It is being reported this morning that sex offenders will be given the right to appeal their placement on a police register. The change follows a Supreme Court ruling that the lifelong restrictions were contrary to human rights law.
As I posted in April last year, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that lifelong requirements for sex offenders to notify the police when they move house or travel abroad are a breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to privacy and family life.
The recent Old Bailey case involving two boys aged 10 and 11 accused of rape on an eight year gold has reignited the long running debate over the treatment of child witnesses in the adversarial courts system.
More than 1,000 children under the age of 10 are called to give evidence in courts in England and Wales every year.Almost two thirds are themselves the victims of crime, asked to relive a traumatic experience, often as much as a year after the event. Although special measures are in place to make the ordeal of giving evidence in court less stressful, the current system remains open to criticism.There is no legal minimum age to give evidence in court but prosecutors must be satisfied that a child is capable of understanding evidence and being cross-examined before they can be called.
It should be noted at the outset that evidence from children can only be compelled by the courts in criminal prosecutions. We posted recently on the case of Re W (Children)  UKSC 12 , where the Supreme Court ruled that refusing an application for a child to give evidence in a trial may contravene Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Lady Hale said at para 22 of the judgment: Continue reading →
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