Q198: Can I give evidence in court behind a screen?

There are a number of measures that can be used for any vulnerable or intimidated witness. Some people are automatically classed as vulnerable, for example:

  • Children under the age of 16 at the time of giving evidence.
  • Any person suffering from a mental disorder.
  • Any person suffering from a learning disability.
  • Any person who is physically disabled.
  • Any witness whose evidence is likely to be diminished through fear or distress.

The police have the responsibility of notifying the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) at the earliest possible stage of any measures that may be required. The COPFS will then make an application to the Court for a Special Measures and the Court will decide if the measures would improve the quality of the witness's evidence.

The possible special measures are:

  • Screening the witness from the accused.
  • Giving evidence through a live link.
  • Removal of wigs and gowns.
  • Use of communication aids.
  • Video recording of interview used as evidence.

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