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Cross Examination Should Be Abolished

Decent Essays
1 Introduction of policy
Cross-examination is a vital part of gathering information and evidence about the occurrence and details of the crime to decide the outcome accurately. The sexual assault complainant is who usually experiences the most of cross examination. The reform to limit the cross examination of sexual assault complainants is established in the following acts; Crimes (Sexual Offences) Act 2006 (Vic), Evidence Act 2008 (Vic), Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic), Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic). During the cross examination, there are limits applied to the way and extent which a sexual assault complainant can be cross examined in trial. There is also prevention of any examination by the accused offender. It is also prohibited
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Victims can potentially evade the circumstances of intimidation, victim blaming and re-victimisation. The defendant’s legal representative will attempt to discredit the complainant to strengthen their client’s declaration of innocence. Children and people with intellectual disabilities are more likely to be intimidated and confused by the questions and provide unreliable evidence to the case (Australian Law Reform Commission 2006). For example, children aren’t always capable of recalling traumatic events from the past and can misunderstand questions. People with intellectual disabilities can experience anxiety and may not realise their situation to seek clarification when they are perplexed. Further trauma and grief can be prevented because victims won’t be expected to recall their experience, if they are given the option to have a special hearing. The reform eliminates complainants from being disadvantaged in the trial process, due to their susceptible position (Bowden, Henning, Plater 2014). Therefore, it is vital judges can halt the questions if it is ‘improper’ or ‘inappropriate’. ‘Improper’ questions are asked with the intention of misleading and offending the complainant to discredit and discourage them (Victoria Legal Aid 2011). It can be reassuring for victims going through cross-examination, because they cannot be asked about their past sexual history with past partners or with the accused. So, the victim’s character and past behaviour won’t be linked to generalisations and become arguable for the accused’s innocence. Moreover, complainants could request to be declared as a “protected witness” which disallows the accused to personally cross-examine the victim. In this case, the judge will order the lawyer of the accused to cross-examine the complainant so they are not provoked by
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