Courts to decide on protection orders within 48 hrs

The Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) has stated that courts must decide on protection orders in connection with a sexual offense within a maximum of 48 hours, including public holidays.

DJA has issued regulations that outline the procedures for the conduction of trial of sexual offenses. As per the regulations, if a protection order is appealed, the court must decide on the case within 10 days from the date of registration.

The rules also state that if a case is filed in court under the Sexual Offenses Act, the court must decide on the case within a maximum of six months from the date of registration. In addition, if an appeal is filed against such a judgment, a decision must be taken within 90 days from the date of registration.

The regulations also outline the procedure to be followed in recording witness statements and compensation claims.

The rule states that the court shall arrange for the accused and the victim to be present in two separate rooms of the court instead of being present in the same room when recording witness statements. The rule gives the court the power to conduct the trial without the victim seeing the accused.

Additionally, it states that the defense lawyer must be careful not to ask repeated questions about the same matter and to be respectful when questioning the victim. It also states that it is not permissible to disclose the identity of a sex crime victim.

The regulations further state that the testimony of a person with a mental or physical disability shall be taken in the presence of a person who can interpret what the person says and a social service employee.

However, if the witness is a minor, the testimony must be taken out of court, in the presence of a trusted person by video or audio interview and the testimony must be heard in court in the presence of all the judges of the case.

According to DJA, the purpose of such a rule is to provide detailed procedures for the prosecution of sexual offenses under the Sexual Offenses Act.