The s.28 recorded cross-examination protocol has been extended to cover 16-18 year olds and is being piloted in Liverpool, Leeds and Kingston. This group of witnesses is usually only vulnerable by age and therefore will not necessarily require verbatim questions to be provided in advance. These witnesses are more able to withstand a traditional cross-examination.
In one of the pilot courts, a decision has been taken that ‘everything is case specific but generally speaking, topics, as opposed to draft verbatim questions will be sufficient for these older teenage witnesses’.
The ‘20 Principles’, in their current form, may prove to be too restrictive and therefore a more relaxed approach can be taken in these instances.
There will be further considerations when the s.28 scheme is piloted to cover all adult victims in sex cases. The pilot will take place in three court centres, following that a decision will be made as to whether the protocol is to be rolled out nationally.