Witness Intimidation

Solicitor-General written question – answered on 16th October 2006.

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Photo of Siân James Siân James Labour, Swansea East

To ask the Solicitor-General what steps the Crown Prosecution Service undertakes when a victim of anti-social behaviour crime decides to withdraw the case following witness intimidation; and what protocols are followed in these circumstances.

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Solicitor General, Law Officers' Department

In such circumstances, a member of the prosecution team, normally the police officer in the case, will contact the victim to assess the reasons why they wish to withdraw from the prosecution process. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the police will then consider using a range of measures to re-engage the victim in the prosecution process, such as the police installing a panic alarm, clearing the public gallery at the trial, using screens or giving evidence via a video link.

The prosecution team works to the achieving best evidence guidance issued in 2002 which deals with the care of vulnerable and intimidated witnesses. The Office for Criminal Justice Reform is currently developing new guidance on witness intimidation and the CPS has participated in the development of this guidance.

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