New suite for alleged sex victims to be used in case of Sunderland’s Adam Johnson

Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson leaves Durham Crown Court.
Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson leaves Durham Crown Court.
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Durham Crown Court will be the first in the country to deal with alleged victims of sexual assaults in a new way.

From next month, anyone making such an allegation will go to a special unit, designed to minimise the trauma involved in giving evidence.

The new suite will be used during the trial of Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson in August.

Johnson has denied three charges of sexual activity with a child and one of grooming.

Judge Christopher Prince outlined how the new system would work.

“It is a suite, miles removed from court, where a complainant of a sexual offence can be taken as soon as they complain and interviewed by the police,” he said.

The suite would be used for all alleged victims of sexual assaults cases from July 20, said Judge Prince

“If necessary, they can be fully medically examined there.

“They can then go there to give their live link evidence, rather than being brought to court.

“It means there are now premises where people can go through the whole process, from complaint to trial, without entering a police station, hospital or court building,” he said.

The move is part of a drive which has seen the Ministry of Justice invest more than £4million in supporting more than 80 rape centres across the country.

“It is crucial alleged victims and witnesses are supported through what can be a very intimidating process,” said Victims Minister Mike Penning.