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Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003

Section 30: Hearing witnesses in the UK through television links

89.This section introduces arrangements so that, for the first time, courts can take video evidence of witnesses for transmission abroad. All requests will be sent to the Secretary of State, (or, in Scotland, the Lord Advocate), who will then nominate a court where the hearing will take place. The proceedings will be subject to section 1 of the Perjury Act 1911, (in Northern Ireland, Article 3 of the Perjury (Northern Ireland) Order 1979, and, in Scotland, sections 44 to 46 of the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 or any matter pertaining to the common law crime of perjury), and the rules on contempt of court will apply to the hearing. Although the hearing will not be a UK court proceeding, states must (in accordance with Article 10(8) of the MLAC), be able to deal with witnesses who refuse to testify or do not testify according to the truth under their domestic law.

90.Subsection (6) makes reference to Schedule 2 to the Act which makes provision on procedural matters such as securing attendance of witnesses, the conduct of the hearing, and witness privilege. The domestic court must ensure that it protects the rights and privileges of the witness (such as the privilege against self-incrimination) and is to intervene where necessary to safeguard the rights of the witness. Translation must be available for the benefit of the court as well as the witness.

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