Your application will be assessed and a decision made.If the decision is taken that your request does not fit the criteria, you'll be informed in writing of the reasons for the decision.The ‘Witness Charter’ explains how you can expect to be treated if you're asked to give evidence in a criminal court. When you have given evidence in a trial, you may be interested in finding out what happens.The evidence of a detective officer quoted by the Court of Appeal in paragraph 9 of its judgment paints an all too graphic picture. In the present case the judge was satisfied that the witnesses in question had genuine and reasonable grounds for fearing the consequences if their identities were revealed. So we are not dealing with the comparatively common situation where, for example, potential witnesses, who are reluctant to give evidence against a fellow gang member, try to use supposed threats as an excuse for not going to court.If a witness citation is issued, such people can be brought to court and the sanction of contempt of court is then available to try to ensure that they speak up.
When Cicero was intent on prosecuting Verres for his reign of terror in Sicily, highly-placed henchmen of Verres threatened the fearful and oppressed Sicilian witnesses with dire consequences if they gave evidence against him.If you witness a crime you have a vital role to play.We understand you may be feeling upset and may have serious doubts about reporting what you've seen but we urge you to contact us.Two thousand years later, still in Sicily, prosecutions of Mafia bosses have been bedevilled by the prevailing atmosphere of intimidation, with its insidious counterpart, the code of silence, omertà.The same goes for prosecutions of Camorra clan members in Campania and drug traffickers in Colombia.The same applies where witnesses are reluctant to get involved, simply because of a generalised feeling that something unpleasant is liable to happen to those who give evidence about a violent incident which they have seen. But these measures do not assist at the earlier stage when police officers are investigating a crime such as the present.