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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Friday, March 4, 2005

England Creates "Witness Care Unit" to Help Crime Witnesses

Three of England's criminal justice services--the Criminal Prosecution Service (CPS), the Witness Service, and the Avon and Somerset police--have joined forces to create the Witness Care Unit ("WCU"), a new service to help and encourage crime witnesses to give evidence in court.  The WCU's creators established the unit after concluding that crime witnesses in England have been undersupported and left uninformed about their roles in the criminal justice system, as well as how the criminal justice system works.  According to a spokesman for the CPS, this lack of witness-information and support led to witnesses not showing up in court, backlogs, and even failed prosecutions.  The WCU will provide crime witnesses with a "care officer" to keep them informed and updated about the case and to provide services such as transportation, childcare, or other basic services that would prevent a witness from showing up to court.  More from BBC News... [Mark Godsey]

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