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Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014

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10Vulnerable witnesses: main definitions

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In section 271 of the 1995 Act (vulnerable witnesses: main definitions)—

(a)for subsection (1), substitute—

(1)For the purposes of this Act, a person who is giving or is to give evidence at, or for the purposes of, a hearing in relevant criminal proceedings is a vulnerable witness if—

(a)the person is under the age of 18 on the date of commencement of the proceedings in which the hearing is being or is to be held,

(b)there is a significant risk that the quality of the evidence to be given by the person will be diminished by reason of—

(i)mental disorder (within the meaning of section 328 of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003), or

(ii)fear or distress in connection with giving evidence at the hearing,

(c)the offence is alleged to have been committed against the person in proceedings for—

(i)an offence listed in any of paragraphs 36 to 59ZL of Schedule 3 to the Sexual Offences Act 2003,

(ii)an offence under section 22 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 (traffic in prostitution etc.),

(iii)an offence under section 4 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004 (trafficking people for exploitation),

(iv)an offence the commission of which involves domestic abuse, or

(v)an offence of stalking, or

(d)there is considered to be a significant risk of harm to the person by reason only of the fact that the person is giving or is to give evidence in the proceedings.,

(b)after subsection (1), insert—

(1AA)The Scottish Ministers may by order subject to the affirmative procedure modify subsection (1)(c).,

(c)subsection (1A) is repealed,

(d)in subsection (2), after “(1)(b)” insert “or (d)”, and

(e)after subsection (4), insert—

(4A)In determining whether a person is a vulnerable witness under subsection (1)(b) or (d), the court must—

(a)have regard to the best interests of the witness, and

(b)take account of any views expressed by the witness..

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