Anyone with information about a crime This is true both of crime victims and people who saw or heard something about crime.
Answering questions in a short box is called “testifying”.
Just about everybody can be called to testify. But there are some exceptions. For example, some people do not have the ability to testify, or they may need special help to testify.
To testify in a short box, to know what he knows, to understand the lawyers’ questions and answer them. He must also be able to take an oath or solemnly state that he will tell the truth. In special cases, a person who is under the age of 14 or who has an intellectual disability can only be promised to tell the truth.
Special Rules for People Under the Age of 14 and People with Intellectual Disabilities
Like anyone else, with disabilities can testify in criminal court cases. Children can also testify. At the request of the government lawyer or the accused, they must come to court to testify.
However, there are some legal measures that can make it easier for these people to testify.
If a lawyer is unsure about a person’s ability to make a decision about this.
Children can testify they can understand the lawyers’ questions and answer them.
They can make a promise to tell the truth. Unlike other people who testify, they do not have to take an oath or make a solemn statement to tell the truth.
If there is a child’s ability to testify, the judge must conduct an inquiry. The purpose of the inquiry is to decide whether the child can remember the events and describe them. If the child can do this, the child’s testimony is as valid as that of an adult.
People with Intellectual Disabilities
Like anyone else, people with intellectual disabilities can be called to testify in a criminal case. Before testifying, they must take an oath or solemnly state that they will tell the truth. In some cases, the law makes them easier to tell the truth.
The ability to witness an intellectual disability can be challenged. In these cases, the judge must do an inquiry to
- the witness understands what it means to take an oath or make a solemn statement to tell the truth
- the witness is able to communicate the facts
When making this decision, the judge must be given a chance to speak, unless it would be too traumatic for the person. The judge can also talk to him in a place where he feels more comfortable. In situations like this, the question of a specific, simple and calm manner.
The judge runs the inquiry. Therefore, it decides whether the jury will be present or not, and whether the lawyers are questionable.
At the end of the inquiry, the judge can reach one of three conclusions: