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Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Act 2008

Commentary on Sections

Section 1:  New rules relating to anonymity of witnesses

22.Subsection (1) introduces the concept of a witness anonymity order, which is defined in section 2(1). It makes it clear that such orders, as provided for by the Act, apply only in criminal proceedings.

23.Subsection (2) provides that the common law rules on witness anonymity are abolished. The common law rules thus abolished, and replaced by the Act, are those which allow the court to make an order to secure that the identity of a witness is withheld from the defendant or, in the case of defence applications, another defendant. Any common law rules which provide for other kinds of anonymity, for example any that might apply to the court’s power to hold proceedings in camera, are not affected by the Act.

24.Subsection (3) provides that the Act does not affect the common law rules on public interest immunity (PII). PII applications will often be made by the prosecution in cases involving witness anonymity.

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