Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:35 pm on 20th December 2018.

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Photo of Lord Winston Lord Winston Labour 4:35 pm, 20th December 2018

I should be grateful if the noble Baroness would give way. I am not a lawyer, so I ask this in genuine innocence. I am not sure that the terms “inquisitorial” and “adversarial” are always in the best interests of justice in cases such as these. I am sure that it is possible to cross-examine somebody without necessarily being adversarial, trying instead to tease out what works and what seems to be the most likely truthful path. I do not suggest for a moment that one wants to humiliate somebody who claims to have been abused. I hope that we can try to seek the truth, using our intuitive judgment rather more successfully than we might by simply listening to an account which is not properly contested. That is a very real issue in cases such as these because many people feel that they have been very badly damaged, although the probability is that in many cases they have not been.