JIS News

By year’s end, Jamaica’s children may be able to give testimony in court via live video links, in order to reduce the trauma associated with testifying in person.
Rape victims could also be next in line to benefit from this impending development.
Speaking with JIS News, Consultant in the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Canute Brown said: “We have young vulnerable witnesses and we also have witnesses who are intimidated, and hence would not come forward to testify. But I think as a first step, we could deal with the children, and then move on to adults, like the victims of rape”.
“It is not easy to have them come into a witness box, and testify about their ordeal in the presence of the person who perpetrated the act. It is difficult,” he added.
He pointed out that in England and in other Commonwealth countries, they had sought to solve this problem, by making elaborate provisions in their laws. “I don’t see why we can’t,” Mr. Brown said.
Explaining how the new system would operate, Mr. Brown said that the prosecutor or defence would be able to question the victim, as the entire proceeding would be live. The victims for their part could be participating from any location, including a safe house.
He noted that testifying via video link was not new, but had only been previously used in civil, rather than criminal cases.

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