Sunday, June 22, 2008

Anonymous witnesses to be allowed

The government has vowed to change the law to allow
anonymous witnesses in some court cases after a key Law Lords ruling effectively halted the practice.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said there was a real need for some witnesses to have their identities protected.

Mr Straw told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the law will be changed "as quickly as possible".

The ruling quashed the murder conviction of a man who was convicted with the aid of anonymous evidence.

While I sympathise with the government and the anonymous witnesses I think the law lords have made the right decision. Defendants should have the right to face their accuser as this is part of the process of a fair trial.

What the government should be doing is investing in witness protection programmes that will keep witnesses safe so that they do go ahead and tell their side of the story during a trial.

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