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Evidence

Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what assessment she has made of the merits of filming evidence given by witnesses (a) to the police and (b) during a trial for use in appeal cases. (139745)

For some years video recorded statements have been admitted in court in the place of evidence-in-chief for children and vulnerable adult witnesses with the aim of assisting them to give their best evidence. Independent research commissioned by the Home Office and published in 2004 found that 91 per cent. of witnesses who gave evidence by means of a video recorded statement found this beneficial because: they did not have to appear in court, it made it easier to give their evidence, they were less scared, it helped them to remember information and it was given in a comfortable environment. (Hamlyn, Phelps, Turtle and Sattar: “Are Special Measures Working? Evidence from surveys of vulnerable and intimidated witnesses”—London: Home Office Research Study No. 283 (June 2004), available at

www.homeoffice.gov:uk/rds/pdfs04/hors283.pdf.

No separate assessment has been made of the merits of filming witnesses giving evidence during trial, including the resource implications, although a limited investigation has been undertaken into the technology required.