Criminal Procedure Act 1986 No 209
306ZK Vulnerable persons have a right to presence of a supportive person while giving evidence
(1) This section applies to:
(a) a criminal proceeding in any court, and
(b) a civil proceeding arising from the commission of a personal assault offence, and
(c) apprehended violence order proceedings within the meaning of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007, and
(d) a proceeding before the Victims Compensation Tribunal in respect of the hearing of a matter arising from the commission of a personal assault offence that is the subject of an appeal or a reference to it, and
(e) a proceeding in relation to an application for a child protection prohibition order or to vary or revoke any such order.
(2) A vulnerable person who gives evidence in a proceeding to which this section applies is entitled to choose a person whom the vulnerable person would like to have present near him or her when giving evidence.
(3) Without limiting a vulnerable person’s right to choose such a person, that person:
(a) may be a parent, guardian, relative, friend or support person of the vulnerable person, and
(b) may be with the vulnerable person as an interpreter, for the purpose of assisting the vulnerable person with any difficulty in giving evidence associated with an impairment or a disability, or for the purpose of providing the vulnerable person with other support.
(4) To the extent that the court or tribunal considers it reasonable to do so, the court or tribunal must make whatever direction is appropriate to give effect to a vulnerable person’s decision to have such a person present near the vulnerable person, and within the vulnerable person’s sight, when the vulnerable person is giving evidence.
(5) The court or tribunal may permit more than one support person to be present with the vulnerable person if the court or tribunal thinks that it is in the interests of justice to do so.
(6) This section extends to a vulnerable person who is the accused or the defendant in the relevant proceeding.
Note. This section does not apply if a child or cognitively impaired person giving evidence is a complainant in proceedings for a prescribed sexual offence. In that case, section 294C sets out the entitlements of the child or cognitively impaired person to have one or more support persons present when giving evidence.