Meaning of special witness
(1) In a proceeding for a Commonwealth offence, the court may declare a person to be a special witness in relation to the proceeding if satisfied that the person is unlikely to be able to satisfactorily give evidence in the ordinary manner because of:
(a) a disability; or
(b) intimidation, distress or emotional trauma arising from:
(i) the person's age, cultural background or relationship to a party to the proceeding; or
(ii) the nature of the evidence; or
(iii) some other relevant factor.
Note: Such a declaration can also be made in a related proceeding (see subsection 15Y(5)).
(2) A declaration under subsection (1) may be made on the court's own initiative or on application by or on behalf of a party to the proceeding.
Orders that certain protections apply to a special witness
(3) In a special witness proceeding, the court may order that one or more of the following sections apply to a special witness:
(a) section 15YG (about unrepresented defendants);
(b) section 15YH (about represented defendants);
(c) section 15YI (about closed-circuit television);
(d) section 15YL (about alternative arrangements);
(e) section 15YM (about use of video recordings);
(f) section 15YO (about accompanying adults);
(g) section 15YP (about excluding people from the courtroom).
(4) An order under subsection (3) may be made on the court's own initiative or on application by or on behalf of the special witness.