Examination of witnesses in criminal proceedings visnu.k
OATH TAKING… • Before deposition of evidence begins witness must take an oath. • Unoathed Evidence is not admissible. Except if the person is below 7 years of age.
THE ACCUSED…A person who is charged with a criminal offense is called Accused.The accused cannot be an eligible witness (s.16, s.17).
RECORDING OF EVIDENCEAfter taking Oath,the Evidence is recorded bythe following four steps:-Examination in chiefCross ExaminationRe-ExaminationCourt Questions.
EXAMINATION IN CHIEFThis is examination of a witness by/on behalf of the party who called him(Prosecuter).In criminal cases, public prosecutor does it .
LEADING QUESTIONS A leading question is a question which either suggests the desired answer may be by a simple ‘yes or ‘no’ As a general rule, leading questions should not be asked during examination in chief, though there are exceptions. Exceptions are when the witness becomes Hostile,Questions become leading questions.
This is examination of a witness by/on behalf of a party other than the party who called him(Defence lawyer). Leading questions may be asked. There is no time limit for cross examination.It may last for hours or even days. Defence lawyer may cross-examine to weaken the witness by proving it untrustworthy or unbelievable. Judge may disallow the irrelevant question and cut short the cross-examination.
RE-EXAMINATION… This is again conducted by/on behalf of the party who called the witness(prosecutor). Leading questions should not be asked No questions relating to new matters are to be asked without the permission of the court. If new matters are asked Defence will take another chance of cross-examination.
COURT QUESTIONS… The judge can ask any question to the witness in any stage of the trial in order to clarify certain facts. The evidence recorded by the presiding officers sholud be given to the witness to read fully and sign. If any typographic corrections,all must be corrected and signed by the presiding officers. Witness is liable to be called again if necessary.