BVI News

Law coming to allow ‘video call testimonies’ in court

A bill that will allow persons to give evidence in court via video link has been introduced in the House of Assembly.

The bill entitled the Audio Visual Link Act 2017 did not get any resistance when Premier Dr D Orlando Smith introduced it to the House yesterday.

While throwing his full support behind the bill, Deputy Premier Dr Kedrick Pickering reasoned that the legislation will make administering justice cheaper and easier for the BVI.

“It puts us in a position to be able to have expert witnesses give evidence from anywhere in the world without having to pay the exorbitant fees to be able to bring them here,” Pickering said.

“The fees you have to pay some of these expert witnesses are first-class [airline] ticket, and this hotel, [etcetera]. We could save on those types of fees and still get the best,” added Pickering.

He continued: “In today’s world where forensics has become the cornerstone of most prosecution, we can access the best anywhere in the world with this kind of legislation. But we could not have done it before because this wasn’t there,” he added.

The Deputy Premier also said the new law will help to keep certain witnesses in high-profile criminal cases safer.

“If you have witnesses in protective programmes overseas, again, you don’t have to bring them back to be here,” he reasoned.

Once the bill passes in the House, Governor Augustus Jaspert must approve it before the bill becomes law.

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