Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2006] All ER (D) 45 (Dec)
Court: Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)

Collins J

Representation Allan Compton (instructed by THB) for the defendant.
  Richard Livingstone (instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service) for the prosecution.
Judgment Dates: 5 December 2006


Criminal evidence - Witness - Written statement - Application to admit statement without attendance of witness - Relevant person unfit to be witness - Medical evidence in 'best interests' of witness to give written evidence - Whether statement ought to have been admitted - , s 116(2)(b).

The Case

In order to render a statement admissible under s116 of the the prosecution had to establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the witness was unfit to be a witness by reason of his physical or mental condition. However, evidence from a witness' general practitioner that it would be in her 'best interests' to give written evidence in the light of her history of depressive illness and panic attacks was not sufficient to prove that that was in fact the case. Accordingly, and given the importance of the statement to the prosecution's case, the justices had been wrong to rely on that evidence to admit her witness statement under s116.

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