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Protection at all times.

GIVING evidence in court in the presence of an accused charged with violent or sexual crime, is intimidating for anyone.

For a child or adolescent, it is traumatic.

Justice minister Cathy Jamieson's new Vulnerable Witnesses Bill will give them long- overdue protection.

There have been too many cases where the original violence or sex abuse against the young has been compounded by their treatment in court.

Decency dictates children should not be paraded in court before their attackers and abusers. Taping their evidence with cross- examination by video link at least removes the worst of the ordeal.

The measures could go further in barring accused from direct questioning and curbing hard-line defence tactics, without infringing the accused's rights.

Scottish justice has to be fair and impartial to all - most of all, to the innocent victims.

Who cared?

OUR Save Our Kids campaign was launched to bring about reforms in the way our young are treated in Scotland.

It was also to prevent young lives being blighted by bullying.

The need for the campaign to continue is poignantly brought home by nine- year-old Jessica O'Connell's diary of despair.

Every page tells its own heartbreaking story of a little girl persecuted at school, yet unable to tell of her torment.

For someone of her age to write "I wish I was dead so I don't have to suffer any more pain", is a failure of all the adults who should be her protectors.

Security shock

"COMIC terrorist" Aaron Barschak is the only one who's laughing over his invasion of Prince William's birthday party.

He got the publicity he wanted by making fools of top police and security chiefs.

Some poor PC Plod is going to carry the blame for giving the obviously batty Barschak free access to so many members of the Royal Family.

It's mind-boggling that, having been taken to the police by a contractor whose suspicions were roused, a creature looking and behaving so bizarrely should have passed police scrutiny.

But there were other serious failures. At a time of heightened terrorist alerts, entry to the castle was a simple matter of climbing a tree and jumping on to a wall.

That is gross negligence by those higher up the chain of command and they should shoulder their responsibility.

Perhaps Barschak should be in the next Honours List - for exposing the truth about royal "security".

Magic touch

THE latest Harry Potter book sold a wizard 1.7million copies in Britain in the first 24 hours.

And he's still flying out of the shops at the rate of 220 books a minute.

Great news for the author and publishers but also for the age-old pastime of reading.

To get so many youngsters and people of all ages with their noses in books is a worthwhile achievement.

J K Rowling says she shed tears when she killed off a key character.

Now, she's crying all the way to the bank - and she deserves every penny.
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Record View
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 24, 2003
Words:493
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