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LAWYERS have voiced concern that the use of videoconferencing to examine witnesses at trial and conduct prison interviews will be abused.Solicitors involved in the pilot scheme at three prisons - in Bristol, Manchester and Swindon - say there is a serious risk of conferences being monitored.Andrew Catzen, a partner at Moss & Co, says clients are often not prepared to disclose sensitive information when giving instructions via a videoconference.It is also feared videoconferencing, currently being piloted by the prison service for pre-trial hearings in magistrates courts, will be extended to full criminal trials."I'm pretty sure that the Government, on costs gro-unds, will be looking to bring this in," says Catzen.The costs of transporting prisoners to and from trial would be greatly reduced. However, Richard Woolfson, a Home Office consultant, denies there is an imminent plan to introduce it.Michael Kaye, senior partner at Kaye Tesler, believes videoconferencing represents the future of litigation.Stephen Irwin QC, who chaired a recent discussion on the subject at his Doughty Street Chambers, says it is essential to cross-examine a witness in person.
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