The Lighthouse in London, England informs about two new methods for interviewing children for the purposes of cross-examination at their Barnahus:
Remote link to court – Section 24 of the Youth and Criminal Justice Act allows children to attend the Lighthouse and be cross-examined via a live video link to the court. This option happens during the trial, meaning the child must wait until the court date. On the day of the trial, there can be long delays and this new option allows them to wait in safe and comfortable surroundings at the Lighthouse with the support of the team they know and trust.
Pre-recorded cross-examination – Section 28 of the Youth and Criminal Justice Act allows a child to be cross-examined before the trial – usually by a few months. Before the cross-examination, there is a ground rules hearing at which the lawyers propose the questions they want to ask and the judge decides if they are suitable and child friendly. The interview is recorded and played on the day of the trial to the jury.
With this option, it means:
- Simple questions;
- Usually only lasts 30 mins;
- Pre-recorded at the Lighthouse;
- Takes place a few months before the trial and the child does not need to be present at the trial.
The Lighthouse has permission to record both of these types of interviews. The changes are in line with a UK law that came into force in 1999 and the use of technology in the COVID pandemic has enabled this to happen.