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Introduction to the program
Craig Smith SC

Director of Training for the AAI Vulnerable Witness Advocacy Training Program

Video time: 2 minutes

The Australian Advocacy Institute Excellence in Advocacy

The AAI Vulnerable Witness Advocacy Training Program

in association with the NSW Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

The AAI Vulnerable Witness Advocacy Training Program has been designed to promote three goals. First, to improve the quality of evidence available to the Court hearing a case involving a vulnerable witness. Second, to ensure fairness to those witnesses and finally, ensuring fairness to the accused in the trial process. We intend to improve your knowledge and advocacy skills in this important area of your practice.


The program recognises the great sensitivities involved in questioning witnesses who are vulnerable, whether that is because of their age, a physical or mental impairment or for other reasons, or indeed a combination of factors. It also recognises the importance of teaching advocates special skills, not general ones, in questioning vulnerable witnesses.


Set in that context, it is vital that advocates not only have an awareness of relevant issues concerning the vulnerable witness but are able to effectively implement key skills in questioning those witnesses. This will be so whatever the type of case or jurisdiction within which the questioning of a vulnerable witness occurs. This is truly a course which crosses boundaries.


We strongly believe that skills relating to the questioning of vulnerable witnesses can be taught and that we can improve the standards of advocacy in such an important and sensitive area. Our program commences with increasing your knowledge of relevant issues and concludes with your active participation in a day long advocacy course.


It is first recommended you take 2 minutes and watch the video to the left.


The Program

The program has three stages:


Stage 1 - Pre-workshop: Viewing and Preparation

On acceptance of your registration you will be given a link to access the following materials:


1. Video - Introduction to the Program by Craig Smith SC,

Director of Training for the AAI Vulnerable Witness Program


2. Video – The Role of the Court and the Vulnerable Witnesses,

with Her Honour Judge Girdham SC, Judge of the District Court of NSW


3. Video – The Role of the Witness Intermediary with Jane Wolf, Witness Intermediary


4. Video – Memory research and factors affecting how we adduce evidence from vulnerable

    witnesses with Professor Jane Goodman- Delahunty, Research Professor, Charles Sturt University


5. Video – Techniques in Questioning a Vulnerable Witness,

with Grant Brady SC, Senior Instructor and Moderator, AAI


6. Case Study: Regina v Chris


Stage 2 - Pre-workshop: Submit Questions

Having viewed those videos and closely read and prepared the Case Study you will be required to prepare your cross-examination questions for one complainant – Atticus (no more than two pages).
You will need to email your cross-examination questions to the AAI one week before you attend your training workshop.


This is compulsory. You will not be able to attend the Saturday Workshop unless that is done.


Stage 3 - The Saturday Workshop

A one-day practical performance workshop has been scheduled to take place on:


Date: Saturday, April 28, 2018

Time: 8.30am to 4.00pm

Location: Sydney CBD - venue to be advised.


You must complete Stages 1 and 2 before attending the workshop.


This program is supported and endorsed by the NSW Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Attendance will require you, in the weeks before the workshop, to allocate approximately 5 hours of your time to watch the videos and prepare the cross-examination exercise.
Places in this program are limited to 32 places on a date of registration received basis.