the attacker.

While initially used for circumstances thought of beneath the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act, they have been expanded to incorporate all grownup circumstances in 2021. Other varieties of particular measures embrace screens in court docket, and barristers altering from robes and wigs to fits or formal apparel.

A brand new examine has discovered there are 10% fewer convictions in trials using particular measures. For rape, convictions have been 20% decrease, reviews the BBC.

Prof Cheryl Thomas KC, at UCL Faculty of Laws, mentioned Section 28 “may need reform”. She mentioned: “It would be prudent for police and the Crown Prosecution Service to routinely advise witnesses of lower conviction rates.”

This is due to “such a strong and consistent correlation between the use of Section 28 evidence and lower jury conviction rates”.

John Riley, from the Criminal Bar Association, says the absense of a witness in each components of proof can influence how a jury sees a case. He mentioned: “The complainant’s police interview serves as an investigative tool and their evidence in chief.

“The high quality of this interview might be very diversified. Sometimes, the complainant is a long way from cameras.

“The defendant is always in person before the jury. The absence of a witness in person in both parts of the complainant’s evidence can have a negative impact on the jury.”

Complainants who request particular measures can, in idea, change and provides in-person proof however the defence must agree. Riley added: “They may argue the complainant is unfairly getting two bites of the cherry, being cross-examined twice with a better knowledge of the line of questioning by that point

“Special measures can’t be a panacea for all of the deficiencies within the system, particularly the backlog. There must be a assessment.”

The Government told the BBC it would review the study but says “pre-recorded proof helps these extraordinarily weak victims who could in any other case really feel unable to have their voices heard to see justice carried out”.