Sunday, October 7, 2007
According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia will amend its Evidence Act in cases involving child and sexual assault victims. Pursuant to the changes, child and sexual assault victims will be able to give their testimony in narrative form, rather than pursuant to the traditional question and answer model.
The bases for the change are that (1) such victims are more comfortable giving their testimony in narrative form, and (2) allowing narrative testimony gives these victims ownership of their experience in court, rather than having it controlled by lawyers.
It will be interesting to track the results of this change. Of course, a similar change in American law would face obstacles such as the challenge that it would deny defendants of their right to confront witnesses.