Vulnerable Witnesses and Defendants in Criminal Proceedings



Author: Miriam Delahunt

ISBN: 9781911611905

Format: Hardback 

Extent: Approx 400 pages

Publishing: 01/2024



In recent years, the challenges facing vulnerable witnesses and defendants in the criminal justice system have been brought to the fore through high profile cases in Ireland and beyond. Improvements have been made through the increased use of support measures such as intermediaries and recorded testimony to facilitate the evidence of complainants. In addition, the courts have attempted to ensure that the most vulnerable defendants can participate more fully in criminal proceedings. However, confusing and complex legislation and practices are difficult to negotiate. This book sets out the issues in a practical and immediate manner aimed at assisting those involved in every aspect of criminal proceedings.

The evidence of children, persons with an intellectual disability and complainants / witnesses involved in sexual or violent offences is facilitated through support measures such as video link, recorded testimony, intermediaries and screens. These measures are examined as well as recent case law and practices relating to procedural aspects affecting the most vulnerable witnesses in the criminal justice system.

Whether for the practitioner, academic or non-profit organisation, this book will be of use in giving a practical overview and insight into the challenges and solutions relating to the vulnerable witnesses and defendants in Ireland today.


Contents Include

  • Introduction
  • Anonymity/Reporting Restrictions and In Camera /Exclusion of the Public/ Otherwise than in Public proceedings
  • Application For A Direction -Issues For Vulnerable Defendants / Witnesses
  • Bail – Issues For Vulnerable Defendants/Victims
  • Competence / Compellability/Corroboration
  • Court Accompaniment
  • Disability and the Courts
  • Disclosure
  • Doctrine Of Recent Complaint
  • Garda Vetting /National Vetting Bureau
  • Ground Rules Hearings
  • Identification
  • Information To Juries
  • Intermediaries
  • Intermediaries For Vulnerable Defendants
  • Judge’s Charge / Comments By Judge In The Course Of The Trial
  • Jurisdiction Of Support Measures
  • Mandatory Reporting/Disclosure
  • Preliminary Trial Hearings
  • Pre-Trial Depositions
  • Pre-Trial Issues – Child Defendants
  • Previous Sexual History/Private Life – Restrictions On Evidence/Cross Examination
  • Putting The Case
  • Recorded Testimony
  • Refreshing The Witness’ Memory
  • Right To Cross Examine
  • Screens
  • Sentencing Issues – Vulnerable Defendants/Victims
  • Restorative Justice
  • Video Link
  • Wigs And Gowns


Who Should Buy This Book?

Vulnerable Witnesses and Defendants in Criminal Proceedings will be an invaluable resource for legal practitioners, academics and non-profit organisations.

About the Author

Dr Miriam Delahunt is a practicing criminal barrister who received her PhD in Trinity College Dublin in 2016 in the area of support measures for child witnesses in criminal proceedings. She has acted as an intermediary for defendants and has published several articles in the area of vulnerable witnesses and defendants.

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