This concealment of identity is not only from the defendant but also from the public and pseudonym is used during the hearing. To conceal this identity common methods such as placing of sight screen and distortion of voices by electronic media are used.
However, the method’s frequent use had raised concern and this practice was challenged. On the other hand, courts held that in absence of any solid reason to contradict the assumption of fair and just trail and where the evidence of anonymous witness could be tested in the adversarial process, admission of evidence in anonymity is allowed.
The criminal evidence (witness anonymity) Act, 2008 was introduced soon after the house of lords allowed appeal by Ian Davis in the case of R Vs Davis. Davis was accused of murdering two men in 2002 and his conviction was set aside on the plea of non-admissibility of anonymous evidence in common law as it prevented the defendant to cross examine the witness to determine or establish malafied on their part. This decision created a sudden vacuum and a lot of pending trails collapsed. To fill this gap, Mr. Jack Straw, introduced the bill on 4th of July 2008 which become an Act of parliament on 8th of July 2008.
In this paper our main focus will be an analysis of law prevailing before the enactment of Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Act, 2008, the factors which lead towards the promulgation of the Act, case of R Vs Davis (Lain) 2008 and its contribution in enactment of this Act.
Furthermore, a critical compassion of this law with Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Amendment Act 1997 of New Zealand will be made to understand special measures and balance between anonymity and defendant’s right to fair trail.
R Vs Davis (Lain) has proved to be a landmark case which initiated a series of events including promulgation of criminal evidence (witness Anonymity) Act, 2008. This