§ Mr. Martyn Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what personal details of victims in rape cases are given to defendants as part of prosecution evidence; and whether they are able to retain this information.
§ Mr. John Patten
Under section 102 of the Magistrates Courts Act 1980 a party proposing to tender a written statement in evidence in committal proceedings must give a copy to each of the other parties in the proceedings. Such statements may be edited by the Crown prosecutor to remove inadmissible, prejudicial or irrelevant material; and under guidelines issued by the Attorney-General, "sensitive" unedited material need not be disclosed if it is "of private delicacy to the maker".
The decision to withhold details included in a statement is for counsel to consider, striking a balance between the 462W degree of sensitivity and the extent to which the information might assist the defence. Following the amendment earlier this year of the Magistrates Courts (Rules and Forms) Rules 1981, a witness address need not as a matter of course appear on statements circulated to other parties.