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Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) (Scotland) Act 2019

Deemed vulnerable witnesses

Section 3 – Deemed vulnerable witnesses in certain solemn cases

26.Section 3 provides a power for the Scottish Ministers to make regulations extending the application of section 271BZA so that the new rule applies where deemed vulnerable witnesses are to give evidence in solemn proceedings. (Deemed vulnerable witnesses are vulnerable witnesses falling within section 271(1)(c) of the 1995 Act). As child witnesses are covered by the new rule under section 271BZA, the regulation making power does not extend to deemed vulnerable witnesses who are also child witnesses.

27.Regulations under this section may apply the new rule to all adult deemed vulnerable witnesses or to subcategories of adult deemed vulnerable witnesses. The regulations may specify descriptions of deemed vulnerable witness to whom the new rule is to apply. One way of describing a subcategory of deemed vulnerable witnesses would be to describe them by reference to the offence that is alleged to have been committed against them. For example, regulations under section 3 may provide that the new rule is to apply to complainers in cases involving allegations of rape.

28.Regulations under this section may apply section 271BZA to deemed vulnerable witnesses with modifications that the Scottish Ministers consider necessary or expedient. An example would be modifications to remove the references to “child witness” from section 271BZA for the purposes of applying the section to adult deemed vulnerable witnesses. Regulations may make different provision for different purposes, including for different courts or descriptions of courts or different descriptions of deemed vulnerable witnesses.

29.Any regulations made under this section are subject to the affirmative procedure.

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