National judicial procedures protecting witnesses from identification – witness protection


Criminal Procedure Act, 2004


Special arrangements for vulnerable witnesses
189. (1) In this section “vulnerable witness” means a person other than an accused -

(a) who is under the age of 18 years; or
(b) against whom an offence of a sexual or indecent nature or a domestic violence offence has been committed; or
(c) who as a result of some mental or physical disability, the possibility of intimidation by the accused or any other person, or for any other reason will suffer undue stress while giving evidence, or who as a result of such disability, possibility or other reason will be unable to give complete and undistorted evidence.

(2) A court before which a vulnerable witness gives evidence in criminal proceedings may, of its own motion or on the application of the prosecutor, the accused or that witness, order that special arrangements be made for the giving of the evidence of that witness.

(3) Special arrangements under subsection (2) may consist of one or more of the following steps:

(a) The issuing, subject to section 175 and notwithstanding section 180(2), of a
direction that the vulnerable witness gives his or her evidence -
(i) at any place, whether within or outside the courtroom - (aa) which is informally arranged to set that witness at ease;
(bb) which is so situated that any person whose presence may upset
that witness, is outside the sight of that witness; and
(cc) which enables the court and any person whose presence is necessary at the proceedings in question to see and hear, either directly or through the medium of closed circuit television or similar electronic media or a one-way mirror or otherwise, that witness during his or her testimony and, if the witness is accompanied by a support person, to also see and hear the support person in like manner; or
(ii) behind a screen in the courtroom in the same manner and subject to the same requirements prescribed in item (cc) of subparagraph (i);
(b) the rearrangement of the furniture in the courtroom, or the removal from or addition to the courtroom of certain furniture or objects, to set the vulnerable witness at ease, or the issuing of a direction that any person whose presence may upset that witness sits or stands at a certain location in the courtroom;
(c) notwithstanding section 175, the granting of permission to a person (in this section referred to as a support person) who is a fit person for that purpose to accompany the vulnerable witness while he or she is giving evidence;
(d) the adjournment under section 191 of the proceedings in question to any place other than the one where the court is sitting to hear the evidence of the vulnerable witness;
(e) the taking of any other steps that in the opinion of the court are expedient and desirable to facilitate the giving of evidence by the vulnerable witness.

(4) The support person is entitled to -

(a) sit or stand near the vulnerable witness and to give such physical comfort to that witness as may be desirable;
(b) interrupt the proceedings to alert the presiding judge or magistrate to the fact that the vulnerable witness is experiencing undue distress,
but, subject to subsection (5), the support person is not entitled to assist that witness with the answering of a question or to instruct that witness in the giving of evidence.

(5) The court may give directions to the support person prohibiting the support person from communicating with the vulnerable witness or from taking certain actions, or may direct the support person to take such actions as the court may consider desirable.

(6) When considering whether an order under subsection (2) should be made, the court must take into account the following matters:

(a) The interests of the State in adducing the complete and undistorted evidence of the vulnerable witness concerned;
(b) the interests and well-being of the vulnerable witness concerned;
(c) the availability of necessary equipment and facilities;
(d) the interests of justice in general .

Rome Statute

Article 93 Other forms of cooperation

1. States Parties shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Part and under procedures of national law, comply with requests by the Court to provide the following assistance in relation to investigations or prosecutions:

(j) The protection of victims and witnesses and the preservation of evidence;