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Coroners and Justice Act 2009

Section 93: Discharge or variation by appeal court

480.This section provides that an “appeal court” (defined in subsection (6) as the Court of Appeal, Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland or Court Martial Appeal Court) can discharge or vary a witness anonymity order made in the proceedings which gave rise to the appeal. Under this Chapter as under the CEWAA, an appeal court already has the power to make a witness anonymity order itself. However, this power does not of itself give it the power to discharge or vary an order made by the lower court.

481.This section gives an appeal court the flexibility it requires. There is no provision for an application procedure: it is intended that the power will be exercised by the appeal court of its own motion, how and when it thinks fit. The provision also applies to witness anonymity orders made under the CEWAA (see paragraph 16 of Schedule 22).

482.Subsection (1) sets out that the power applies where a court has made a witness anonymity order in a criminal trial and the defendant has been convicted, found not guilty by reason of insanity or been found to be under a disability and to have done the act charged. The new power will therefore apply in any appeal against conviction or other finding.

483.Subsection (2) gives an appeal court the discretion to take into account a wide range of factors before discharging or varying an anonymity order.

484.Subsection (3) requires the appeal court to hear any representations made by the parties to the trial proceedings, unless it would be impracticable to communicate with them. This mirrors the duty of the lower court to hear representations from the parties before making, discharging or varying an order during the course of the trial.

485.Under subsection (4) the duty to hear representations does not fetter the appeal court’s power to hear a party in the absence of one or more of the defendants and their legal representatives.

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