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Vulnerable Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2004

Section 271B – Further special provision for child witnesses under the age of 12

17.This section provides a general rule that children under 12 are to give evidence away from the court building in certain cases. These cases (listed in subsection (2)) involve abduction, plagium (theft of a child), and offences of a sexual or violent nature. This means that the special measures that would be appropriate in these cases would either be evidence on commission or a live television link to a remote location.

18.Subsection (3) creates the general rule and sets out two exceptions to it. The first exception is for cases where a child witness chooses to give evidence in court and it is considered appropriate by the court for the child to do so. The second exception would be where taking the child’s evidence outwith the court would give rise to a significant risk of prejudice to the trial and that risk significantly outweighs any risk of prejudice to the interests of the child.

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Text created by the Scottish Government 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 Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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