the study, supported by the nz law foundation, will basically be reviewing overseas jurisdictions to see what aspects of trial process might be adopted here, in order to make the process less difficult for the complainant. some examples she gave were:
- in dublin, the complainant is awarded funding for a lawyer to argue the specific decision about whether or not her previous sexual history is to be brought in as evidence. because our prosecution is not acting for the complainant, but rather treats the complainant as a witness in the case, it's possible that the arguments on this particular issue would be more robust if she had her own counsel
- in australia, the complainant's evidence, including cross-examination, is video-recorded so that if there is a retrial, it won't be presumed that she will appear in court again
- the possibility of having a separate court that deals only with sexual violation cases, just as they are trialling for domestic violence cases
- the possbility of having greater reliance on documentary evidence, and less reliance on having the complainant in court
the study should take about 20 months, and will come up with recommendations for changes to the system. at that time, we'll see if the government has the will to make the necessary changes.