HC Deb 02 May 1996 vol 276 cc594-5W
Mr. Alex Carlile

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the Home Office advisory group's recommendations on video evidence; and if he will make a statement. [27563]

Mr. Maclean

The Criminal Justice Act 1991 implemented most of the recommendations of the advisory group on video evidence. In particular, it prohibited the defendant from questioning the child and it allowed the child's main evidence to be given by means of a video-recorded interview conducted by police and social workers soon after the incident. We are not persuaded that video recording of pre-trial cross-examination, also recommended by the group, would be in the best interests of children.

The Government remain determined that the criminal justice system should be made more responsive to the needs of children and that the measures introduced by the 1991 Act should work as effectively as possible. We are pursuing a range of further improvements to the present arrangements to secure practical benefits for children.