Closed-Circuit Television Testimony: Liveness and Truth-telling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, I examine how arguments about the value of live
performance (whether or not the term ‘performance’ is actually
invoked) have been pivotal in debates about the use of closed-circuit
television testimony (CCTV). I begin by defining CCTV testimony
and examining its current use in courtrooms as a means of mediation
for a ‘vulnerable witness’; that is, a witness who, in the view of the
court, would be likely to find traditional modes of delivering testimony
overly traumatic in legal opinion for a variety of reasons. I argue that
the introduction of CCTV testimony has posed a challenge to deepseated
beliefs about the link between live presence and truth-telling
because it is able to leave undisturbed, or replicate, all aspects of the
fair trial (including the need for it to be open) with the sole exception of
the absence of a witness’s body from the courtroom. This has provoked
legal debate as to what is at stake in the live presence of bodies together
in the same place.
Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Pages (from-to)312-336
Number of pages24
Journallaw text culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Criminal justice

Cite this