Criminal Law: Special Measures

The principle of special measures
Special measures were introduced by The Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 (YJCEA 1999) and are defined as a 'series of provisions that help vulnerable and intimidated witness give their best evidence in court' ( These provisions are in place to help relieve some of the stresses related to giving evidence in court as stress can affect the quality and quantity of communication between the relevant people. Special measures apply to the prosecution and defence witness and can offer support with witnesses that find it difficult attending the court or giving evidence because of their age, personal circumstances, and fear of intimidation.

Eligibility for special measures
Vulnerable witnesses are eligible for special measures. In section 16 YJCEA 1999 a vulnerable witness is defined as a child that is under the age of 18 or a witnesses evidence quality is likely to be diminished because they have a mental disorder (deferred by the Mental Health Act 1983) significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning, and have a physical disability or disorder.
Intimidated witness is defined under section 17 YJCEA as a person that is distressed or fears testifying. According to section 17(4) if the witness is part of a sexual offences or certain offences that involve weapons such as guns and knives will automatically fall under this category unless they opt out. Intimidated witnesses may also victims of domestic violence, racially motivated, families of homicide victims, self-harmers. Even though all these witnesses are eligible for special measures it doesn't mean they will get granted them.
Some witnesses can be vulnerable and intimidated or vulnerable but not subjected to intimidation.

Child witnesses
Child witnesses are mainly afraid to report crime as they are frequently not believed and when they do report a crime they have difficulty explaining/ remembering exactly what happened and can become...