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Dillon welcomes LCJ intervention over rape trial

17 April, 2018 - by Linda Dillon

Sinn Féin Victims spokesperson Linda Dillon MLA has welcomed the Lord Chief Justice’s decision to begin exploring possible changes to the legal system in the wake of the Ulster Rugby rape trial.

The Mid-Ulster MLA was commenting after the LCJ began discussions with the trial judge and senior Crown Court judges to consider if changes are required in how rape trials are conducted here.

Linda Dillon said: “This case has exposed serious concerns as to how cases involving rape or allegations of rape are handled, particularly around the invasive and combative cross-examination of witnesses, the impact of media coverage of such cases and the way some in society view women.

“In the immediate aftermath of the trial, we called for a review of the current procedures and I hope that the Lord Chief Justice’s intervention will be the first step in that process.

“Rape and sexual assault cases are always going to be traumatic and difficult but there are additional measures that can be taken. These include withholding any publication of the names of the complainant and defendant until the outcome of the case has been decided; clearing of the public gallery; and while the media should be permitted to attend, any reporting on such cases should be barred until the conclusion of the trial.”

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