Rob Ewin


The Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act (YJCEA, 1999) was designed as a support mechanism to alleviate fear, and enable vulnerable and intimidated witnesses (VIW) within criminal trials Special Measures (SM), such as screens and video recorded evidence (Hoyle & Zedner, 2007). The introduction of video recorded cross-examination, or re-examination, under s.28 of the YJCEA is one of the most recent SM to be used within criminal trials. This procedure reduces the time between initial examination of some witnesses and the subsequent cross-examination in not guilty cases. This discussion paper emphasises a number of key research areas that could yield future improvements within s.28. The development of linguistic psychology, best evidence, and disclosure rules would be future avenues for research, providing emphasis and direction. It is a well-recognised fact that there are inherent issues around the identification of witnesses who may benefit from measures under the YJCEA (Ellison, 1999; Burton et al., 2006; Charles, 2012). There is still a significant gap within research around the development of the Intermediary service amongst other areas of the CJS, and in relation to VIWs; however, this is seen to have strong links with the ability to conduct through interviews with witnesses and defendants alike (Plotnikoff & Woolfson, 2007; Oxburgh et al., 2016). There may be much to be gained from a process of analysis where s.28 cross-examinations take place, and subsequent recordings, are subjected to interdisciplinary research scrutiny.