Section 21(5) Youth Justice And Criminal Evidence Act 1999 did not breach Art.6 or Art.14 European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950.Application for judicial review in six linked cases of decisions to grant or refuse a special measures direction pursuant to s.21(5) Youth Justice And Criminal Evidence Act 1999 to allow child witnesses to give their evidence in chief by live link. The claimants D, N and R were all charged with various unrelated criminal offences. The defendant courts in their respective cases had made a special measures direction allowing child witnesses to give their evidence in chief via a live link. In the cases in which the DPP was the claimant the respective courts had refused to grant a special measures direction under s.21(5). The claimants D, N and R submitted that s.21(5) of the Act was incompatible with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950 ("the Convention"). They submitted that their rights under Art.6 and Art.14 had been breached. The DPP submitted that the courts in its particular cases had failed to carry out their statutory task under the Act.HELD: Section 21(5) of the Act did not breach Art.6 or Art.14 of the Convention. Section 21(5) of the Act required a court to give a special measures direction that any evidence of a child witness in need of special protection that was not given by video recording be given by means of a live link. The proceedings were not unfair simply because child witnesses were not in the same room as a defendant in a criminal trial. It was possible to see, hear and cross-examine child witnesses giving evidence by live link. Section 20(2) and s.24(3) provided sufficient safety valves to prevent any defendant's trial from being unfair. The courts also had an uninhibited common law power to prevent unfairness. In addition Art.6 applied retrospectively by reference to trial not prospectively.Applications dismissed.
 EWHC 227 (Admin)