Witness intimidation has become an increasing problem in the United Kingdom, and as a result, British courts have allowed witnesses to testify anonymously in cases where they are fearful of testifying. Recently, the House of Lords overturned a murder conviction based on anonymous witness testimony on the grounds that it rendered that trial unfair. Parliament responded by codifying the power to grant witness anonymity as it existed before the Law Lords’ decision. The use of anonymous witnesses raises questions about the right of a defendant to confront the witnesses before him or her, a right that has its history in English common law and is guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights. This Comment argues that the use of anonymous witness testimony violates a defendant’s right to confrontation, and proposes possible alternatives.
Taking “Blind Shots at a Hidden Target”: Witness Anonymity in the United Kingdom,
B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev.