A number of provisions in the Sexual Violence Legislation Act 2021 will come into effect on 21 December 2022. These include:
- Sexual violence complainants and propensity witnesses being entitled to choose one or more alternative modes for giving evidence;
- The ability for a sexual violence complainant or propensity witness’ evidence (including cross-examination and re-examination) to be pre-recorded prior to trial;
- A requirement that any evidence given by a sexual violence complainant or propensity witness at trial (i.e., other than pre-recorded evidence) be recorded, for potential use at any retrial or in other proceedings; and
- Allowing the judge, on their own initiative or on the application of any party, to order that certain sections be removed from a video recording.
These provisions will apply to proceedings commenced on or after 21 December 2022.
The Ministry of Justice is currently preparing for these provisions to come into effect, including installing technology required for the recording of evidence, training court staff on the new processes, setting up a centralised video editing team, and engaging with the judiciary and justice sector agencies on the changes.
NZLS CLE Ltd is also running a Sexual Violence Legislation Forum to update practitioners on the upcoming changes. This free event will take place in Wellington on 30 November 2022 and will be live-streamed.