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    <p class=”mol-para-with-font”>Moves to allow more court evidence to be given on video could lead to a rise in the number of miscarriages of justice, lawyers warned last night.</p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>The proposal is part of sweeping changes being put forward by the head of the Crown Prosecution Service.</p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>Max Hill QC says the way witnesses give evidence in court has fallen behind modern technology.</p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>The Director of Public Prosecutions claims that allowing video statements, instead of the current system of witnesses giving evidence in court, could make trials more efficient.</p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>His plans to massively extend the use of video evidence would also include footage from police officers’ body cams.</p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>But last night leading barrister Daniel Janner QC said the DPP’s proposals could cause ‘havoc’ and even lead to miscarriages of justice.</p><div class=”artSplitter mol-img-group” style=”style”> <div class=”mol-img”> <div class=”image-wrap”> Max Hill QC says the way witnesses give evidence in court has fallen behind modern technology. (stock image of Lady Justice) </div> <noscript> Max Hill QC says the way witnesses give evidence in court has fallen behind modern technology. (stock image of Lady Justice) </noscript> </div> <div><div> <span></span> <div></div></div></div><p class=”imageCaption”>Max Hill QC says the way witnesses give evidence in court has fallen behind modern technology.

    (stock image of Lady Justice) </p></div><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>’It is essential that the complainant’s evidence is tested properly and fairly, so that a jury can make a decision,’ Mr Janner said.</p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>’These proposals are bordering on creating a system where a suspect does not get an appropriate right to cross-examine and test the evidence. </p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>’They could cause havoc in the criminal justice system, and in the administration of justice.'</p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>He said he believed the DPP is coming under ‘unfair pressure’ chest pains from low blood sugar victims’ rights groups to introduce changes that risk skewing the court process too heavily against defendants.</p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>Mr Hill said in a speech at King’s College London yesterday: ‘The current way in which witness evidence is adduced has not kept pace with modern technology.</p><div><div data-track-module=”am-related_carousel^related_carousel” data-track-selector=”.rotator-panels a:not([class*=external])” data-dm-rotator-rotate=”false” data-track-pos=”static” data-preferred-shared-network-enabled=”” data-dm-rotator-auto-init=”” id=”p-20″ class=”related-carousel with-fb-or-tw news half” data-dm-rotator-active-class=”active” data-dm-rotator-page-count=”1.0″ data-dm-social-article-auto-init=”” data-dm-rotator-page-size=”1″> <div class=”rotator bdrcc”> <div class=”rotator-title”> <h2>RELATED ARTICLES</h2> <ul class=”rotator-pages link-xocc”> <li class=”rotator-prev”>Previous

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    </div> </div><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>’The process of providing live evidence should not be a test of a witness’s memory – and in some ways our current system relies on outdated assumptions around witnesses and the purpose of giving evidence. </p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>’Might the court – and justice – be better served if witnesses recorded a video statement at an early stage in the proceedings, which is then played as their evidence-in-chief?</p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>’This already happens as a special measure for vulnerable victims and witnesses.

    And might body-worn video, which police officers automatically record at crime scenes, be one way to record these statements?'</p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>Any changes to the way witnesses give evidence are likely to need adjustments to the law made by Parliament.</p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>Mr Hill also advocated carrying on with remote court hearings – introduced during the pandemic – for simpler cases.</p><div class=”artSplitter mol-img-group” style=”style”> <div class=”mol-img”> <div class=”image-wrap”> Any changes to the way witnesses give evidence are likely to need adjustments to the law made by Parliament. (stock image) </div> <noscript> Any changes to the way witnesses give evidence are likely to need adjustments to the law made by Parliament. (stock image) </noscript> </div> <p class=”imageCaption”>Any changes to the way witnesses give evidence are likely to need adjustments to the law made by Parliament.

    (stock image) </p></div><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>Trials should continue to be heard in person, he said, adding: ‘Remote hearings are not always appropriate – there are certain types of hearing which it is important to hold in person. That is why I advocate a mixed-economy approach.'</p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>The DPP also called for scrutiny of current rules which allow automatic rights of appeal by anyone convicted at magistrates’ courts. </p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>Such cases include youth courts, which may deal with serious offences such as rape.</p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>It means that victims and witnesses must face the trauma of giving their evidence again before a crown court.</p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>’I am clear that the right to appeal a decision must remain,’ he said. </p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>’But why not adopt a system – like that from the crown court, which requires permission to appeal from a judge – which would sift out cases without merit?'</p><p class=”mol-para-with-font”>Crown courts have a backlog of more than 60,000 cases.</p></div>

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