Witnesses in asbo cases to get protection

Witnesses in antisocial behaviour order cases will be given the
same protection as those under criminal law for the first time,
under new measures proposed by Lord Falconer, writes
Maria Ahmed.

The secretary of state for constitutional affairs has called for
a “balance in favour of victims” in the justice system
away from perpetrators.

Under the proposed reforms, witnesses will be able to give
evidence by recorded video evidence, live video-link or in private
to help them come forward without fear of intimidation. Witnesses
may be screened to hide them from defendants in court and be given
separate facilities while waiting to testify.

Lord Falconer has also proposed a three-fold increase in the
number of fast-track criminal courts in England and Wales.

Home secretary David Blunkett is due to unveil his first annual
report on the progress of the antisocial behaviour strategy this
week, including an audit on the number of asbos taken out by

He is also expected to announce that 50 more areas will be given
assistance in how to handle the new process.

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