5. The Evidence Act is amended by inserting, immediately after section 62, the following section:
—(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, a person may, with leave of the court, give evidence through a live video or live television link in any proceedings, other than proceedings in a criminal matter, if —
the witness is below the age of 16 years;
it is expressly agreed between the parties to the proceedings that evidence may be so given;
the witness is outside Singapore; or
the court is satisfied that it is expedient in the interests of justice to do so.
(2) In considering whether to grant leave for a witness outside Singapore to give evidence by live video or live television link under this section, the court shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case including the following:
the reasons for the witness being unable to give evidence in Singapore;
the administrative and technical facilities and arrangements made at the place where the witness is to give his evidence; and
whether any party to the proceedings would be unfairly prejudiced.
(3) The court may, in granting leave under subsection (1), make an order on any or all of the following matters:
the persons who may be present at the place where the witness is giving evidence;
that a person be excluded from the place while the witness is giving evidence;
the persons in the courtroom who must be able to be heard, or seen and heard, by the witness and by the persons with the witness;
the persons in the courtroom who must not be able to be heard, or seen and heard, by the witness and by the persons with the witness;
the persons in the courtroom who must be able to see and hear the witness and the persons with the witness;
the stages in the proceedings during which a specified part of the order is to have effect;
the method of operation of the live video or live television link system including compliance with such minimum technical standards as may be determined by the Chief Justice; and
any other order the court considers necessary in the interests of justice.
(4) The court may revoke, suspend or vary an order made under this section if —
the live video or live television link system stops working and it would cause unreasonable delay to wait until a working system becomes available;
it is necessary for the court to do so to comply with its duty to ensure that the proceedings are conducted fairly to the parties thereto;
it is necessary for the court to do so, so that the witness can identify a person or a thing or so that the witness can participate in or view a demonstration or an experiment;
it is necessary for the court to do so because part of the proceedings is being heard outside a courtroom; or
there has been a material change in the circumstances after the court has made an order.
(5) The court shall not make an order under this section, or include a particular provision in such an order, if to do so would be inconsistent with the court’s duty to ensure that the proceedings are conducted fairly to the parties to the proceedings.
(6) An order made under this section shall not cease to have effect merely because the person in respect of whom it was made attains the age of 16 years before the proceedings in which it was made are finally determined.
(7) Evidence given by a witness, whether in Singapore or elsewhere, through a live video or live television link by virtue of this section shall be deemed for the purposes of sections 193, 194, 195, 196, 205 and 209 of the Penal Code [Cap. 224] as having been given in the proceedings in which it is given.
(8) Where a witness gives evidence in accordance with this section, he shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be giving evidence in the presence of the court.
(9) The Rules Committee constituted under the Supreme Court of Judicature Act [Cap. 322] may make such rules as appear to it to be necessary or expedient for the purpose of giving effect to this section and for prescribing anything which may be prescribed under this section..”.