In what is described as a first, Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions has invoked Victoria’s Charter of Rights and Responsibilities to ensure that the right of two children to testify in court was not jeopardised by procedural rules. The case involves evidence that two children, aged 8 and 10, were to give against their molester. The DPP, Jeremy Rapke QC, argued that denying them the chance to testify would breach their human rights even though a 3 month deadline for recording witness statements had expired (by 4 weeks). The Victorian Charter states:
Families are the fundamental group unit of society and are entitled to be protected by society and the State. Every child has the right, without discrimination, to such protection as is in his or her best interests… Section 17 (1) & (2)
The Judge agreed, saying that a minor delay should not result in a denial of basic justice to children. A news report is available here.