The Witness Care Unit will tell you if you will be required to give evidence, dates of court hearings and the outcomes from the court and any subsequent appeals.
If you are considered to be a vulnerable or intimated witness then special circumstances may apply and, if this is the case, an application will be made to the court on your behalf.
What are special measures?
Special measures can include one or more of the following:
- Using screens in the courtroom so the witness can't see, or be seen by, the defendant
- Giving evidence by live video link from a separate room in the court building
- Using video evidence in cross examination
- Clearing the public gallery of people
- Communication aids
- Removing court attire, such as wigs and gowns
- Using an intermediary for questioning
What is an intermediary?
Intermediaries can help us work better with witnesses who have communication difficulties. They can be used at any point in the case; from investigation to trial.
An intermediary can be appointed at any point if it becomes apparent that there is a communication issue. Intermediaries can give advice to police and CPS to help achieve more productive interviews and at court to get best evidence at trial.
Intermediaries can also directly assist in the communication process helping a witness understand questions during an investigation or testimony at trial and helping them communicate their answers.
They can also help out in pre-trial preparation, such as a court familiarisation visit by the witness.
The use of both special measures and intermediaries at court is a matter for the court to decide. If they apply to your case an application will be made to the court on your behalf.