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Evidence of child witness

Date:17 FEB 2016
Solicitor Advocate

Challenging the evidence of an unwilling child witness

The appeal in Re S (Children) [2016] EWCA Civ 83 was against case management decisions made by Her Honour Judge Moir in care proceedings that a child witness should not be required to give live evidence. A child K (aged nearly 15 at the time of the appeal) had made serious allegations of sexual abuse from when she was aged six against her older brother B who was the father of the two children (aged four and two) in the proceedings. K was unwilling to give live evidence so that she would not be cross-examined by or on behalf of B.

Judge Moir held that K should not be required to give evidence. A similar case management direction was given in respect of evidence from two friends of K whom she had spoken to about the allegations. The judge made a finding of significant harm (Children Act 1989 s 31(2)) in respect of the two young children. A supervision order was made with supervised contact to B.

The problem for all parties was that K had been equivocal to...

Read the full article here.