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Report No. 198

(f) USA:

In USA, the dissenting view of White J in Smith v. Illinois: (1968) 390 US 129 that 'it is appropriate to excuse a witness from answering questions about his or her identity, if the witness's personal safety was endangered', slowly became the law in latter cases starting with Maryland v. Craig: (1990) 497 US 836, where evidence by way of close-circuit television was accepted as valid.

It was held nonetheless that the right to confront accusatory witnesses may be satisfied, absent a physical, face-toface confrontation or trial only where denial of such confrontation is 'necessary to further an important public policy' and only where the testimony's reliability was otherwise answered. The case related to childabuse and to the victim's evidence. Obviously, such orders were passed under 'inherent powers'.

Witness Identity Protection and Witness Protection Programmes Back

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