Monday, May 27, 2024
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Reader’s Comment: Live evidence in rape trials has most impact on juries


In response to Laura Perrins: Our feminised justice system will create show trials, StaffsBrief wrote:

I’ve been prosecuting and defending sex cases for over 30 years. The great problem with video recordings as used now in some sex cases is that the evidence loses its impact on the jury. Most rape cases rely on two witnesses who usually know each other: a woman who says she was raped and a man who says she consented.

If I were defending someone accused of rape, I’d be content to allow the prosecution to proceed on with the accuser’s evidence (if properly cross-examined) on video then put a live defendant in the witness box to rebut that evidence. At the forefront of the jurors’ minds will be the live evidence they have just heard. Bear in mind also that the jury does not take the video recording or a transcript of it into the jury room, They have the judge’s summing-up of the evidence from both sides.

What is crucial is that the alleged victim’s account is properly cross-examined on the video and that can be done. We do it now in court and it can be done outside court. Who knows, it might be that some cases are dropped when the weaknesses in the accuser’s story are exposed, sparing everyone a 2 or 3 day trial?

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