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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 26 March, 2019
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New rules mean victims of serious crime are now able to give evidence from behind a screen

It is just one of a number of measures that come into effect today.

Image: PA Archive/PA Images

JUSTICE MINISTER CHARLIE Flanagan has today signed new orders which give increased protection to victims of crime during trials.

The protections being introduced include allowing the giving of evidence from behind a screen, the use of video evidence at trial stage and prevention from cross-examination by an accused person.

The provisions will also allow for the regulation of the disclosure of third party counselling records in sexual offence trials.

The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 was enacted on 22 February 2017. The majority of the provisions of the Act came into effect on 27 March last year.

A small number of provisions, extending the use of video-link evidence, screens and other court supports, had to be coordinated with the criminal evidence provisions of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act and these provisions will also come into force today.

Flanagan said he believes  that the new provisions will ensure that victims of crime, particularly those under the age of 18, are protected during trials for serious offences “by means of providing evidence from behind a screen, preventing them from being directly cross-examined by the accused person, and allowing recorded video evidence to be used at trial”.

He added: “I am also pleased that special measures including giving evidence via video-link or from behind a screen have now been extended to all victims of crime and the use of an intermediary or pre-recorded statement in the case of child victims will now be available to those victims.”

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