Clause 40 - Special measures for witnesses in criminal proceedings

Part of Modern Slavery Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:25 am ar 14 Hydref 2014.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 9:25, 14 Hydref 2014

It is a delight to serve under your chairmanship again, Mr Pritchard. Clause 40 amends the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 to extend certain statutory provisions on special measures in court to all victims of clause 1 and clause 2 offences. Those include provisions whereby witnesses in certain cases are automatically treated as eligible for special measures, unless they tell the court that they do not want to be eligible. Special measures apply to witnesses who are giving evidence in court. The measures include screening a witness from the accused, giving evidence by live link, giving evidence in private, removal of wigs and gowns, and video-recorded evidence.

Specific provision is already made in the existing legislation for trafficking victims. The clause extends coverage to slavery victims so that, for example, all victims of slavery and trafficking are automatically eligible for special measures. This important provision provides vulnerable victims with the protection and confidence they need to come forward and give evidence against their trafficker or enslaver. I therefore hope that Committee members will support the clause’s inclusion in the Bill.