The New Zealand Bar Association (NZBA) says it's concerned that some provisions of the Sexual Violence Bill before Parliament pose a risk to the right to a fair trial.
The NZBA has made a submission to the select committee considering and commenting on the changes to the legislation.
Nicolette Levy QC, a member of the Bar Association’s Criminal Committee and presenter of its submission, says the matter is fundamentally important to the way the justice system works in New Zealand.
She says there should be no law changes that put at risk a person’s right to a fair trial.
“The NZBA absolutely supports legislation that can minimise distress caused to complainants through giving evidence in sexual violence cases. However, changes in the way evidence is presented in court cases should not mean a person’s right to a fair trial is compromised.”
The NZBA is primarily concerned with the practicalities and fairness of using pre-recorded cross examination of complainants as a standard procedure in cases of sexual violence.