Public excluded from hearing evidence
FACT (Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers in the UK) says this is an appalling situation. Justice must not only be done but be seen to be done. Excluding the public from the trial seriously disadvantages the defendant. It also increases the risk of false allegations being made in the future since it removes an important level of accountability.
How else are the public to know whether the accounts given are true and justice is being done if they are denied an opportunity to hear the full story. In this case the accusers are not children but adults. If it was considered necessary; judicially, to provide witnesses with extra support they should be allowed to give evidence unseen (but not unheard) by the general public.
A FACT spokesman says that it is particularly important when allegations of historical child abuse are made that the general public should hear the evidence as the events being described relate to incidents which took place many years ago. Members of the public may therefore have vital information which is not generally known but which might assist the parties.
In other cases FACT has been able to assist defendants by providing Counsel with important information concerning the events alleged. A FACT spokesman said that it had plans to visit the Court and give support to the accused but is now unsure whether or nor their presence will be permitted.