A more recent version of these Witnesses Competence And Compellability notes – written by City Law School students – is available here.
The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our BPTC Criminal Litigation Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:
WITNESSES: COMPETENCE AND COMPELLABILITY Rules:To be allowed to give evidence, a witness must be "competent"To be required to give evidence (eg. by a witness summons), a witness must be "compellable" Competence
Governed by Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 Presumption: All Witnesses are competent to give evidence (s53(1)) General Test - applied by Court when the Witness' competence is questioned (s53(3))A person is not competent to give evidence in criminal proceedings if it appears to the court that he is not a person who is able to: (a) understand the questions put to him as a W, and (b) give answers to them that can be understood
Questioning W's Competence s55(1) - Open to party/court of its own motion to question any Witness' competence s53(3) - That party must then satisfy the criteria (prove) on the balance of probabilities Child Witnesses
* Competence is Witness-specific - there should be no presumptions or preconceptions
* Witness does not need to be intelligible on every question
* It is a matter of judgement - age is a factor but decision concerns the individual Witness
* The witness' age not determinative of ability to give truthful/accurate evidence - credibility is an issue for the jury Expert evidence can be called on the issue of a Witness' competence Compellability Rule: All competent Ws are compellable Exceptions: The Defendant
1. Not competent as a Witness for the P (unless no longer 'a person charged' i.e. G plea, acquittal, nolle prosequi)if pleads G and gives evidence against co-D:
* Judge has discretion to exclude Defendant's evidence under s78 PACE/common-law, and
Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our BPTC Criminal Litigation Notes.