For many years the wall of silence in Londons East End frustrated attempts to prosecute the Kray Twins, until they were taken into custody in 1968 and people felt able to come forward to give evidence.
Hollywood has made everyone familiar with the problem of witness intimidation in the United States, whether today or in former times.
It’s now been nearly 15 years since Jack Straw, then Home Secretary, informed the British public that he would ‘bring victims in from the cold and put their interests at the heart of the system’.
As the nights grow longer, and the first signs of winter appear, it might be time to consider whether these promises have been fulfilled.
The Crown does not allege that the appellant was responsible for threatening the potential witnesses.
Nor does the material available to the House identify any specific threats that were made to the witnesses. Leaving the present case on one side, it is obvious that, if people are frightened to give evidence about some crime which they have witnessed, they will be equally frightened to give evidence about any threats that may have been made to deter them from giving evidence.