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Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

21Special provisions relating to child witnesses
This section has no associated Explanatory Notes

(1)For the purposes of this section—

(a)a witness in criminal proceedings is a “child witness” if he is an eligible witness by reason of section 16(1)(a) (whether or not he is an eligible witness by reason of any other provision of section 16 or 17);

(b)a child witness is “in need of special protection” if the offence (or any of the offences) to which the proceedings relate is—

(i)an offence falling within section 35(3)(a) (sexual offences etc.), or

(ii)an offence falling within section 35(3)(b), (c) or (d) (kidnapping, assaults etc.); and

(c)a “relevant recording”, in relation to a child witness, is a video recording of an interview of the witness made with a view to its admission as evidence in chief of the witness.

(2)Where the court, in making a determination for the purposes of section 19(2), determines that a witness in criminal proceedings is a child witness, the court must—

(a)first have regard to subsections (3) to (7) below; and

(b)then have regard to section 19(2);

and for the purposes of section 19(2), as it then applies to the witness, any special measures required to be applied in relation to him by virtue of this section shall be treated as if they were measures determined by the court, pursuant to section 19(2)(a) and (b)(i), to be ones that (whether on their own or with any other special measures) would be likely to maximise, so far as practicable, the quality of his evidence.

(3)The primary rule in the case of a child witness is that the court must give a special measures direction in relation to the witness which complies with the following requirements—

(a)it must provide for any relevant recording to be admitted under section 27 (video recorded evidence in chief); and

(b)it must provide for any evidence given by the witness in the proceedings which is not given by means of a video recording (whether in chief or otherwise) to be given by means of a live link in accordance with section 24.

(4)The primary rule is subject to the following limitations—

(a)the requirement contained in subsection (3)(a) or (b) has effect subject to the availability (within the meaning of section 18(2)) of the special measure in question in relation to the witness;

(b)the requirement contained in subsection (3)(a) also has effect subject to section 27(2); and

(c)the rule does not apply to the extent that the court is satisfied that compliance with it would not be likely to maximise the quality of the witness’s evidence so far as practicable (whether because the application to that evidence of one or more other special measures available in relation to the witness would have that result or for any other reason).

(5)However, subsection (4)(c) does not apply in relation to a child witness in need of special protection.

(6)Where a child witness is in need of special protection by virtue of subsection (1)(b)(i), any special measures direction given by the court which complies with the requirement contained in subsection (3)(a) must in addition provide for the special measure available under section 28 (video recorded cross-examination or re-examination) to apply in relation to—

(a)any cross-examination of the witness otherwise than by the accused in person, and

(b)any subsequent re-examination.

(7)The requirement contained in subsection (6) has effect subject to the following limitations—

(a)it has effect subject to the availability (within the meaning of section 18(2)) of that special measure in relation to the witness; and

(b)it does not apply if the witness has informed the court that he does not want that special measure to apply in relation to him.

(8)Where a special measures direction is given in relation to a child witness who is an eligible witness by reason only of section 16(1)(a), then—

(a)subject to subsection (9) below, and

(b)except where the witness has already begun to give evidence in the proceedings,

the direction shall cease to have effect at the time when the witness attains the age of 17.

(9)Where a special measures direction is given in relation to a child witness who is an eligible witness by reason only of section 16(1)(a) and—

(a)the direction provides—

(i)for any relevant recording to be admitted under section 27 as evidence in chief of the witness, or

(ii)for the special measure available under section 28 to apply in relation to the witness, and

(b)if it provides for that special measure to so apply, the witness is still under the age of 17 when the video recording is made for the purposes of section 28,

then, so far as it provides as mentioned in paragraph (a)(i) or (ii) above, the direction shall continue to have effect in accordance with section 20(1) even though the witness subsequently attains that age.

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