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Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999

Section 27: Video recorded evidence in chief

112.This section allows a video-recorded interview to take the place of a witness’s evidence in chief, both at trial and for the purposes of committal proceedings (subsection (10)).

113.Subsections (2) and (3) allow video recordings to be excluded and edited if the interests of justice so require. In deciding whether to allow only an edited recording to be used in evidence, courts will have to consider whether the parts sought to be excluded are so prejudicial as to outweigh the desirability of using the whole recording.

114.Subsection (4) provides that, where a direction has been made for a recording to be shown to the court, the court can later exclude the recording if there is not enough information available about how and where the recording was made or if the witness who made the recording is not available for further questioning (whether by video, in court or by live link) and the parties to the case have not agreed that this is unnecessary. However, courts will retain the discretion to admit the recording in these circumstances.

115.The video recording (as edited, in a case where that is required) will form the whole of a witness’s evidence in chief unless:

  • the witness is asked to give evidence about matters not covered in the recorded interview; or

  • the court gives permission for the witness to be asked further questions about matters not covered adequately in the recorded interview. Subsections (5)(b) and (7) allow courts to give such permission on their own initiative or on an application by one of the parties to the case if that party can show that there has been a material change of circumstances since the direction to admit the video recording was made.

116.If the witness is asked to give further evidence, subsection (9) allows courts to direct that the evidence should be given by live link and, as in other circumstances where a live link is provided, allows temporary facilities to be authorised for magistrates' courts.

117.Witnesses aged 14 or over who make a video recording that is intended to take the place of their evidence-in-chief will either swear an oath at the beginning of the interview, if someone is available to administer the oath and they are capable of being sworn, or give evidence unsworn.

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