In a move designed to help witnesses and victims with the experience of appearing in court, the Director of Public Prosecutions has proposed that witnesses be pre-warned of the type of questions they might be asked.
Under the proposals, anyone appearing in court would be made aware of the focus of the defence’s case, and provided with more details about court procedures, to avoid them being “ambushed” in the witness box. The proposals would require witnesses to be warned that they could be asked about their character or sexual history. Witnesses would also be reminded of their right to ask for questions put to them to be repeated or rephrases, and that they can refer to their own witness statement if they wish. The aim is that prosecutors should be testing the evidence, rather that putting witnesses “on trial”.