News By/Courtesy: Priyanka Patnaik | 20 May 2020 10:05am IST


  • Witness Protection Act 1991
  • Witness Protection Act, 1996
  • United kingdom 's Witness protection

Witness Protection Act of 1991
Let's begin with the Witness Protection Act 1991. It was enacted by the Parliament of Victoria to protect the witnesses in criminal acts .they have defined. There are few sections in this such as 
  • Section 3(1) means when a person agrees to testify on behalf of the crown or government before different authorities in return for protection or assistance.
  • Section 3 A is provided for the Victorian Protection Programme. Here the chief commissioner of police is responsible for the protection of witnesses along with his family members. there are few things which have to be done according to protocols such as providing new identities, relocation to a new place, providing accommodation and transport.
  • Section 3 B gives the authority to the Chief Commissioner of Police to decide whether a witness is to be included in the witness program or not.
  • Section 5 provided that the Chief Commissioner of plc has to enter into an MOU with the witness. It should be signed by the witness and it lays down the terms and conditions for its protection and assistance.
  • Section 16 provides for the termination of protection and assistance.
 Witness Protection Act, 1996
 Witness Protection Act, 1996 (Australian Capital Region)  enacted legislation to ensure the security and welfare of witnesses It is on the same page as the Victorian Witness Assurance Act, 1991. The powers and capacities are here given to the Chief Police Officer, within the Witness protection Act, 1996.
  • Section 3: It defines the term ‘witness‘, meaning anyone willing to testify on behalf of the crown in any court proceeding or any inquiry before any authority as mentioned. 
  • Section 4: the Chief Police Officer and the commissioner takes responsibility in providing protection, safety, and welfare of a witness. Some of the responsibilities include providing new identity, relocation to a new place and providing with new accommodation and monetary means to the witness
  • Section 5: the assessment and inclusion of a witness in the witness protection program shall be done following the provisions of the Commonwealth Act.
  • Section 6: The Chief Police officer can apply for any document which is required for the witness to have a new identity to protect him.
  • Section 21: A person can be put behind bar for disclosure of identity location of any witness, which will lead to a breach of security for a witness.
Witness Protection Act, 2000 (Queensland)
Section 5 contains that the witness protection program will be run to protect to witness under section 6. The chairman has to be convinced that he witness should be included under section7. the protection agreement can be terminated if found that the witness breached it. Section 13 also provides the witness to voluntarily withdraw from the program. 
The Queensland Evidence Act, 1977 was amended in the year 2000 by Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Amendment Act, 2000, and Division 5 regarding witness anonymity‘ was inserted. Section 21C decides the scope of division and 
  • Section 21D: the Chief Executive Officer of a law enforcement agency provides witness anonymity certificate‘ to protect the witness and who might be called to testify in the criminal proceedings
  • . Section 21F: It provides that the witness will testify in the proceeding and no question will be raised regarding his disclosure of his identity. The authorities will be notified about the anonymity certificate as per Section 21 G.
  • section 21H: The authorities are responsible to protect the witness’s identity and can make an order. Even they may impose a maximum penalty.
 After going through all the acts of Australia and comparing it with India we see a huge difference. The police are in charge of providing security and all the authority lies with them whether a witness is eligible for this program or not. Starting with signing MOUs
United kingdom's Witness protection 
 Within the UK, the control of the court to withhold the name of the victim/witness in a criminal trial is treated as inborn within the court. Section 11of the UK Contempt of Court Act, 1981 gives that the court may provide strict guidelines to avoid the names of the witness to be in open. In a case, it was held that the name of the witness needs to be kept under wraps from the defendant and defense legal counselor.
  • UK PPS is part of NCA and includes a territorial footprint. The Metropolitan Police, Police Scotland, and Police Benefit of Northern Ireland hold their claim units, which are adjusted to the UKPPS. Whilst the UKPPS is a portion of UK law authorization, they work to provide security courses of action, and concentrate exclusively on keeping individuals secure and making a difference to bring wrongdoers to justice. Regional person Units work with the witness to keep this area watchful and improve their y lives within the said region. To do this we require the participation and collaboration of the individual at risk. Protected People Units work watchfully and with a huge degree of mystery.
  • It is the tact around the area that makes a difference in us to keep individuals safe. Many of our cases include witnesses and in all cases, we are represented by rules as to what we are able and what we cannot do. These details are examined with the person concerned when a case has alluded to them and we do all able to require under consideration the people's wishes in terms of migration zones, work, tutoring, and other issues.
  • Youth Equity and Criminal Prove Act 1999 (YJCEA) sets out a run of measures that is accessible to witnesses in criminal procedures who are considered to be 'intimidated'.
  • Section 17 of the YJCEA bargains with scared witnesses and gives that uncommon measures may be given where the quality of proving given by a witness is likely to be reduced because of fear or trouble on the portion of the witness in association with affirming within the procedures. In deciding this, the court must take into consideration several factors.
  • For maintaining anonymity, the application can be made under Section 74 to 85 of the Coroner and Justice Act 2009. It is usually filed by people who have relevant information and these investigation anonymity order give a sort of leverage to the people whose life is in threat.
UK and India when compared it focuses on witness anonymity and there are applications to apply for it. In Uk, the authorities work to date and night to protect their witness compared to India as there is no concept of that.

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 20 May 2020 11:47am IST

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