NO Witness NO Justice: British High Commission launches project to encourage witness participation
The British High Commission has been working with stakeholders in Barbados and the region to raise the importance of witnesses in criminal trials. The project, called “No Witness No Justice”, has two key aims: To encourage greater witness participation and to enhance victim and witness rights.
To promote these objectives, a short film and school engagement pack has been produced that asks people whether they feel comfortable reporting crime and giving evidence in court, and attempts to demystify the judicial process.
When asked, some people explained that times were hard and questioned whether they should put themselves and their family at risk by volunteering to give evidence. An important part of the project was to analyse why people were unwilling to give evidence and then communicate this message to those that can change the criminal justice system.
The project discovered that there are existing protections to those who may be afraid of giving evidence, for example in Saint Lucia, through use of a video-link so that witnesses can give evidence without being physically present in court.