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Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Act 2008

Summary

3.This Act puts on a statutory footing a power for the courts to grant witness anonymity orders in criminal proceedings where this is consistent with the right of a defendant to a fair trial.

4.Section 1 introduces the concept of a witness anonymity order, which will apply only in criminal proceedings. It abolishes the relevant common law rules.

5.Section 2 describes what is a “witness anonymity order” and lists the kinds of measures the court may use to secure the witness’s anonymity.

6.Section 3 sets out who may apply for a witness anonymity order.

7.Section 4 sets out the three conditions for making an order.

8.Section 5 sets out the considerations to which the court must have regard when deciding whether the conditions set out in section 4 are met.

9.Section 6 provides for an order to be discharged or varied.

10.Section 7 requires the judge to give a warning to the jury in Crown Court trials, of such a kind as the judge considers appropriate, to ensure that the fact that a witness anonymity order been made does not prejudice the defendant.

11.Section 8 provides for the application of the witness anonymity provisions in relation to criminal proceedings before the service courts.

12.Section 9 sets out the proceedings to which the new rules apply.

13.Section 10 makes transitional provisions in respect of criminal proceedings which have begun, but not ended, before commencement and in which an order has already been made under the common law.

14.Section 11 provides for appeals where the conviction took place before the Act comes into force.

15.Section 12 defines terms which are used in the Act.

16.Section 13 provides for the commencement of the Act.

17.Section 14 provides for the expiry of the power to make witness anonymity orders.

18.Section 15 sets out the short title and provides for the extent of the Act.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

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