New jury directions explain intermediary role

News Date: 

New jury directions explain the role of intermediaries in court under Victoria’s pilot program.

The directions are in the latest updates to the Victorian Criminal Charge Book

Judicial officers can use the directions to explain:

  • the role of an intermediary;
  • different questioning practices arising from a ground rules hearing.

The purpose of the directions is to stop the jury from speculating about the significance of the use of an intermediary or different questioning practices, or inferring anything negative about either the accused or the witness.

The use of intermediaries recognises that vulnerable witnesses may need assistance in ensuring they give their best evidence.

In ground rules hearings, the judicial officer and counsel discuss how the vulnerable witness will be questioned, and any particular arrangements that need to be made, with specialist assistance from the intermediary.

The intermediaries pilot program began on 1 July this year.

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