But, there is more recent authority about the circumstances in which a Court may make an order that
the identity of a witness to be concealed, and that is a power in the exercise of the Courts general
jurisdiction to see that justice is done and not pursuant to a power under the Official Secrets Act, or
even under rule 24 (a), and it is referred to in the case of the Watford Justices which is available in
transcript. I think we have made it available to your Lordship. That was decided on the 7th May ---
MR. JUSTICE BLOFELD: Yes, I have got it.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL: ---- last year. It was a case which involved public disorder in the
High Street at Watford, or some such place, and the witnesses were frightened of the suspects and,
when they came to give evidence, as we see at page two, letter D, screens were provided at court
and a voice distortion equipment was provided so that the anonymity of those witnesses could be
MR. JUSTICE BLOFELD: I have read this one. This seems to me to come much more in a way
with either, not so much covering up the identity of a police informant but covering up the positioning
of police posts when they are trying to prevent criminal dealings. There is a case about police
watching an area where there is wide scale distribution of drugs not wishing to disclose it for fear of
retaliation to those whose premises have been allowed to be used by the police.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL: I would submit that analytically there is a difference but in the case
that your Lordship has just posed, that raises questions of public interest.
MR. JUSTICE BLOFELD: Yes, and so does this.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL: This case gives the court inherent power to control its own function
within the court but it is motivated by the same desire to have an effective regime so that justice can
be done notwithstanding outside pressures, and results in the same concealment of a witnesss
identity that the court would have quoting the case of X, Y and Z which was a decision based on an
original ruling by Judge Pigot that in child abuse cases screens could be erected so that the witnesses
could give evidence unseen.
MR. JUSTICE BLOFELD: You are not proposing in this case that either Mr. E or Mrs. C should
give evidence with voice distortion ----
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL: Nothing of that nature at all. I am just citing it as authority for the
MR. JUSTICE BLOFELD: ---- or with screens, or have you not made up your mind.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL: I want them to give evidence in camera - that will mean that only
the parties to the proceedings will be here - and, as I am instructed at the moment, that will be
MR. JUSTICE BLOFELD: Yes, thank you.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL: A matter has been clarified my Lord since I last raised it and I must
qualify what I have just said. It will be my requests that in addition there should be screens.
MR. JUSTICE BLOFELD: For both Mrs. C and Mr. E?