|Crown Court - Snaresbrook|
1. Great care should be taken before a jury is shown a transcript of an ABE interview at all, even while a video is being shown, and that they should only be shown a transcript if there is "very good reason for it", such as the difficulty of following the interview without it..
2. The judge should warn the jury at the time the transcripts are given to the jury so that they are focussed on the recording of the interview rather than on the written word.
3. Except in "very exceptional circumstances", the transcript should be withdrawn from the jury once the evidence-in-chief has been given. The jury should only retain the transcripts during cross-examination if defence counsel requires those transcripts as an aid to cross-examination. There will be cases in which it is permissible to allow the jury to see a transcript if there are points defence counsel is seeking to make which cannot be followed.
4. Transcripts should be recovered once the witness has finished giving evidence.
6. Only in exceptional circumstances should the jury retire with the transcripts. Usually that will only be if the defence takes the view that it is necessary for the jury to have the transcript and the judge is satisfied that there are "very good reasons" to justify that course.
In Sardar, the jury retired with the transcript of the ABE interview which had been treated as evidence-in-chief when neither counsel dissented. The Court of Appeal said that there were serious errors both in letting the jury see the transcript, in letting them retain it, and in failing to direct them as to the dangers of giving disproportionate weight to the transcript as opposed to their impression and assessment of the witness herself. The court took the view that the appellant was deprived of safeguards essential to the fairness of his trial and so the appeal was allowed.