CPS Consultation on ‘Looking after Witnesses’ – Draft Response

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The CPS are currently consulting as to how to best look after witnesses at Court (my write up for the UK Criminal Law Blog here). It proved to be very controversial when it first came out, although it may be that in search of a cheap headline this got pushed in the media more than it warranted.

Anyway, the deadline for a response is 16th March, and there will definitely be plenty of responses to this one – if you’ve got a view on this, then make sure yours is heard. For what it’s worth, here is my draft response to the current consultation. As always, steal/comment on mine.

Basically, this is a lot of rehashing of information that is in current policies (whether they are being followed is a different matter of course). As said, if one were cynical, the main purpose of this exercise is to get the DPP a nice headline (there’s not much in the guidance that is particularly contentious).

There are a couple of new bits though – look at 3(c) and (d) in particular – which will likely be very controversial. For a CPS that seems so keen to ‘challenge rape myths’ they are surprisingly reluctant to adopt an evidence based approach elsewhere in the Criminal Justice System. But then having their cake and eating it is a favourite activity of the CPS. Please do respond, but if you have concerns, I wouldn’t hold your breath about the CPS taking them on board…

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