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Boston College Law School

2009

Boston College International and Comparative Law Review

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Taking “Blind Shots At A Hidden Target”: Witness Anonymity In The United Kingdom, Jason Swergold May 2009

Taking “Blind Shots At A Hidden Target”: Witness Anonymity In The United Kingdom, Jason Swergold

Boston College International and Comparative Law Review

Witness intimidation has become an increasing problem in the United Kingdom, and as a result, British courts have allowed witnesses to testify anonymously in cases where they are fearful of testifying. Recently, the House of Lords overturned a murder conviction based on anonymous witness testimony on the grounds that it rendered that trial unfair. Parliament responded by codifying the power to grant witness anonymity as it existed before the Law Lords’ decision. The use of anonymous witnesses raises questions about the right of a defendant to confront the witnesses before him or her, a right that has its history in ...