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In Camberwell Green, the House of Lords confirmed the compliance of the irrebuttable presumption that in criminal trials, 'special measures' maximise the quality of the evidence of child witnesses deemed to be in 'need of special protection' under section 21(5) of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 with the rights of the defendant under Article 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950. In doing so, the House of Lords emphasised that the common law discretion to ensure a fair trial has been explicitly retained in section 19(6) and can be used to provide special measures for child defendants too, where appropriate. It is argued here that it would be preferable to create a statutory regime to govern the use of special measures for child and other vulnerable or intimidated defendants, and that England and Wales should look to Scotland for an example of how this might be done.
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